License option expands nursing care

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 15, 2022

COLUMBUS — As the need for nursing care continues to grow, the Ohio Board of Nursing and the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) are expanding nursing career opportunities in Ohio with the option for a multistate license (MSL).

An MSL allows Ohio nurses to practice in the current 37 NLC states and opens up job opportunities in Ohio to experienced nurses from across the country.

By converting their existing Ohio license to an MSL, Ohio nurses can rapidly provide critical care during a disaster or medical emergency in a nearby NLC state, pursue opportunities in the growing telehealth field, and grow their careers in new and exciting ways. With consistent standards in every MSL state, experienced nurses from across the country can easily join Ohio’s nursing workforce.

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“Patients will be welcoming new faces onto their care teams soon. That’s exciting news for them and Ohio,” said Marlene Anielski, Executive Director of the Ohio Board of Nursing. “A multistate license gives Ohio nurses the power to pursue the careers of their dreams and makes it easier to fill professional nursing jobs in our state. The licensing innovation will give Ohioans more of the high-quality nursing care they deserve.”

In addition to opening up exciting career opportunities for Ohio nurses, the new license will also streamline the complicated process of providing care across state lines. That’s especially important for nurses like Missy Smith, who works close to Ohio’s Southern border and provides care to patients in Ohio, Kentucky, and West Virginia.

“I am five minutes from Kentucky. I am probably 30 minutes from West Virginia. We do have and service patients in both of those areas,” said Smith. “It would be nice to not have to get a separate license every time one of our nurses has to go into that area.”

To convert their existing single state nursing license into an MSL, nurses must meet a set of uniform licensing standards, meeting all of Ohio’s licensure requirements and clearing state and federal criminal background checks.

The multistate license, offered through the National Council of State Boards of Nursing’s Nurse Licensure Compact, is available to Registered Nurses (RNs), Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), and nursing students, all of whom can begin applying for an MSL on Jan. 1.