Nursing students welcome new law in Florida

Florida A&M University School of Nursing Building sign 
Photo credit: Cierra Richardson

A new Florida law will now make it easier for nurses to be able to practice in other states.

The law went into effect Jan. 19 and it allows for licensed practical nurses and registered nurses who are licensed in one compact state to now practice in any of the other 28 compact states without having to obtain additional licenses.

According to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, the compact states include Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, Texas, Virginia and more.  

This decision comes after Florida and other states began to face challenges due to a shortage of nurses.

Executive director of the Florida Board of Nursing, Joe Baker Jr, believes Florida’s shortage can be improved with the new law.

“The new law will help with any shortages in the nursing workforce. Registered nurses and licensed practical nurses from 28 other states can now come to Florida to practice on the privilege and to also help with nursing shortages,” said Baker.

By reducing the shortages of nurses and implementing this law, there will be a wide range of opportunities for nurses to practice their field. They will have the ability to practice in person or via telehealth in both their home state and other states.

This law is also beneficial to the job market allowing nurses to seek more employment.

“It opens the door for licensees to seek jobs in multiple settings and also allows employers to fill vacancies with nurses who hold multi-state licenses from within the compact states,” Baker said.

By creating more opportunities for nurses, many nursing students in college are looking forward to graduation and beginning their profession.

Sheayauna Holland, a first-semester nursing student at Florida A&M, said this law will bring more opportunities for her.

“This law will impact my career by allowing me more of an opportunity to travel and work in different hospital settings expanding my experience and cultural competence as a registered nurse. With this new law in place, I am less hesitant to venture out of Florida to continue my practice,” Holland said.

Kendi Ford, another FAMU nursing student, said she welcomes the new law.

“I am excited about this law and look forward to all the possibilities this law brings me and my fellow nurses upon completion of the nursing program. There is so much that can be attained and with this law, it makes it much easier and convenient,” said Ford.

By reducing the requirement of having separate licenses for different states, lawmakers hope to avoid extra paperwork and costly fees.

All nurses applying for a multi-state license are only required to meet the same standards that include a federal criminal background check, have no felony conviction, an active and clear license, and a passing score on the NCLEX exam.