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Can nurses have a license in more than one state?

There are situations a nurse may need to travel across state lines to provide care. One common example is the position of a travel nurse. In order to cut down on the burden that comes with meeting the licensing requirements for each state, nurses in these situations may make use of the Nurse Licensing Compact.

The niche area of travel nursing has grown in popularity over the years and the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts this field will continue to grow by an estimated 19% increase by 2022. Travel nurses are registered nurses with a college diploma, Associate degree or Bachelor of Science who have passed the national licensing examination. Part of the allure of this type of nursing profession is the flexibility. Traveling nurses generally agree to a position that last from 4 to 13 weeks.

What is the Nurse Licensing Compact (NLC)?

This agreement allows nurses to have a professional license in more than one state without needing to apply with multiple state licensure boards. The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) put together the compact. 25 states currently participate, including Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico. Kansas and Louisiana are scheduled to implement the NLC in July of 2019.

How does a nurse qualify for an NLC?

In order to partake in the NLC, a nurse must not have any current disciplinary actions or restrictions and live in an NLC participating state. Additional requirements include keeping up with required continuing education requirements of the home state and staying current with license payments.

What if I experience an issue with my license?

Nurses can experience professional delays if the licensing board holds up their license. Those who find themselves caught dealing with the board have options. One option involves hiring an attorney. Legal counsel can represent their interests in the matter and better ensure a favorable outcome.