If you, like me, are looking forward to a new life in the Sunshine State, you will also probably have on your to-do list to obtain your Florida nursing license via endorsement. You could visit this website to try to figure out how exactly to do that (http://www.floridasnursing.gov/licensing/licensed-practical-nurse-registered-nurse-by-endorsement/)... Or, you could follow this guideline I have put together after about a month of trying to get everything done for myself.
Step 1: Okay, actually do go to that website mentioned above and click "Apply Online"; this will prompt you to choose whether you're an RN or LPN and enter your email address and a password, so you can come back if you don't finish everything at once. Basically this part is just filling out your personal information and paying the Florida BON $175 to get your application started.
Step 2: Go to your state's BON website (in my case, Alabama) and fill out whatever form and pay whatever fee you have to (in my case, $33) in order for them to send verification of your current license to Florida. ...UNLESS you live in one of those fancy NURSYS states... In that case, go here. That probably costs money too, but I don't know because I didn't have to use it.
Step 3: Get fingerprinted! And don't think you can just go on down to your local police station and get your cop buddies to book you for free - the Florida BON no longer accepts paper cards. So, as an out-of-state resident, you have a couple options. (Even if you have been fingerprinted before for your current BON or your current job, you have to get all new fingerprints especially for this purpose.) I found the most painless option to figure out and use to be Fieldprint, an electronic fingerprinting company that seems to be located in almost every UPS store there is, so there's most likely one near you. You have to make an appointment online through their website. ** USE THE SPECIAL FLORIDA FIELDPRINT WEBSITE (CLICK HERE) ** The regular Fieldprint website will NOT work for this purpose, and it won't even allow you to schedule an appointment. **
... Here is the tricky part in an otherwise pretty simple process -- after you click "Schedule An Appointment" and sign up as a new user to the site, you will come to this page asking you "Reason why you need to be fingerprinted." There will be a blank box where you can type in a code, or you can choose from a drop-down box. If you try to just enter in the code (which is EDOH4420Z), it will NOT WORK. Instead, you need to select Florida Dept of Health - Division of Medical Quality (MQA). This is not obvious, because it has no familiar phrases, like "Board of Nursing," anywhere to be found, but it's the right selection. Then, you will enter in some personal information (name, SSN, weight -- and don't lie, this is a level 2 check for Pete's sake ) before coming to another drop-down list where you will select your "Profession." Be sure to select "RN/LPN by Endorsement and ARNP applicants" -- this selection links up to the right code (EDOH4420Z) which ensures your $85 fingerprints make it to the Florida BON. ** If you do not make all of these selections exactly as listed here, your expensive fingerprints will become lost forever somewhere in background check cyberspace and you will have to pay another $85 and have everything done all over again (trust me, I am speaking from experience). **
You will also be asked to enter the name and address of the organization requiring your fingerprints - this is the address the BON told me to list (because they have 2 listed on their site):
Department of Health
Board of Nursing
4052 Bald Cypress Way
Tallahassee, FL 32399-3252
Step 4: Complete a 2 unit CE course about preventing medication errors. This course has to be "approved" by the Florida BON, and you can find that approved list by going to CEBroker.com, clicking "Course Search" (you don't have to create an account or log-in or anything), selecting your profession (Licensed or Registered Nurse), selecting "Self Study Continuing Education Courses," then finally selecting "Medication Errors" under the Subject Area filter. Or, you could just go HERE ("Prevention of Medical Errors") to the one I ended up choosing for a relatively cheap $14. The PDF of study info is free, but you have to pay $14 to take the test and get the certificate, which is what the BON wants. After you get your certificate that says you completed the course, you can email it right to them (MQA_Nursing_Appstatus@doh.state.fl.us).
And that's it!! Sit back, relax, and wait for your freshly minted FL license to be mailed to you. A week or so after you fill out the initial application with the FL BON website, you should receive a letter in the mail, giving you a username and password for you to check the status of your application on the BON's application status website. Logging in there will let you see exactly what they have already received and processed, or what they're missing or still working on.
Maybe all of this will be intuitive to others who are having to go through this process now or in the future, but for me it took a lot of figuring out, and although I found some threads here already, I still had to do a lot of digging on my own (and I sat through more than 1 lengthly hold so I could ask the BON directly ) to figure everything out. I hope this (rather long) post ends up helping someone else out at some point.