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How can I volunteer as a health care professional or join the Medical Reserve Corps? What if I’m retired, out of state, licensed in a foreign country, or just graduated with a degree in a health care-related field?
Thank you for your interest in serving the State of New Jersey and helping to save lives during this public health crisis.
As part of the state's ongoing effort to combat COVID-19, the State of New Jersey is:
- temporarily reactivating the licenses of recently retired health care professionals;
- permitting certain health care professionals to perform acts outside of their ordinary scope of practice;
- granting temporary licenses to doctors licensed in foreign countries as well as out of state health care professionals;
- and issuing temporary emergency licenses to recent graduates from certain health care programs.
See below for more details and how to apply for a temporary license.
Medical Reserve Corps
New Jersey is calling on retired health care professionals with vaccination skills to volunteer with the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC).
The MRC is a network of community-based, locally organized units comprised of volunteers who help ensure their communities are healthy, prepared, and resilient. MRC volunteers are pre-identified, pre-registered, trained, and exercised. In addition to promoting healthy living throughout the year, MRC volunteers are especially vital during emergencies and disasters when paid public health and emergency response assets are overwhelmed.
In New Jersey there are 24 MRC Units housed within local health departments. Each county in New Jersey has at least one Medical Reserve Corps Unit. MRC health professional volunteers include nurses, pharmacists, EMTs, doctors, counselors, social workers, and veterinarians. MRC community health volunteers provide services such as language translation/interpretation, education and outreach, hospitality, food services, reception, logistics, security, and assistance to individuals with disabilities, access and functional needs.
Retired Health Care Professionals, Advance Practice Nurses, and Physician Assistants
Executive Order No. 112 supplements the State's existing health care workforce by:
- Authorizing the Division of Consumer Affairs to temporarily reactivate the licensees of healthcare professionals previously licensed in the State within the last five years. This will enable doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals who have recently retired or have allowed their licenses to lapse to temporarily reactivate their license.
- Temporarily waiving certain scope of practice restrictions on Advanced Practice Nurses (APNs) related to physician collaboration, including a rule requiring that an APN enter into a joint protocol with a collaborating physician and a rule requiring APNs to obtain authorization from a collaborating physician in order to dispense narcotic drugs.
- Temporarily waiving certain scope of practice restrictions on Physician Assistants (PAs) related to physician supervision, including a rule requiring PAs to obtain physician authorization prior to prescribing a controlled dangerous substance.
Note: Once reactivated, these licenses will remain active for the duration of the state of emergency.
Out-Of-State Health Care Professionals
If you are an out-of-state health care professional who wishes to volunteer in New Jersey, you may be eligible for a temporary license.
In response to the on-going COVID-19 state of emergency, the State of New Jersey has waived certain regulatory provisions regarding licensure of health care practitioners through reciprocity. These waivers will allow health care providers licensed in other states to obtain New Jersey temporary licensure and provide services to New Jersey patients either through telemedicine, or in-person.
Note: All temporary emergency out-of-state licenses that have previously been issued, regardless of current expiration date (and any licenses that may hereafter be issued), will expire on February 28, 2021.
As part of the state's ongoing effort to combat COVID-19, physicians who are licensed in another country but living in the United States can now apply for a temporary emergency license to practice medicine in New Jersey---the first program of its kind in the country.
The program is open to individuals living and authorized to work in the U.S. who are currently licensed, in good standing, to practice medicine in another country. Among other criteria, eligible candidates must:
- Have engaged in the clinical practice of medicine for at least five years;
- Have not been out of practice for more than five years;
- Have no disciplinary or criminal histories that preclude them from the program; and
- Provide copies of relevant documents to support their application, including their medical license, and information about their education and professional experience.
Physicians licensed under this program will be required to limit their practice of medicine in New Jersey to providing in-person medical care at facilities licensed by the New Jersey Department of Health (DOH) or at another location designated as an emergency health care center by the Commissioner of Health.
The temporary emergency licenses granted under the program will not extend beyond the current public health emergency.
For more information about the program, the Division has created a Frequently Asked Questions document.
Recent Graduates Of Health Care Programs
The Division of Consumer Affairs has created a program to grant temporary emergency licenses to recent graduates of certain health care programs who have not yet been able to take and pass their licensing exams.
The emergency graduate licensure program is open to individuals applying for licensure within six months of graduating from the following programs:
- Accredited registered professional nursing (RN);
- Practical nursing (LPN);
- Physician assistant;
- Pharmacy education and training located in New Jersey; and
- Accredited respiratory care therapy education and training located in any state.
Individuals will not be eligible for the emergency graduate licensure program if they have failed the relevant licensing examination and will be dropped from the program if they fail the exam after receiving an emergency graduate license.
With the exception of respiratory care therapists, graduates licensed through this program will be eligible to work only under supervision in an acute care facility licensed by the New Jersey Department of Health. Respiratory care specialists will also be authorized to work under supervision in field hospitals.
The program will end automatically at the conclusion of the COVID-19 state of emergency and public health emergency.
For more information, the Division has created a Frequently Asked Questions resource.
NOTE: Retired health care professionals in the following professions may apply to have their licenses reactivated:
- Physician Assistants
- Advance Practice Nurses
- Registered Professional Nurses
- Licensed Practical Nurses
- Respiratory Care Therapists
- Marriage and Family Therapists
- Professional Counselors
- Rehabilitation Counselors
- Alcohol and Drug Counselors
- State Certified Psychoanalysts
- Licensed Clinical Social Workers
- Licensed Social Workers
- Certified Social Workers
Source: Executive Order No. 112; https://nj.gov/governor/news/news/562020/approved/20200417a.shtml; http://d31hzlhk6di2h5.cloudfront.net/20200417/3e/cc/f1/be/dc41b6f41c318111f2294f9f/FAQ-Foreign-Licensed-Doctor-Program.pdf; Governor's Remarks 5/5/20