Arizona and the Nurse Licensure Compact | Nursing License
In Arizona, nurses can get a nursing license that’s good for practicing nursing in other states. It can be beneficial as it allows for more job opportunities for the individual.
The Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) allows for the recognition of nursing licenses between the states who are members of this compact in the United States. The NLC will enable nurses to practice in more than one state without additional licenses.
Is Arizona a Compact State?
Arizona is indeed a compact state, having joined the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) in July 2018. Being a compact state enables nurses who hold a multi-state nursing license in Arizona to practice in other NLC member states without needing to obtain additional licenses. This streamlines the licensure process for nurses and promotes increased access to healthcare across state lines. For nurses considering relocating to Arizona or professionals looking to work in multiple states, it’s essential to understand the benefits and requirements associated with the NLC and how being a compact state can impact their nursing career.
Compact Nursing States
Compact nursing states are members of the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC), an agreement that allows nurses with a multistate license to practice across participating states without obtaining additional licenses. This promotes nursing mobility, expands access to healthcare, and supports telehealth services. While the list of compact nursing states continues to evolve, some of the member states include Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Idaho, Indiana, and Iowa, among others. To stay up-to-date on the current list of compact nursing states, it is advisable to visit the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) website, which maintains a comprehensive and regularly updated list of NLC member states.
Primary State of Residence
For a Compact license, a nurse must apply in the state that is their primary residence. The primary state of residence is all about the person’s legal residency status. Their driver’s license, the person’s voter’s card, and federal income tax returns can show this. It does not have to do with whether or not they own property in the state.
When Arizona is the primary residence, and the nurse gets her nursing license, that license will be valid in other states that are members of the Nurse Licensure Compact. If the nurse obtained a nursing license in a state that was not their primary residence, other Compact states would not recognize that license.
Having one license for all the states within the Nurse Licensure Compact (listed below) makes it much easier, less burdensome, and less costly than obtaining single-state licenses in each state where the nurse wants to practice.
Compact License vs Multistate License
A Compact license and a multi-state license are the same things. It can get confusing as people often use the terminology interchangeably.
Length of Time Allowed to Practice in Another State
When a nurse has an Arizona nursing license and wants to practice in another state, there is no time limit for their practice in the other state. As long as their legal residency remains in Arizona, where the license was issued, and they remain in good standing, they can practice as long as they like in the other state.
However, if the nurse takes action which would change the legal residency, they must apply for a new license in their new home state. If the new residency state is on the list as part of NCL, then the nurse would still be able to have a multi-state license.
An example is this: a nurse lives and has a residency in Arizona but goes to practice temporarily in Nebraska. She has been there for five months, and her driver’s license expires. She doesn’t renew her Arizona license but gets a Nebraska driver’s license. She has unwittingly changed her state of residence, even though she doesn’t intend to stay there. Nurses must be careful not to change their state of residency.
Nurse Licensure Compact (NCL) States
Arizona is a Compact State. Note that the licensure requirements in each of the member states are aligned. With this the case, it is assured that all the other states have the same requirements, making for ease of mobility for nursing practice.
This is a list of all NCL states:
- Arizona: Learn more about an Arizona Nursing Board Investigation
- Guam (Guam allows nurses who hold active, unencumbered, multi-state licenses issued by Nurse Licensure Compact member states to practice in Guam under their multi-state licenses.)
- Louisiana (Registered Nurse and Practical Nurse)
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey (New Jersey is allowing nurses who hold active, unencumbered, multi-state licenses issued by Nurse Licensure Compact member states to practice in New Jersey under their multi-state licenses.)
- New Mexico
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Ohio (Law passed and awaiting implementation)
- Pennsylvania (Law passed and awaiting implementation)
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- Vermont (Implementation starting 2/1/2022)
- West Virginia (Registered Nurse and Practical Nurse)
If you have questions about the nurse licensure compact (NLC) or about complications with your nursing license, contact an attorney at Chelle Law today.
Arizona Nursing Board License Renewal
Having a professional license means renewing it regularly. It applies to RNs, LPNs, and other nursing licenses. In the case of nurses, there are strict requirements a nurse must meet and keep track of to keep their license with the Arizona State Board of Nursing.
The most important requirement is remembering renewal dates, as failing to renew on time can have serious consequences.
AZ Nursing License Renewal
APRNs, RNs, and LPNs must apply to renew their license every four years. The sooner a nurse renews their license, the less expensive it is.
For example, a nurse who renews their license on time (by April 1) pays a $160 fee. Should they decide to wait on renewing, or if there is a delay, and they renew by May 1, the fee becomes $210.
