Some New Jersey lawmakers and advocacy groups are urging the Christie administration to fill six vacancies on the 13-member Board of Nursing.
Avery Hart is a public member of the Nursing Board. She says insufficient staff and funding are holding up about 4,000 trained professionals awaiting their nursing license or home health aide certification.
"We're looking at a pretty serious nursing shortage in the state. So, it does nothing to help us out that way. You have economic activity that can't take place because people are waiting a year and a half to get a job that they've trained for."
Karen Barish is a nurse with the Home Health Care and Hospice Association. She says it can take months to get a home health aide certified.
"In that wait time oftentimes we do lose those well-trained individuals who have the heart and soul to want to be a home health aide, we lose them to other industries whether it be fast foods or manufacturing, etcetera, because people need to work."
Senators Loretta Weinberg and Bob Gordon call it a crisis of neglect that must be remedied. They're planning a legislative hearing to investigate what can be done about the licensing backlog.