The Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN) Compact

The United States has an ongoing and growing need for highly qualified nurses and healthcare providers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there are around 323,900 openings for advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) in the U.S. every year, with far fewer nurses to fill them. It’s estimated that there will continue to be a nursing shortage due to the aging Baby Boomer population and the fact that nursing schools are lacking enough new grads to meet demand. 

The current system for Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) licensure is not sufficient to keep up with this need. More flexibility and adaptability are needed. That’s where the APRN Compact comes in. 

The APRN Compact is a proposal constructed to help give APRNs licensure across state boundaries through “codified uniform licensure requirements” that would improve efficiency, be more cost-effective, and support families across the country. Here is what nurses should know about the APRN Compact, including the benefits of the APRN, the current state of the Compact across the U.S., and its future. 

What Is the APRN Compact?

The APRN Compact would provide one multistate license for advanced practice registered nurses in participating states. APRNs provide nursing care in all sorts of healthcare settings, including outpatient clinics, specialty practices, telehealth services, hospitals, and others. Their advanced skills are necessary in rural, suburban, and urban areas. 

The APRN Compact would allow APRNs with 2,080 hours or more practice to obtain one multistate license in their home state. That license would then allow them to practice within any state that is also a part of the Compact. Every state that joins the Compact would have uniform requirements for clinical nurse specialists (CNSs), nurse practitioners (NPs), certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs), and certified nurse midwives (CNMs), all of whom fall under the APRN umbrella. With the appropriate licensing, they could then care for patients across state lines (whether in person or electronically). 

Benefits of the APRN Compact 

There are many reasons why the APRN Compact is a good choice for advance practice nursing licensure. These include:

Safety and Efficiency

Codifying uniform licensure across states ensures APRNs are qualified to practice in multiple settings, mirroring the current national APRN Consensus Model. The APRN Compact would also allow for information exchanges between compact states and regulation and investigation when an issue arises.  

With the APRN, each state would have the authority to hold an APRN accountable when it comes to meeting state practice laws. It would also reduce licensure redundancy, as well, either for initial applications or the maintenance of APRN licenses. 

Access to Care

The Compact would increase access to APRN services in both rural and urban communities, as these nurses would be able to travel to underserved communities quickly and efficiently. It would also allow for telehealth across state boundaries without requiring additional licensing.

And, when a crisis occurs (such as a pandemic or natural disaster), APRNs would have the ability to cross state borders and provide emergency services without the necessary waiting period for an executive declaration. 

Employment Opportunities

Military spouse APRNs would have the ability to practice immediately upon relocation and online education would be available to APRNs throughout the country. With the APRN Compact, in-person education would be approved and valid across state lines for APRNs, and it would allow APRNs to have flexible licensure by obtaining or maintaining a single license. 

Cost Effectiveness

The APRN would prove to be more cost-effective for both APRNs and their employers. For nurses, the need to obtain additional nurse licensure in a new state would be eliminated. In the case of an employer, the APRN Compact would remove the expenses organizations have in helping their APRNs obtain and maintain more than one license.

APRN Compact Licensure Requirements

An applicant for licensure in an APRN Compact state can get their multistate license if they:

  1. Meet the requirements for licensure in their home state. 
  2. Graduate from an accredited graduate program that prepares the applicant for one of the four APRN roles.
  3. Pass an English proficiency exam. 
  4. Successfully pass a national certification exam that measures APRNs, roles, and population-focused competencies. 
  5. Hold an active license as an RN.
  6. Have successfully passed an NCLEX-RN examination.
  7. Submit to state and federal fingerprint-based criminal background checks.
  8. Have not been convicted or found guilty of a felony offense. 
  9. Have no misdemeanor convictions in relation to the practice of nursing.
  10. Are not currently enrolled in an alternative program. 
  11. Are required to self-disclose current participation in an alternative program.
  12. Have a valid United States Social Security number (SSN).

For more information, you can review the APRN Compact Uniform Licensure Requirements

States Currently on Board

In order for the APRN Compact to come into effect, at least seven states must have enacted the legislation to approve it. Right now, there are several states with the APRN Compact legislation in place, and there are a couple with pending legislation.

States with Enacted APRN Compact Legislation

  • Utah
  • North Dakota
  • South Dakota
  • Delaware

States with Pending APRN Compact Legislation

  • Arizona
  • Maryland

Keep checking the APRN website to see when new states are added to the interactive chart. 

How To Support the Compact

If you live in a state with bills currently pending, it’s a good idea to contact your legislators and let them know how you feel about the bill. Whether you are for or against the APRN Compact, your voice should be heard.

If you want your state to approve the APRN Compact, develop a relationship with your representatives and let them know what APRNs do and how they benefit your state. Explain why you think multistate licensing would benefit your community and encourage them to vote for any legislation that supports the APRN Compact.

If your state does not currently have any legislation on the table to support the APRN Compact, you can get it started! Contact your local representatives and let them know about the program. Explain its benefits and refer them to the APRN Compact website, where they can learn more. 

Supplemental Health Care Supports APRNs

As one of the top healthcare staffing companies for nurses in the United States, Supplemental Health Care is committed to helping nurses obtain positions that work for them while increasing access to healthcare for everyone. When it comes to travel nursing and filling vacancies across the country, multistate licensure measures only increase opportunities for nurses. The APRN Compact would allow for multistate licenses for advanced practiced registered nurses, bringing greater access to healthcare across the United States. 

If you are interested in learning more about travel nursing, reach out to our team today. We’re happy to help you learn more about licensure requirements, how to find a position that works for you, and how we support you throughout the process. Our recruiters are here to assist you in finding a new position, securing housing, and more. If you have questions, contact us today!

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