Washington State Enacts Compact Nursing License Law

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By TNAA- Travel Nurse Across America

July 18, 2023



Washington State Enacts Compact Nursing License Law

TNAA-Travel Nurse Across America provided this article.

Earlier this year, Washington state became the 40th jurisdiction to join the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC), and the new law goes into effect on July 24, 2023. This is exciting news for travel nurses who have had the Pacific Northwest in their travel nurse assignment sights and for nurses with a Washington state license who want to expand their travel nurse assignment locations. In this article, we’ll dive into what a compact nursing license is and share some unique Washington destinations to check out if you take an assignment there.

washington state

What is a Compact Nursing License?

A compact nursing license, also called a multistate nursing license, is an agreement allowing nurses to practice in any jurisdiction within the NLC. The NLC was established in 2000, and 25 states had joined it by 2015. In 2018, the NLC streamlined the licensure process for nurses through the Enhanced Nursing License (eNLC).

Despite the benefits of the compact nursing license, many other states were reluctant to join. However, the increased demand for nurses throughout the COVID-19 pandemic illuminated the need for a faster, more efficient system for nurses to gain licensure, and there are now 40 compact license states included in the NLC.  

The Impact of Compact Nursing Licenses

A multistate nursing license makes a big difference for nurses and facilities. It eliminates the need for nurses to obtain a license for each state or jurisdiction they wish to practice in, often a time-consuming and expensive process. Because nurses with an eNLC can practice in any participating state, traveling nurses can start assignments anywhere they wish without waiting to get their license first.

The compact nursing license benefits hospitals and facilities, too, providing them with a more extensive network of nurses available to hire for open positions. It also helps facilities expand their telehealth services.

Getting Your Compact Nursing License

If you’re interested in obtaining an eNLC, you must meet the eligibility requirements and apply through your board of nursing. There are several requirements, including residing in a compact state, so it’s important to research what you need before you begin the application process.

The good news is that your travel nurse agency’s quality assurance team can help. They can tell you the required licenses, certifications, immunizations, and training for all states you wish to take travel nurse assignments in, including non-compact states. Check with your agency to see if they have a Quality Assurance team who can help.

What to do While on Assignment in Washington

washington state

Now that the Washington State Compact license law is going into effect, travel nurses can add Washington to their desired assignment destinations list. Taking a travel nurse assignment in Washington is a decision you won’t regret. The Evergreen State offers an abundance of activities all year round. And the best news is that the state is small enough that no matter where your travel nurse assignment is based, you can easily explore everything this unique state offers through day trips or weekend getaways.

Here are a few Washington State attractions to add to your WA travel bucket list:

  • Mt Rainier National Park
  • The Olympic Peninsula
  • The Gorge Amphitheater
  • Leavenworth
  • Greater Seattle Area
  • Spokane
  • Columbia River Gorge
  • San Juan Islands
  • Washington Wine Country

The Gypsy Nurse job board is a great place to search for your next travel nurse assignment. We have you covered with our housing page if housing is an issue. You can search for what you are looking for.

If you are a new travel nurse or looking into becoming a travel nurse:

Travel Nurse Guide: Step-by-Step (now offered in a PDF Downloadable version!)

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