Guam senators OK bill proposing adoption of Nurse Licensure Compact

Senators on Monday passed Bill 13-36, which would adopt the Nurse Licensure Compact to allow qualified nurses to come to Guam without the need to wait for a local license or emergency declaration.

“If NLC were in place prior to the pandemic, it would have eased the mobility of nurses to work on Guam,” said Christine Tuquero, deputy assistant administrator of Nursing Services at the Guam Memorial Hospital, said during the bill’s deliberations.

“We had to recruit nurses from a travel agency because we did not have enough nurses locally, in our hospital response to the pandemic. If NLC were in place at the time, I think it would’ve been a much smoother process to bring the nurses over,” she added.

Sen. Mary Torres, the bill's author, rebuked claims by the bill's opponents, who argued that Guam would suffer massive out-migration to other Compact states due to the island’s low nurse salaries.

“To date, there has been no evidence from any of the 34 member states of a mass exodus of nurses following adoption of the Compact,” Torres said. “Instead, states with similar nurse salary structures witnessed an increase in the number of active licenses after joining the NLC.”