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Travel in 33 states on one nursing license: 2019 nurse licensure update

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The idea that you should be able to work in multiple states under one license is gaining momentum across the country. So far, 33 states have passed legislation and joined the Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC). This is an important development for travel nurses because it makes your nurse license a lot more portable.

To help you understand how the enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact works, the National Council of State Boards of Nursing has put together an online list of frequently asked questions and answers. Several more states are considering joining the compact. Here’s how to stay informed as things develop:

  1. Visit the NCSBN website for important eNLC updates
  2. Contact your home state board for application specifics
  3. Get in touch with your RNnetwork recruiter for additional help

We’ve summarized a few answers to the most common questions here, and you can see the complete list on the NCSBN website.

Important travel nurse license facts about the eNLC

Q: How can I get a compact multistate license if I live in a noncompact state?

A: Only nurses who declare a compact state as their primary state of residence are eligible for a multistate license. If you are a resident of a noncompact state, you can still apply for a license in a compact state. However, your eligibility will be limited to a single state license that is valid in that state only. Of course, you can have as many single-state licenses as you wish.

Q: What does Primary State of Residence mean?

A: For compact purposes, primary state of residence (PSOR) is not related to property ownership in a given state. It is about your legal residency status. If a nurse’s PSOR is a compact state, that nurse may be eligible for a multistate (compact) license. If a nurse cannot declare a compact state as his/her PSOR, that nurse is not eligible for a compact license.

Q: I live in a compact state and have a license from that state. What do I need to do to get a multistate license?

A: When you applied for that license, if you declared that state as your primary state of residence and met the licensure requirements of that state, the license you were issued should already be a multistate license. A good way to check is to use the Quick Confirm tool at www.nursys.com. In the event your license is not designated as multistate, you will need to contact the your primary state of residence’s board of nursing.

What states will accept my compact license when I qualify?

These are the 33 states that have passed eNLC legislation and belong to the compact. As of July 1, 2019, of the 33 member states, only Alabama and Indiana are still pending implementation.

  1. Alabama (implementation Jan. 1, 2020)
  2. Arizona
  3. Arkansas
  4. Colorado
  5. Delaware
  6. Florida
  7. Georgia
  8. Idaho
  9. Indiana (Implementation TBD)
  10. Iowa
  11. Kansas
  12. Kentucky
  13. Louisiana
  14. Maine
  15. Maryland
  16. Mississippi
  17. Missouri
  18. Montana
  19. Nebraska
  20. New Hampshire
  21. New Mexico
  22. North Carolina
  23. North Dakota
  24. Oklahoma
  25. South Carolina
  26. South Dakota
  27. Tennessee
  28. Texas
  29. Utah
  30. Virginia
  31. West Virginia
  32. Wisconsin
  33. Wyoming

States with still pending eNLC legislation include Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, and Vermont.

What does it all mean for me right now?

The short answer is that more than half the country is in reach with one home state license. And as other states join the compact, getting a multi-state license will open up even more travel possibilities. That doesn’t mean the bar will be lower – you still have to be great at what you do, with the documentation to prove it. What it does mean is that once you clear your home state licensing hurdles, there’s a process in place to practice in multiple compact states.

Imagine the new people, places, and experiences that are waiting for you out there. Whether you crave fulfilling new patient care opportunities, new friendships, or the chance to make off-time memories in new places, this is an industry trend that’s great for you.

For additional licensing help, talk to your RNnetwork recruiter or for general assistance call 800.866.0407.

About the author

Tim McDonnell

Tim McDonnell

Tim McDonnell is a content developer at RNnetwork and loves bringing people together with stories that make a difference. After hours, Tim is a book, movie, and music enthusiast and will seize just about any opportunity to travel.

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