Florida Eases Nursing Guidelines to Aid Haiti Relief

In the wake of the devastating Haiti earthquake, Florida Governor Charlie Crist has signed a temporary order allowing nurses licensed in other states to practice in the Sunshine State.  The move allows Florida nurses leeway to travel to Haiti to assist in earthquake-relief efforts. Unless extended, the order expires in 90 days.Florida nurses heading to Haiti to assist in earthquake relief.

Before coming to Florida, nurses must prove they have a valid license in their home states, and have no health complications, history of disciplinary actions or criminal history.  Once cleared, the nurses will receive a practice letter from the Florida Board of Nursing.  Out-of-state nurses with practice letters will be paid for their work, a change from the past.

According to U.S. Census Bureau Statistics, Florida has the highest percentage of Haitian-Americans in the country, many of whom are nurses who are volunteering to work on earthquake relief.  The Service Employees International Union reports that at least 600 of its members have volunteered to travel to Haiti, many of them nurses and physicians who are originally from Haiti and speak Creole.  National Nurses United has a list of 8,000 members who have volunteered for disaster relief.

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