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Relocating and Getting Your Nursing License in Another State

Getting your nursing license in another state

When it comes to licensure, every state board of nursing marches to the beat of its own drum. But thanks to recent regulatory improvements, the process for nurses to be able to practice in multiple states with one license has never been more in tune. So, if you’re thinking about relocating to Tennessee or Indiana for our 16-month Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program, here’s what you need to know about getting your nursing license in another state.

With nursing schools across the country turning away countless qualified applicants because there’s no room for them, we’ve seen an uptick in the number of students willing to relocate to Nashville and Indianapolis to attend our ABSN program.

After all, we have the capacity to enroll a high number of qualified ABSN students per year via:

  • Two ABSN program site locations (Nashville and Indianapolis)
  • Three ABSN program start dates a year (January, May, and August)
  • Two clinical partners (Saint Thomas Health in Nashville and St. Vincent in Indianapolis)

Can You Get Your Nursing License in Another State?

When it comes to relocating for nursing school, we’ve found that many students don’t realize they can earn a BSN degree in one state but get licensed to practice in another.

Consider Dan Francis, ABSN Class of December 2017. He and his family moved from California to Tennessee so he could attend our Nashville program. After earning his BSN, he decided to stay in the area and now works within the Saint Thomas Health network.

ABSN graduate Dan Francis

“Nashville offers a better quality of life because it’s expensive to live in California. We bought a house here, and my family and I love the area,” he said.

There’s also Felicia Silver, ABSN Class of December 2016. She moved from California to attend our Indianapolis program.

“I knew by coming to Indianapolis, I would pay a lot less in tuition and housing,” she said. “I also knew there were some major hospitals in the area, so I had a good chance of being offered a job after graduating from the program.”

And she was right. After earning her BSN, she spent three years working for St. Vincent. Today, she’s an ICU nurse working in her home state of California.

By moving to Tennessee or Indiana for our ABSN program, once you graduate, you can register to take the NCLEX-RN® exam in your home state or any other state you plan to practice in. Bear in mind that you need to reside in the state for which you plan to take the NCLEX.

Plus, the Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC) makes it possible for you to get one multistate license that allows you to practice in select states across the country.

Breaking Down Regulatory Barriers

Since 2000, the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) has been on a mission to reduce regulatory barriers that keep qualified nurses from practicing across state lines. More specifically, this interstate agreement allows nurses to have one multistate license that authorizes them to work in any compact state.

Prior to the NLC, nurses had to obtain a separate license for every state in which they practiced. These regulatory barriers were especially burdensome for nurses seeking employment in a nearby neighboring state and nurses who traveled to other states to assist during natural disasters.

Enhancing Patient Safety

While 25 states were part of the original compact, more are signing on as part of the Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact because of its new provisions that further enhance patient safety. For instance, all nurses applying for a multistate license must meet the same standards, which includes undergoing a federal and state criminal background check.

In a January 2018 press release issued by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN), the eNLC was called “a new and exciting era for nurse licensure” because it not only gives nurses increased mobility to practice, but also provides the public at large with better access to healthcare.

Current Compact States and Statuses

Currently, there are 29 states actively participating in the eNLC, with two states awaiting implementation and four states pending legislation. And according to NCSBN, more than two million nurses live in eNLC states and have the opportunity to practice in other eNLC states.

Map of NLC States

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Nurse Licensure in Tennessee

Tennessee is one of the 29 eNLC states. So, by graduating from our ABSN program in Nashville, you can get one multistate license that authorizes you to practice in Tennessee and any other eNLC state. In fact, every state in the South is involved with the compact. But you’re not limited to this part of the country. You can practice nursing as far west as Idaho and as far east as Maine.

In other words, getting your nursing license in Tennessee provides access to any number of employment opportunities across the country. You could work in a local hospital, deliver telehealth services to patients in another state, or travel to different states to provide patient care in underserved communities.

Relocating to Nashville

Thinking of moving to Nashville for nursing school? We have some tips for you to consider before moving to Nashville for nursing school

Nurse Licensure in Indiana

Indiana was enacted into the eNLC last month. However, the state is awaiting implementation, which could take up to a year to complete. But if you’re just now considering applying to our ABSN program in Indianapolis, there’s a good chance everything will be in place by the time you graduate (no guarantee though).

Once eNLC implementation is complete, you can get one multistate license that authorizes you to practice in any eNLC state. While most Midwestern states are part of the compact, it should be noted that Indiana’s neighboring states, Illinois and Ohio, are not. But like our Nashville ABSN graduates, you’d be able to practice nursing as far west as Idaho and as far east as Maine.

Ready to apply to our ABSN program?

Moving to Tennessee or Indiana to earn your BSN has no bearing on where you can become licensed to practice. But, to be eligible for our 16-month ABSN program, you must have a non-nursing bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution, along with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.8 or a 3.0 GPA for the last 60 credit hours you completed.

Contact our admissions team to learn more about our ABSN program and getting your nursing license in another state.

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