If you aren’t a travel nurse, you’re only registered in the state that you practice in. But if you do want to be a travel nurse, that single license won’t work. You need what’s called a compact license. Then, you can practice in states that are a part of the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC).
Confused? That’s okay. Here are five things you need to know about a compact license:
Not every state is included in the NLC.
Be aware that not every state participates in the NLC. Here is a list of the participating states. You have to currently live in a compact license state to qualify for a compact nursing license. If you don’t, you’ll have to apply for an endorsement to get licensed in the state(s) you want to practice in.
Some states are pending.
Many states that aren’t currently participating in the NLC have pending legislation and will be added in the future. Here’s a list. So, even if you live in a state that isn’t participating now, that could change in the future.
You must meet certain qualifications to get a compact license.
Aside from your state of residence, there are other requirements you must meet in order to be granted a compact license. You need to have graduated from a board-approved educational program, for example, and have the right certifications. You’ll also need to pass a federal criminal background check.
There is a new Nursing Licensure Compact – the eNLC.
In 2018, the Enhanced Nursing Licensure Compact (eNLC) was introduced. This is essentially a new compact licensure with some expanded requirements. Nurses who already had a compact license before July 20th of 2017 automatically qualify to practice in new eNLC states. Nurses that didn’t will need to apply for the eNLC just as they would have had to apply for the NLC.
COVID-19 may affect your compact license.
Take note that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed things when it comes to compact licensure. Each state has its own rules about nurses traveling across state lines to practice. Your best course of action is to do thorough research, so you know exactly what’s going on in the particular state in question. Use the National Council of State Boards of Nursing’s resources to help.
Compact licensure is a bit complicated, but rest assured — once you get through the red tape, you can easily become a travel nurse and practice in various states, wherever your permanent residence is.
Contact ARMstaffing for help with your travel nursing career. Our staffing professionals can make all the difference!