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National RN license vs State issued licensed


Specializes in NICU. Has 4 years experience.

I think we should have a license to practice in all 50 states. I think it's quite silly for it to be issued by state. The licensing exam we take is national, the license we receive should be. It's way too much to go from one state to another trying to get your license endorsed and having to go through background checks, fingerprints, etc. All information should be stored on a national database.

I do, however, understand the nurse practice act varies from state to state. That should be the individual's responsibility to make themselves aware of the nurse practice act for their state.

Whaddya think?



Has 1 years experience.

I agree.

If we all have to take the same standardized tests, then they should count nationwide.

I also think that their needs to be a national standard of nursing schools so that if you are eligible in one state, you are eligible in another.

Maria Lenore,RN

Specializes in Geriatric Nursing.

I agree.

That there will only be one state board exam and once past you can use that it any state you wish to practice.

I think that it would make more sense to have a National license then as a Nurse moves from state to state there is a mandatory class about that particular state's Nurse Practice Act.


Specializes in Psychiatry.

I am in total agreeance with the above posters. 1 license should cover all 50 states. It would make it much easier for those that live on the border of of 2 or more states.


Specializes in Geriatrics. Has 4 years experience.

Hi! I am brand new to the site. I have been thinking about this license issue a lot. My boyfriend works on a construction team that goes state-to-state. I would LOVE the chance to go with him and just pick up my nursing wherever I go, instead of go through all the drama and headache of the red tape to get an individual state license. I realize it would probably be more expensive, but it WOULD be worth it to me!:nurse:


Specializes in hoping to be in pediatrics..somedaysoon..

this would be lovely, wouldn't it? but ofcourse as you all know, its about money honey! :(


Specializes in Medical/Surgical, Ambulatory Care. Has 5 years experience.

Agreed with all comments.

I also believe that it's to level out how different nursing schools in different states teach their students. I felt that if all nursing schools had the exact same cirricula, then this would not be an issue, and there would be a nat'l licensure procedure. I also feel that some states/nursing schools are more leniant than others, and I've heard that some states only allow their students to have 300-500 clinical hours, or just teach basic courses and not offering courses in topics like leadership or community health nursing.

Ugh! But yea, I feel you on this topic... I'm currently trying to get my license endorsed in another state :-/.

It sucks.


Specializes in Medical/Surgical, Ambulatory Care. Has 5 years experience.

I also feel that ALL states should at least be in the Nurse Licensure Compact. I hate having to go from having a multi-state license to just on in Okahoma :-(. I wonder why all states dont participate... hmmmm...

caroladybelle, BSN, RN

Specializes in Oncology/Haemetology/HIV.

It is a lovely idea, but the issue has nothing to do with what we like.

There is no current legal way to have a national license, as per the US constitution and laws, the STATES are reserved the legal right to legislate those issues. Much like Driver's licenses, business licenses, motor vehicle tags.

All of these things would be much more effectively legislated and the same throughout the USA. But the federal government does not hold rights to legally regulate this.

And if you think that the people of this nation can be mobilized to push for a constitutional amendment abridging states rights for the convenience of nurses, I have a bridge in Brooklyn for sale. Right now, that is far down the list of congressional priorities.

Again, I am not objecting to the idea......... But is not something that can be accomplished with a rapid stroke of the pen.


Specializes in Med/Surgical; Critical Care; Geriatric. Has 33 years experience.

I think it would be great and convenient to have one national license but I agree with a previous writer, that this is an issue governed by states and probably relates to nursing curricula of nursing programs. I have a neighbor who has recently graduated from an online nursing program which does not have in-hospital clinical rotations. This is hard for me to even imagine! There are states that won't even endorse an RN if they graduated from this particular school without having documented RN practice hours from the original state. There are also for profit nursing programs popping up, that even though they are accredited in THEIR state, they are NOT accredited by the National League of Nursing.