Do the words “compact states nursing” sound familiar? Perhaps you’ve been talking with your travel nurse buddy!
Nurses in the compact states nursing program have access to improved job flexibility, salaries, and advancement opportunities.
You may describe such nurses as “hotshots,” considering the understaffed culture in most large hospitals.
Are you interested in it already? Keep reading to discover essential information about this system, such as the application process, moving scenarios, and what it means for nurses and the public.
Compact states nursing is an initiative designed by the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) to allow RNs to work across participant states with a single license.
This alliance consists of about 39 states, so owning one such license permits you to practice from Alabama to Mississippi across the country!
With this arrangement, becoming a travel nurse is as easy as giving an injection, as you’ll read below. But, first, how does the compact nursing state program work?
In comes Nursys!
Nursys is a national online database that tracks all RNs, LPN/VNs, and APRNs in the US. The resource has numerous uses, such as entering/reviewing disciplinary records, collecting/logging profession-specific reports, and verifying a nurse licensure status.
Consequently, Nursys serve as the backbone for compact nursing. Potential employers can find out your professional records and licensure status, notwithstanding your previous state of practice.
Nurses may also use Nursys to manage their license information in a one-stop portfolio.
eNLC (Enhanced Nursing Licensure Compact) is a frequent term in compact nursing discourses. So, is it different from the NLC we mentioned earlier?
eNLC is simply an update on the original setup of compact nursing. The new system implements specific changes, starting with the need for a licensure verification board to review multi-state license applicants’ criminal records.
Other changes lie in oversight, with a new Interstate Commission agency responsible for overseeing the compact. Under the eNLC, all rules are established by the Interstate Commission for all participating states, not by individual states. Many suggest that the eNLC makes it easier for non-participating states to become members.
A primary state of residence refers to your legal residency status. Only nurses primarily resident in an eNLC-state can participate in compact nursing.
You can prove your residency through your driver’s license or voter registration card.
Note you can travel for jobs in different states with your multi-state license. However, officially moving to a non-compact state forfeits your benefits under the program, and subsequently, you lose your multi-state license.
You can confirm if your application for a multi-state license succeeds by using the Quick Confirm option on nursys.com.
Yes, several conditions may disqualify you from securing a multi-state license. They include:
The following states are participants in the Compact Nursing Program:
Note Alaska, California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Rhode Island, Washington, and the Virgin Islands are awaiting entry into the Compact States Nursing Program as of March 2022, while Ohio is working towards eNLC eligible by January 1, 2023.
The compact nursing program is beneficial to nurses and society. Here’s how!
Owning a multi-state license enables working as a travel nurse with a $5,000/weekly wage potential. Thanks to the unique uses of TNs in filling critical short-term needs and promoting healthcare in short-staffed medical institutions.
Hospitals and other health settings in eNLC-participating states can provide seamless healthcare by hiring travel nurses. Additionally, underserved areas can enjoy a steady influx of qualified nurses to meet staffing requirements.
Working as a nurse is a straightforward affair with fewer licenses to obtain. Remember, securing a license may be complex and time-consuming in some cases. Fortunately, a multi-state license resolves this concern.
The fees are cheaper, too. A multi-state license spares you some states’ higher application and renewal fees.
The compact nursing program opens the pathway to travel nursing, so let’s see what this benefit entails.
A TN is a nurse who takes on short-term nursing assignments in eNLC-eligible states within 6 to 26 weeks. These nurses can work in hospitals, midwifery centers, and other healthcare settings and are usually secured by recruitment agencies.
There’s a shortage of nurses nationwide, particularly in rural areas. So there’s a pronounced need for TNs recently.
Travel nurses come with all types of backgrounds and specializations. A significant advantage of travel nursing over standard RNs is the opportunity for higher pay, among other perks.
Owing to numerous researches, the unanimous annual average for TNs is $109,398 — an excellent figure compared to the $75,330 for typical RNs.
Note salaries vary according to location, experience, workload, and employer. For instance, California offers much higher salaries than Idaho, courtesy of the higher living costs..
For insight, this ZipRecruiter table presents the average annual Travel Nurse Salary and hourly rate per state.
|State||Mean Annual||Avg Hourly|
Find out more about how much a travel nurse makes, Travel Nurse salary.
Travel nursing contracts may last for only six weeks or as long as 26. However, the client may extend the contract if the nurse offers a satisfactory service and accepts the extension.
The answer is mostly yes, and the standard benefits include a housing stipend and allowances.
However, you can enjoy more TN benefits depending on your agency.
A good agency works with a massive network of hospitals and institutions so they can tailor your search according to your preferences.
For example, some travel nurses prefer higher fixed hourly rates and a specific type of facility over bonuses and overtime opportunities.
Becoming a TN requires fulfilling the following criteria:
Remember, the ideal travel nurse staffing agency will tailor your job search based on your preferences. For example, your weather, overtime, and availability preferences play significant parts in your assignment.
We recommend going with travel nursing agencies credentialed by the Joint Commission. The Joint Commission applies standardized performance measures to ensure travel nurses meet critical criteria, such as high acceptance rates and minimum turnover rates.
We have three travel nursing staffing agencies in mind. They are Aya Healthcare, Axis Medical Staffing, and Triangle Staffing. All are known for exceptional coverage (all 50 states) and benefits, including 401(k) company matches and weekly direct deposits.
You can do more reading on the eNLC through https://www.ncsbn.org/nurse-licensure-Compact.htm.
The site offers a color-coded map of participating and non-participating states and current news on pending NLC legislation states.
Kindly take these steps to enroll in the compact nursing program:
The answer depends on where you’re moving from and vice versa. Is your current location a compact nursing state? If yes, your answer is positive.
Otherwise, you must apply for licensure by endorsement in your new state of residency to transfer your RN license from a non-compact state to a compact one. Your non-compact state individual state license will remain active.
On the other hand, you must apply for licensure by endorsement in the new state of residency and convert your compact license to a single-state license to transfer your RN license from a compact to a non-compact state. Additionally, you must notify your state’s board of nursing of your move for inactivation.
Lastly, you will need to practice on your former residence license for up to 90 days to transfer your RN license from one compact state to another. Any move also requires a 1 to 2-month advanced timeframe to apply for licensure endorsement in your new home state.
It’s essential to note the difference between compact and non-compact states.
A non-compact state resident can apply for an endorsement license in a compact state.
Otherwise, they will only be able to work with a single-state license in the non-participating state and any states where they obtain single-state licenses.
Yes, you can enroll in compact state nursing if you secure your RN license online. What’s necessary is to ensure the awarding institution is accredited.
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