It’s Easier For Nurses To Work Across State Lines Now. Here’s Why

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One bill flew through the state legislature this session and landed on the governor's desk in just seven days: The Nurse Licensure Compact is an agreement with 26 other states that allows nurses to work in multiple states without an additional license.

Amber Burkhart with the Colorado Hospital Association tells Colorado Matters that the state has been a part of a similar agreement since 2006. The new compact adds additional background checks for new nurses.

“Health care doesn’t stop at state lines,” said Rep. Tracy Kraft-Tharp, an Arvada Democrat who co-sponsored the bill in the House. “It’s absolutely critical that our health-care boundaries are not defined by artificial boundaries like state lines."

The new compact, and the required background checks are having an unintended consequence. The state's Department of Regulatory Agencies said the Colorado Bureau of Investigation still needs FBI approval before the checks can begin. That's left nurses like Jeffrey Edmonds of Denver in limbo.

"Most of us have jobs lined up. And all these positions are pending an actual license as a nurse," Edmonds said. "So it's very frustraiting."

About 3.5 percent of the state's nurses are affected by the delay, which could take more than three months to resolve.