Travel Nursing: Understanding Compact Licensure
C. Mike Emery, RN, CEO
How does Nursing Licensure Compact Affect Travel Nurses?
Nursing Licensure Compact allows a nurse to hold one nursing license and have the ability to work in all participating states (currently 23) under that one license. However, for a nurse to have multi-state practicing privileges, the nurse must reside in a compact state and hold a nursing license in that primary state. For example: Jane Doe, RN lives in Colorado. Colorado is her permanent residence. Jane Doe has declared Colorado as her home state. If need be, Jane can provide proof that Colorado is her home state with a livable address, driver’s license etc. Because Jane is a resident of a compact state, she can practice with her Colorado nursing license in any one of the compact states. This is considered multi-state practicing privileges.
If a nurse does not reside in a compact state, then multi-state privileges will not be allowed, without a separate license for each state. For example: Tina Noncompact, RN lives in Michigan, which is a state that does not participate in the Nurse Licensure Compact. Tina desires a temporary assignment in North Carolina so she must apply for and receive a North Carolina nursing license. We know that North Carolina is state that has implemented Nurse Licensure Compact. However, because Tina is not a primary resident in a compact state, her North Carolina license is good only in North Carolina. In other words, Tina can not practice in other compact states outside of North Carolina using her North Carolina license.
If a nurse permanently moves from one compact state to another, a license change must take place within 30 days. For example: Shelly Mover, RN lives in Maine which is a compact state. She moves from Maine to Texas, another compact state. Shelly has 30 days to obtain a Texas nursing license. Texas is now her declared primary state. In other words, nurses residing in compact states must declare one state as their primary residence and hold a license in that state. This is substantiated by proof of a livable address, driver’s license. Etc.
Please do not confuse having a permanent residence within a compact state the same as having a tax home. These are two separate issues that are often confused. If you would like further information on Tax Homes vs. Permanent Residence, Expedient Medstaff provides a free report on their company website. Just click Travel Nursing to go Expedient Medstaff’s website and request your free report.
Please remember to research and follow every state’s practice laws and regulations. Never overlook or take for granted the sometimes subtle variances in practice laws among the states.