Georgia could lose thousands of its nurses by this weekend, all because of confusion over some paperwork.
Under Georgia's new immigration law, everyone applying for a state license has to prove citizenship. The deadline for nurses is this Friday and as of Tuesday more than 3,500 nurses have failed to do it.
That's about 6 percent of the state's nurses who could be in for a rude awakening if they don't get their paperwork in. And if they don't, it could be the public that suffers most.
Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp called the recent change a side effect of the new immigration bill. It wasn't the main goal, but, he said, a law is a law.
"Whether it's important or not is irrelevant. They have to have it by law and we have to have it before we can process that license," said Kemp.
If not, Saturday, which is the day after the deadline, could be a rough day for a lot of nurses.
"Their HR people know when nurses' licenses are coming due so they'll be checking them, and if people don't have them they'll make you leave the hospital in a lot of cases," said Kemp.
It's something Debbie Hackman, the CEO of the Georgia Nursing Association, fears could be a disaster.
"They can't function without them. They're the center of the healthcare system in the hospital," said Hackman.
They're so important she said we're not just talking about a drop in quality. She said certain things just wouldn't be possible.
"If a percentage of those have not gotten their license, then they may have to close units or floors. They would not have the personnel to be able to do what they need to do," said Hackman.
But Secretary Kemp said it's not too late.
Most of the 3,500 nurses just don't have an ID on file to prove citizenship. He said all they need to do is just drop it off or fax it in.
Copyright 2013 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
Friday, May 17 2013 7:16 PM EDT2013-05-17 23:16:53 GMT
One person has died in a crash near Harrisonville, MO, Thursday evening. The crash happened on Missouri Highway 7 and Walker Road. It involved a car and a tractor-trailer. Harrisonville is in Cass County.More >
Savannah Nash celebrated her 16th birthday last week. She died Thursday when her car slammed into a semi while she was texting during her first time driving by herself.More >
Wednesday, May 22 2013 8:47 AM EDT2013-05-22 12:47:18 GMT
Atlanta firefighters are battling a large fire at United Transmission in downtown Atlanta.The building is located at 350 Marietta Street.Marietta Street near Ivan Allen Boulevard is closed.It is unclearMore >
Atlanta firefighters battled a large fire at United Transmissions in downtown Atlanta.More >
Wednesday, May 22 2013 8:25 AM EDT2013-05-22 12:25:04 GMT
Two billboards just went up around Atlanta to help get the word out Atlanta first responders and their families pushing for a better raise. The digital billboards are on Northside Drive at North Avenue,More >
Two billboards have gone up showing Atlanta first responders and their families are demanding raises.More >
Wednesday, May 22 2013 10:21 AM EDT2013-05-22 14:21:02 GMT
Authorities have issued an Amber Alert for a one-year-old girl who was in the backseat of a car stolen from a daycare center in Forest Park. It was just after midnight Wednesday when officers receivedMore >
A toddler who was in the backseat of a car that was stolen from a daycare center in Forest Park overnight is now safe in her parents' arms.More >
Tuesday, May 21 2013 7:16 PM EDT2013-05-21 23:16:48 GMT
MOORE, OK - The Oklahoma County Sheriff's office tweeted a photo of a frightened, muddy dog Monday after the deadly EF-5 tornado ripped through the town.The comment accompanying the photo said, "scared,More >
A heartbreaking photo of a little dog guarding the body of his owner, who was killed in the Moore, OK, tornado, is going viral.More >
Wednesday, May 22 2013 9:28 AM EDT2013-05-22 13:28:05 GMT
No one was injured when a train struck a MARTA bus Wednesday morning.It happened at West Howard Avenue and North McDonough Street. Decatur police have not released any additional details.CBSAtlanta.comMore >
No one was injured when a train struck a MARTA bus Wednesday morning.More >
Tuesday, May 21 2013 11:15 PM EDT2013-05-22 03:15:51 GMT
It has been more than 2 years since a tornado with winds of 175 miles per hour demolished homes and businesses in Ringgold, Catoosa County. But, the pain of the past is still visible in many parts of theMore >
It has been more than two years since a tornado with winds of 175 miles per hour demolished homes and businesses in Ringgold, Catoosa County. But, the pain of the past is still visible in many parts of the city and the emotional scars run deep.More >