If you’re a travel nurse, or planning to become one, you know how exciting and challenging the job can be. As a travel nurse, one of the most important things you need to always have covered is your nursing license. Having a valid nursing license is an absolute necessity. But did you know that your home state’s nursing license may not be valid in the state where you want to work? 

Each state in the U.S. has its own licensure board for nurses and issues its own licenses. So while you might be a licensed RN in your own state, in the next state over, you are just a very skilled amateur who needs to apply for a (often expensive) nursing license in that state to practice medicine there.

Fortunately, some states realized how needlessly complicated the process is and joined together to form a nurse licensure compact or the NLC. In order to learn more about the NLC and how it benefits travel nurses, we talked to the professionals at Ventura MedStaff.

What Is the NLC?

The NLC is essentially an agreement between participating states that declares that the nurses who are registered in one member-state can practice the same level of medicine in all participating states. Essentially, with just one license, a nurse can apply for a job in any state that has signed on to the compact, provided they are qualified. No more applications for different licenses each time you go to a different state. As long as you stay within the compact states, a single license is all you will need.

Are All U.S. States Members?

Even though the NLC provides a lot of benefits to nurses and patients alike, not all states have signed on to the compact. There are currently 39 states (and other jurisdictions like Guam) that are members of this agreement. 

The exact list can change and fluctuate, but you should be able to find the latest information on this website. Typically, when a state signs the compact, they don’t backtrack the decision, showcasing just how beneficial it is to everyone (only Rhode Island pulled its membership from the original NLC).

NLC Is More Relevant Now than Ever Before

With the COVID-19 pandemic still raging across the country, many hospitals are stretched thin and in need of all the help they can get. With the burnout rates in this industry higher than ever before, hospitals and other medical facilities are turning to travel nurses as their solution. Travel nurses can go wherever they’re needed and provide much-needed relief to overworked staff. Well, almost everywhere.

NLC Is More Relevant to Travel Nurses than Anyone Else

In the past, getting a compact license was often seen as a hassle that wasn’t worth the effort for many travel nurses. However, with the current pandemic situation, more and more nurses are seeing the value in having a compact license. After all, it allows them to pack up and head to another state at a moment’s notice if their services are needed elsewhere and if a more lucrative or appealing offer comes along. 

With so many states participating, it’s easier than ever to find work in another state if your services are needed elsewhere. And with the COVID-19 pandemic still posing major health risks to so many, it’s likely that more states will join the compact in the near future.                                 

Whether you’re a seasoned travel nurse or just starting out, it’s important to be aware of the Nurse Licensure Compact and how it can affect your career. Now is the perfect time to get a compact license if you don’t already have one.