A group of nurses talking

Rules about who can work in nursing homes under what circumstances are changing across the country as providers continue to grapple with unprecedented staffing challenges. 

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) on Monday became the latest to expand eligibility in an effort to boost healthcare staffing. He signed an executive order that allows nursing students to serve as licensed practitioners and allows nursing graduate students to practice at nursing homes and hospitals.

Last week, Kansas House lawmakers pushed forward similar legislation that would authorize non-certified staff who have received minimum training within a nursing facility and allow temporary aides to provide direct care to nursing home residents. 

Meanwhile, the extension of the Public Health Emergency through April 16 allowed for an ongoing waiver of strict nurse aide training requirements nationwide.

Providers have applauded the relaxed training standards but have still pushed for more permanent solutions, while consumer advocates have said the loosened requirements may threaten quality of care for residents.

Nursing home employment nationwide remains 13.2% lower than it was in February 2020 just before the public health crisis was declared. 

“We continue to take short-term actions to support our healthcare workforce as it deals with the omicron wave and the influx of unvaccinated patients,” Hogan said in a statement Monday.