As a travel nurse you will hear the terms compact and non compact thrown around a lot. This is an important concept to grasp as it could truly change the name of the game.
Compact: If your permanent state of residence is in a “compact” state, you are able to practice under one license in all of the states highlighted in dark blue. This is a very convenient feature if you’re going to be moving states every three months.
Non compact states: If your permanent residence falls under one of the states on the map in white, and light blue, its okay! You will not need to take the NCLEX in every state you need to work. Thank goodness, right? You will, however, need to apply for each state license individually. This requires a lot more effort on your end, but once you get the hang of it becomes easier.
In order to become a compact state resident you must provide proof of residence change. i.e. purchasing, or renting a home with a real mailing address, a p.o. box will not suffice. Additionally, be sure to change all legal documents to this state of residence as inconsistency could lead to an audit. You don’t want your house to be in Tennessee, with your car insurance and registration of the vehicle to be in the state of Michigan. This would raise a red flag.
Things to remember:
With a compact state license you will not need to worry about your license being verified in time for your start date at your next gig.
With a non compact state license, you just have to be more mindful of start dates and lengths of time for license processing. If in doubt, call the board of nursing and check the speed of processing time.
If you are new to traveling feel free to leave questions in the comments, or send me an e-mail and I will do my best to answer any questions you may have about traveling!
Welcome to the gypsy life!