Governor Visits SH, Signs Nurse Licensure Compact

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker visited Southwest Health yesterday to sign a bill authorizing nurses to continue crossing state borders for employment without licensure barriers.  The legislation, Senate Bill 417, maintains Wisconsin’s participation in the enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC) and allows 112,000 nurses in Wisconsin the opportunity to keep their interstate licenses.

An interstate license permits nurses from other states to practice in Wisconsin, which is especially important to areas like southwest Wisconsin, who employ nurses from neighboring states.

“Our nurses are at the forefront of patient care and it’s largely thanks to them that we are able to provide exceptional care to the communities of southwest Wisconsin,” says Southwest Health’s Director of Human Resources Erica Brunkow. “Approximately 18% of our nursing workforce is from partnering states (IA and IL), which means the passing of this bill has a huge impact for us.”

In September, Brunkow, along with Southwest Health’s Chief Operating Officer Steve McCarthy, went to the capital and testified about the importance this bill has to our region and our employees.

“Our goal is always to provide the best care to our communities, so when it came to supporting our nurses, we were pleased to have the opportunity to testify at the capital on behalf of this bill,” says McCarthy.

Along with the testimonies of Brunkow and McCarthy, Southwest Health also wrote to the legislature expressing the impact this bill has on our organization and community.

Preventing vacancies in our workforce is a critical component of our ability to provide patients with accessible, high-quality health care.  Southwest Health is proud of our staff for their proactive actions in ensuring that licensure barriers don’t prevent qualified nurses from being employed in Wisconsin.

Thank you to Governor Scott Walker for helping us do what we do best – care for our community.

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