Every Super Nurse deserves a super license, right? At Health Carousel Travel Nursing, we’re thrilled to share some exciting RN licensure news that could affect your travel plans this year. On July 1, 2019, both Louisiana and Kansas will implement the National Licensure Compact (NLC), becoming the 30th and 31st compact states and opening the doors (and cutting quite a bit of red tape) for travel nurses.
What does this mean for nurses in Louisiana and Kansas? How about nurses outside the Pelican and Sunflower States? The experienced recruitment and credentialing teams at HCTN break down everything you need to know about RN compact licenses in 2019.
For Nurses Who Currently Have a Compact License
Let’s first look at the largest pool of nurses affected by this compact license change: nurses who currently reside in one of the other 29 compact states and are holding a compact license. For these nurses, come July 1, much of the red tape that may have dissuaded them from working a travel nursing job in Louisiana or Kansas in the past will disappear. Instead, these RNs will be able to work in Louisiana and/or Kansas without having to obtain any additional licensure.
Practical Example 1: From Frankfort to the French Quarter
Imagine you’re an L&D nurse with a permanent residence near Frankfort, Kentucky (a current NLC member state). You’ve always wanted to experience New Orleans but never seriously looked at jobs there because Louisiana was not a member of the NLC, meaning you’d have to obtain a Louisiana RN license to work there. On July 1, however, you can began submitting to travel nursing jobs in New Orleans using your current compact license without the need to obtain an additional license from the Louisiana State Board of Nursing. The time and headache you’ll save means your dream of exploring the French Quarter can quickly become a reality!
Practical Example 2: From Waco to Wichita
Now imagine you’re an ER nurse with a permanent residence in Waco, Texas (a current NLC member state). Your sister and her spouse live in Wichita, Kansas, where… surprise! They’re expecting their first baby, making you a soon-to-be aunt or uncle. (Congratulations, by the way!) You would love to visit them for an extended period, but know obtaining an additional RN license in Kansas can be time-consuming. Have no fear! On July 1, you can start talking to your HCTN recruiter about Kansas travel assignments without the need of obtaining additional licensure in The Sunflower State. You’ll soon be getting your fill of baby cuddles over a 13-week stay in Kansas!
For Nurses Currently Residing in Louisiana or Kansas
For nurses who have a permanent residence in Kansas, the day of compact travel freedom is near! While the licensure process for Kansas or Louisiana RNs looking to travel in the past may have seemed daunting, consider the red tape cut on July 1. By obtaining a compact multi-state license, you can take travel nursing assignments in 30 other U.S. states without having to obtain any additional licensure. Maybe you’ve always wanted to experience the sunny beaches of Florida or ski the mountains of Colorado? Now you easily can while being well-compensated for your incredible work as a nurse.
Current NLC states (also known as “compact states”)
With a compact license in-hand, an experienced travel RN can work in any of the following 29 states (plus Kansas and Louisiana starting July 1) without the need of additional licensure.
- Kansas (implementing NLC on 7/1/19)
- Louisiana (implementing NLC on 7/1/19)
- New Hampshire
- New Mexico
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
‘But Wait, I Live in a Non-Compact State!’
Many nurses we work with do not have the fortunate status of a permanent residence in a compact state. This means that, to work in another state as a traveler, the nurse must obtain a new license from the board of nursing in that second state. For example, a nurse whose permanent residence is in Ohio (not an NLC member state), but who wants to work in Texas (an NLC member state), must go through the Texas State Board of Nursing to obtain a Texas RN license. While this can take more time, we still strongly encourage nurses in non-compact states to pursue travel positions; HCTN recruiters and our experienced credentialing team can help you navigate these sometimes tricky processes to get the licenses you need.
One common question we receive is that, if a nurse whose permanent residence is not in a compact state obtains a second license in a compact state (our Ohio/Texas example in the paragraph above outlines this exact scenario), does that mean they now have a compact license? The short answer is, unfortunately, no. To get a compact license, a nurse’s permanent residence must be located in a compact state.
While it’s likely a long-shot that some states ever join the NLC (California, for example), there is very realistic hope for others. As of January 2019, Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, and New Jersey all have pending NLC legislation moving through their state house of representatives and/or state senates. If the NLC legislation is approved and signed by each state’s respective governors, those states could soon implement the National Licensure Compact, just as Kansas and Louisiana are set to do in July. Expect more states to introduce NLC-related legislation in the coming months and years in a joint effort to “unlock nursing care across the nation.”
States that are not currently NLC members (as well as D.C.)
As of early 2019, compact state license will not work in the following 19 states (or the District of Columbia).
- District of Columbia
- Indiana (pending NLC legislation as of 1/2019)
- Massachusetts (pending NLC legislation as of 1/2019)
- Michigan (pending NLC legislation as of 1/2019)
- New Jersey (pending NLC legislation as of 1/2019)
- New York
- Rhode Island
View Compact State Travel Nurse Jobs Now
To learn more about the Nurse Licensure Compact, visit the official NCSBN website.