Right now, there is a huge demand for nurses in certain parts of the country due to the onset of COVID-19 Travel nurses and even nurses who have never traveled before are flocking to the frontlines, braving this pandemic, to help sick patients in what are designated as “crisis areas.” As many travel nurses know, a tricky part in getting to assignments quickly is getting the state licensing required. Because this red tape often slows people down or even prevents some nurses from traveling, state government officials are trying to lax the rules at the moment. Here is everything you need to know about the future of the compact license and COVID-19.
6 Things You Need to Know About the Compact License and COVID-19
1. Each state has different rules about the compact license and COVID-19
First, each state has different rules since there is no official federal mandate on emergency protocol for the pandemic. This means that wherever you are traveling to or thinking about traveling to, you should do as much research as possible about the conditions and rules in that state. For example, some states are easing regulations whereas others were never part of the original compact license and therefore are not doing anything differently. You can find information on each state on the National Council of State Boards of Nursing’s website.
2. Do these rules only apply to registered nurses – what about LPNs and CNAs?
The compact license applies to registered nurses and licensed practical nurses. Certified nurse aids also have the opportunity to transfer their license to another state through a process called reciprocity. All three of these license types can travel!
3. No one really knows how long this could go on
Please keep in mind that things are constantly changing, and no one knows how long this will go on. It is very important to double and triple check information as it becomes available. Patients getting sick with COVID-19 will go on for the unforeseeable future. We hope that as things level out across the country, federal organizations and agencies will be able to work together to come up with a permanent plan for travel nurses and COVID-19.
4. Some areas are considered crisis areas
Some parts of the country have a greater need for help than others. States like New York are getting hit hard with COVID-19 cases while other parts of the country, like Wyoming, see minimal illness. For this reason, we’re seeing a high demand for certain nursing specialties in these crisis areas. We’re also seeing agencies bump to higher pay rates for travel nurses.
5. Be sure to ask your recruiter/agency lots of questions
The best thing you can do to protect yourself is to ask your recruiter and the agency you’re working with lots of questions. Make sure that they can give you accurate, fast answers, and double check the answers you get. Unfortunately, there are lots of scams happening right now. Agencies are offering excessively high rates to travel nurses. Yet, when nurses arrive to their assignment, the housing isn’t as promised, and the work conditions are extremely unsafe. If you have the heart to help, do your due diligence and make sure you are not signing a dangerous or faulty contract.
6. Check back here for up-to-date info on traveling during COVID-19
To learn more about the history of the compact license and how it typically works for travel nurses, check out our other blog, “How Does the Compact Nursing License Work?” If you have additional questions about the impact of COVID-19 on the travel nurse industry, we have answers to some general questions here.
BONUS VIDEO! Can You Hold a Nursing License in Multiple States?
Do you have more questions about the compact license and COVID-19? Feel free to drop them in the comments below and we’ll answer the best that we can!
Stay safe, travelers.