Moving is a way of life for many people today. For nurses, whether crisscrossing the country or just moving over state lines, obtaining licensure in the new state is usually essential.

The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) administers a program called the mutual recognition model. This interstate compact allows nurses licensed in a state that is part of the program to practice in other states within the program and have their current licenses be recognized. There are, of course, rules and regulations that must be adhered to depending on the specific state.

The problem with this particular plan is that currently only 23 states, including Arkansas, Delaware, Iowa, Maryland, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Virginia, have entered into the nurses’ licensure compact.

More states are expected to pass legislation for the compact shortly. This will make it much easier for nurses to practice across state borders. If you are interested in finding out if and when your state might take part in the program, contact your local state board of nursing.

Researching License Requirements

If you don’t live in one of the states covered by the new compact, don’t despair. It might take some time to research another state’s nursing license requirements, and perhaps some additional classes or tests to get licensed, but it will be worth it.

Let’s say you fulfilled your lifelong dream of becoming a registered nurse. You’re living and working in Manhattan at a great teaching hospital. But after a long winter, you decide you love your job, but you really don’t like the cold weather, ice and snow. Florida starts to look very good. What’s better, you checked out the job situation, and you’ll have no trouble finding employment.

Your state nursing license is from New York, but you want to work in Florida. What do you have to do?

Generally, to obtain licensure in another state, nurses must meet the requirements of the specific state in which they are interested in working and then obtain another license from that state. There are a number of ways to go about this.

• Check with the specific state board of nursing. Your current state board of nursing can usually give you the contact information for other state boards.

• Obtain information from your potential employer. With the current nursing shortage, many employers are happy to provide new employees with assistance on how to get licensed.

• Do research on the Internet. Search for information on specific state licensing requirements, license periods, fees, continuing-education requirements, etc.

In the end, you’ll have a nursing license to do what you love in another state.