When I first started my nursing career, the idea of working in multiple states was daunting. Each new state meant a new license to obtain, fees to pay, and paperwork to fill out. It was a hassle that I simply didn’t want to deal with. However, as time passed and the demand for nurses increased nationwide, I realized that becoming licensed in multiple states was beneficial and necessary.
This is where compact nursing states legislation comes into play. It is an agreement among participating states allowing nurses licensed in one to work in another state without obtaining additional licenses. What started as a way for nurses living near state borders to access different territories has become an option for all nurses looking to expand their work opportunities.
How Many Compact Nursing States Are There, and What Do I Need to Find Work in Them?
You can easily find a list of compact nursing states online. But for simplicity’s sake, there are currently 34 compact nursing states, and it’s becoming increasingly popular in the industry. If you’re like me and still need to learn how to become licensed in multiple compact nursing states, don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. Before diving deeper into compact nursing licenses, let’s discuss traditional licenses as a foundation.
For years, traditional licensing has been used across the US. Individuals applying for licensure had to meet specific criteria provided by regulatory bodies such as the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). This is usually expected when someone moves to another state in the country or what legal experts call interstate jurisdictions. It primarily includes providing evidence of your qualifying education history, which could be through Bachelor of Science (BSN), diploma programs, or Associate Degree (ADN) Nursing, amongst other educational qualifications recognized by respective regulatory bodies.
Prospective nurses must also pass the mandatory examination(s), adhering strictly to ethical norms, possessing active experiences, and competent professional abilities judged at par with acceptable practices within such jurisdiction. Previous legal records of an individual will come into play here.
Keeping track of separate licenses from different locations takes a lot of work. Hence, compact nursing license law was enacted. Compact nursing licenses are the next step for those on a mission to grow in their careers. The process is pretty straightforward. But first, you have to meet a couple of requirements:
- You must have an active license in your home state.
- You cannot have any disciplinary action or restrictions on your license, which should be easily verifiable by respective nursing boards.
- Your home state should be a participant in the compact nursing license scheme.
Meeting these criteria allows you will become eligible to apply for a compact nursing license. While procedures may vary depending on your location or personal circumstances, the good news is that there have been increased standardizations across relevant governing bodies, specifically the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN). This means participating nurses can follow a set outline to expand their career options instead of getting bogged down by red tape.
Pros and Cons of Working in Compact States
Being able to work in multiple states has its perks. For one, you’ll always be open to geography when applying for jobs, meaning more opportunities will open up. Also, if you love traveling, as I do, working across borders lets you experience different cultures, environments, and social norms.
A compact nursing license also means more job security as you can enter the telehealth sector. This is where remote screening platforms and online medical consultations have gained a lot of ground, primarily due to COVID-19. Patients now require quick responses outside of conventional health services.
Of course, every path has its downsides. Certain states who remain non-participants, like Hawaii and California, determine regional coverage limitations under which this concept operates. There could also be significant disparities between each member-state concerning governance towards practicing fellow members’ practitioners, such as supervisory requirements and disciplines approach. Learning about these specific rules before applying them is essential.
In conclusion, it’s plain to see that opportunities in compact nursing states are abundant and worth exploring as travel and online consultations gain further relevance, especially at such a time when Telehealth options are emerging as life savers even in hard times such as pandemics or natural disasters. All the effort put into obtaining additional licenses will reap rewards that only you can imagine – boosting your resume and proving to employers that you’re not afraid of taking on a challenge. The journey toward obtaining more licenses doesn’t have to be complicated.