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How to Get Your Nursing License in Multiple States

nurse licensure compactby Brook Jillings

If you're interested in traveling across state lines with your nursing license, multiple states are included in the nurse licensure compact designed for this kind of flexibility. 

The new enhanced nurse licensure compact allows RNs to take their skills on the road without the hassle of applying for multiple state licenses. 

A compact license offers versatility and convenience to nurses who wish to travel or are considering a move to a different state. 

Learn all about the enhanced nurse licensure compact and how to get your nursing license in multiple states.

What is the Nurse Licensure Compact?

The nurse licensure compact was created in the year 2000 and grew to 25 participating states. The compact was designed to allow nurses the ability to take their skills over state lines without the need to obtain a new license. 

This was especially beneficial in natural disaster situations, allowing nurses from other areas to treat patients in compact states. 

The nurse licensure compact also had provisions for online education and the use of telehealth.

What is the Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact?

After the original nurse licensure compact had been in effect for 15 years, the number of states opting to participate stalled. 

To encourage higher participatory numbers and increase the usefulness of a multistate license, new regulations were proposed to create the enhanced nurse licensure compact. Licensure requirements for the enhanced nurse licensure compact include:

Graduation from a board-approved nursing school

Meeting the home state requirements for a nursing license

Passing a federal criminal background check

Holding a discipline-free nursing license

Not having a felony on record

Not having a nursing-related misdemeanor on record

Not being enrolled in an alternative-to-discipline program

Self-disclosing alternative-to-discipline program enrollment

Passing an English proficiency test if a foreign graduate

Passing score on the National Council Licensure Examination or predecessor examination

Having a valid Social Security number

States that Participate in the Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact

The enhanced nurse licensure compact went into effect on January 19, 2018. This newest version of the nursing licensure compact has 29 participating states, four more than the original. 

Nurses who held the original multistate license and live in a nurse licensure compact state that has enacted the enhanced version are automatically "grandfathered" in. This includes:

Arizona

Arkansas

Colorado

Delaware

Idaho

Iowa

Kentucky

Maine

Maryland

Mississippi

Missouri

Montana

Nebraska

New Hampshire

New Mexico

North Carolina

North Dakota

South Carolina

South Dakota

Tennessee

Texas

Utah

Virginia

Wisconsin

There are also seven new participating states. Nurses in these states will now have the option of applying for a multistate nursing license. The newest participating states include:

Florida

Georgia

Kansas

Louisiana

Oklahoma

West Virginia

Wyoming

Nurses who obtained licensing through the nurse licensure compact in Rhode Island will not be able to utilize their multistate license until the state updates to the enhanced version. To date, Rhode Island has not passed legislation to join the enhanced nurse licensure compact.
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