Nurse Licensure Compact and the Nursing Multistate License Upgrade | How Does It Work?
If you are a Florida Registered Nurse or Licensed Practical Nurse, you may have heard of the Nursing Multistate License Upgrade. Eligible Florida RNs and LPNs can “upgrade” their licenses and practice across state lines. This can open great career opportunities, but let's first explore how it works.
What is the Nursing Multistate License Upgrade?
Florida is a member of the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC). This is an agreement between numerous states to allow nurses to practice across state lines. Most U.S. states are members of the NLC. (Get an updated map of the NLC states.)
Note: The NLC does not apply to APRNs, only RNs, and LPNs.
A nurse licensed in Florida can practice in another Compact state without having to obtain a license in that state. This applies if you maintain residency in Florida. If you move to another state, you will have to get licensed in that state for the Compact to apply. A nurse can hold only one multistate license at a time.
Important: If you choose to practice across state lines, it is very important that you know and understand the laws and rules of each state you practice in, not just those in Florida. You can be disciplined for violating the laws of other states where you practice.
Are You Eligible for the Nursing Multistate License Upgrade?
Just because you are a licensed nurse in Florida does not mean that you can automatically work across state lines. Nurses are required to go through a special application process to upgrade their licenses under the NLC.
Some of the requirements are:
- Florida must be your primary state of residence.
- You must hold a valid and clear Florida nursing license (meaning your license cannot be under suspension, probation, or supervision).
- You must have passed the NCLEX or the SBTPE.
- Must not have a felony conviction, regardless of whether adjudication was withheld.
- You must not be enrolled with the Intervention Project for Nurses (IPN) or any other treatment program for impaired practitioners.
- You must have a U.S. Social Security number.
- You must submit your Livescan results (fingerprints). The Board of Nursing uses these to verify your Florida and national criminal history.
Note: Some requirements are stricter than those of a regular Florida nursing license. For instance:
- You can have a felony and hold a Florida nursing license, but not a multistate license.
- You can be in a drug or alcohol treatment program and hold a Florida nursing license, but not a multistate license.
- You can practice nursing with a license that is on probation or supervision, but that makes you ineligible for a multistate license.
If you’re unsure whether you’re eligible for a multistate license upgrade, contact an experienced health care attorney.
Howell, Buchan & Strong can help you:
- Determine if you are eligible for the license upgrade.
- Complete the application for license upgrade.
- Communicate with the DOH Licensing Unit and Florida Board of Nursing.
- Prepare supporting documentation for the application.
- Prepare a formal letter to the Board of Nursing in support of the application.
- Ensure all necessary documentation is provided to DOH and the Board of Nursing.
- Prepare you for your appearance in front of the Board of Nursing, if necessary.
How to Apply for a Nursing Multistate License Upgrade
You must first fill out and submit the application to DOH, along with all the required supporting documentation. If you have any prior criminal or disciplinary history, you will need to provide that information to DOH. You will also need to provide a written self-explanation.
You should always consult an experienced health care attorney to determine what documentation needs to be submitted with your license upgrade application. He or she can also assist in drafting your self-explanation, making sure that it thoroughly explains any criminal or disciplinary history.
Once you have submitted the application and all required documentation, you may be required to appear before the Florida Board of Nursing. The Board members may have questions about your application, credentials, and history. It is important that you answer all questions honestly and tactfully. Our firm thoroughly prepares our clients for their appearance before the Board of Nursing and appears with them at the hearing.
Have questions about your need for legal representation? Contact the law firm of Howell, Buchan & Strong at 850-877-7776 to set up a FREE, no-obligation consultation. The license upgrade application process can be complex and confusing. Our firm helps physicians, nurses, and other health care professionals statewide get licensed.
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