How to apply for Reciprocity

Nursing is one of the most in-demand professions in the country, and after having earned your nursing degree, you will be in a position to find a job anywhere you want.  If you are working as a Registered Nurse, the process of transferring your license is called “reciprocity.”  Thanks to the standardization of nursing requirements that resulted from the NCLEX process, Registered Nurses are able to transfer their licenses to any state with just a few simple steps.  If you are interested in moving to another state, the following is the process for gaining reciprocity:

The first thing that you will want to do is to contact the Nursing Registry in the state you already live in and request an “Application for Enrollment by Reciprocity.”  The Registry will tell you whether they need you to complete the application and return it to the state you are moving to or if they need the application sent back to your home state.  You should familiarize yourself with the Nurse Practice Act in the state you plan to move to in order to ensure that you are following the applicable laws and regulations in the state you want to move to.  Then, you should contact the state you are moving to and ask how you should turn in the completed Application for Enrollment by Reciprocity.  If you contact the other state and get an automated line, have a pen and paper handy to take notes about the information you heard.  It is always preferable to get a live person on the line who can answer questions for you.

As you complete each item of paperwork, be sure to make a copy and keep it in a safe place for your records.  Keep notes about who you talked to and the phone numbers you can reach them at.  Simply applying does not ensure registration, so make sure you receive a document that says you are registered to practice in your new state.  Many states will first issue a temporary permit that will allow you to begin practicing as they complete your application.

After your new state tells you how information should be sent (such as fax, email, internet application, or mail), submit the information immediately.  Double check information like phone and fax numbers, mailing addresses, etc.  As part of the process, you will need to submit a copy of your Social Security Card, drivers’ license, and current state license.  You will also need a copy of a document that proves you have worked as a nurse within the last two years, such as a pay stub, and copies of any degrees and certificates you have earned.  The Registry in your new state may ask for other information, but gathering this information in advance will help make the process easier.

Your new employer may also require that you complete a training and/or testing program specific to their facility.  Your new employer will be able to provide you with necessary information about when and where you will need to do this.  Recent changes in Nursing Practice law make it easier than ever before to transfer your nursing license to a new state.  By spending a little bit of time researching these changes, your transition can be smooth and easy!

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