What to Know About Multi-State Nursing Licenses
Nursing Compact Licensure:
What is a multi-state nursing license?
By Melissa Wirkus Hagstrom, contributor
Travel nurses can find assignments across the country, but will need to get a nursing license in any state in which they choose to work. Each state has its own licensing requirements. Fortunately, the states that participate in the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) have agreed to a standard set of requirements that streamlines the licensing process and can get you working faster.
According to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN), the NLC allows a nurse to have one multi-state license with the ability to practice in his or her home state and other compact states. Nurses who qualify for this multi-state license will not have to obtain a new state license when taking a travel nurse assignment in a participating state. If a travel nurse wishes to work in a state that is not part of the compact, he or she can simply obtain an individual license for that particular state.
The licensing specialists at Onward Healthcare can help travel nurses in either situation, and will work with you to obtain the necessary licensure for any assignment.
As of March 1, 2021, the NCSBN reports that 33 states have fully implemented the Nurse Licensure Compact, and one state (New Jersey) has partially implemented it, allowing nurses who hold NLC multi-state licenses to practice in the state. The U.S. territory of Guam has enacted the legislation and it is currently awaiting implementation. Several other states have NLC legislation pending.
If you are eager to get started with flexible nursing jobs such as travel nursing, getting your multi-state nursing license is a great place to start if you are eligible. Read on to find out how to obtain compact licensure as an RN or an LPN/LVN.
Steps to obtaining a multi-state nursing license
Obtaining a multi-state nursing license all starts when you can declare a current compact member state as your primary place of residency. Other requirements for the compact licensure process are outlined by the NCSBN:
- Applicants must hold an active RN or LPN/VN nursing license that is in good standing with the Board of Nursing
- Nurses must meet the nursing licensure requirements in their home state (i.e. primary state of residence), and several additional Uniform Licensure Requirements
If these conditions are met, the nurse is granted the privilege to practice in all NLC states contingent upon remaining a resident of the issuing state. As a travel nurse, this means you can take an assignment in any of the 33 NLC states!
If you are currently unsure whether you hold a single or multi-state license, you can determine your license status by going to www.nursys.com. If your primary place of residence is a compact state and you hold a single-state license, simply contact your board of nursing to get instructions on how to convert your single-state license to a multi-state one.
Flexible nursing jobs with Onward Healthcare
Compact licensure has been critical during the global pandemic as facilities continue to deal with staff shortages, case fluctuations and other challenges. Travel nurses have responded to the call, providing the skills and experience needed to keep patient care in alignment with outcomes and hospital goals, and those with a compact license can more easily work across state borders. Multi-state licenses for nurses are always helpful, but even more so during times of COVID-19, natural disasters or other emergencies.
Increasing access to care is one of the pillars of the NLC, and it also removes the financial burden of licensure costs from nurses and the organizations that employ them.
More good news: when you take an assignment with Onward Healthcare, you may be eligible for reimbursement for your licensure costs!
So if you’re considering travel nursing and the opportunities that come with flexible nursing jobs, then ensure your license is up to date and get ready for your next adventure. Connect with a recruiter today!