Each month there is a lapse in renewing the license. There is an additional late fee of $50. This fee caps out at $200. If the license fails to be renewed by August 1, it will expire.
Once a nurse decides to renew their license, they must include a verified statement with their renewal application. This statement declares whether or not the nurse has been convicted of a felony. If there is a conviction, it must also include the date of discharge from the sentence.
After submitting the above and having it approved for renewal, the nurse will get an active renewal license for the next four years.
Arizona Board Renewal Requirements for LPNs and RNs and more
Of the listed requirements listed for renewal, applicants must only meet one of them. These practice requirements are:
- The nurse must have practiced for 960 hours or more in the last five years.
- Within the past five years, they must have graduated from a nursing program and received a degree.
- In the past five years, they must have completed a refresher course approved by an Arizona Board.
- The practicing individual must have obtained an advanced nursing degree Nursing Assistant License Renewal in the last five years.
Arizona Nursing Board Complaint
If you are a nurse in Arizona, you may have questions about how the Arizona Board of Nursing (AZBN) handles an Arizona Board of Nursing Complaint and investigation. A registered nurse (RN), nurse practitioner (NP), Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNA), Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), or nursing programs may find themselves at the center of a complaint and or investigation of their license or certificate.
Complaints can come from a patient, employer, or even another nurse. While investigations can occur because of a criminal conviction, disciplinary action by another state’s nursing board, or the self-report of a substance abuse problem.
Responding to State of Arizona Complaints and Questions
After receiving a complaint or self-report, a nurse gets an Investigative Questionnaire and notice from the Board requesting additional information and a response to allegations found in the complaint. From here, the AZBON assigns an investigator to the complaint, and they begin to collect evidence.
The documents and evidence collected include the following:
- Patient medical records
- Employment files from the nurses’ employer and business
- Criminal records
- Interviews of people associated with the Board Complaint or nursing program. (These interviewees can include the patient, nursing director, colleagues, etc.)
State Board Complaint Appeal
Once the Arizona Board of Nursing receives all the necessary documents, statements, and evidence, the Board will review the case and vote on a decision. The Board of Nursing members may also close the case or file formal charges.
They will refer the investigation to an administrative hearing if they file formal charges (for instance, due to the denial of a nurse’s application for licensure). They hold the Arizona Nursing Board Appeals and hearing in front of an administrative law judge at the Arizona Office of Administrative Hearings.
Arizona State Board of Nursing Investigation Notice
When a nurse receives a Board of Nursing Investigation Notice, it’s crucial for them to understand the process and how an attorney can help. When the Board of Nursing receives a complaint against a nurse, they will investigate the problem. It allows them to fully determine whether or not they need to discipline the practicing nurse.
Depending on the results of the investigation, the Board can suspend, limit or revoke the nurse’s license or certificate.
Formal Written Notice
After receiving a complaint, the Board of Nursing will send a formal written notice to the nurse, also known as an Arizona Nursing Board Investigation Notice. This notice lets them know their case is under investigation. The notice contains facts the investigator has gathered and the rules or statutes that the nurse possibly violated. The Board wants the nurse to explain why the Board shouldn’t take disciplinary action. After receiving their notice, the nurse should request a hearing within 30 days.
Arizona Board of Nursing Disciplinary Actions
If the Board determines formal disciplinary action is necessary (for instance, failing to report a misdemeanor charge or conviction), it will happen after the completion of an investigation.
It’s the job of the Board to review any complaint alleging a violation within the scope of the Arizona Nurse Practice Act. Thus, at an Arizona Nursing Board meeting, the Board will vote to determine the outcome of each investigation.
The Board (they do not utilize a disciplinary committee) can vote on a non-disciplinary outcome (which is not generally public) or vote to offer the nurse formal discipline, such as:
- CASE DISMISSAL: The Arizona State Board of Nursing may dismiss a case if they determine there wasn’t a violation of the Arizona Nurse Practice Act.
- LETTER OF CONCERN: A letter from the Board expressing concern the nurse’s conduct wasn’t ideal. However, the behavior doesn’t necessarily violate the Nurse Practice Act.
- ADMINISTRATIVE PENALTY: The Board may impose an administrative penalty to nurses of no more than $1,000.
- REVOCATION: If the Board revokes a nurse’s license, the nurse will be unable to practice for a minimum of five years. After the five-year period has ended, the nurse will need to reapply for their license. Should the nurse reapply for their license, they’ll need to demonstrate that the grounds for revocation (substance abuse, mental health problems, criminal convictions, etc.) are no longer an issue.
- VOLUNTARY SURRENDER: The nurse voluntarily gives up their license. The benefit of a voluntary surrender is that the Board is usually willing to reduce the time until a nurse can reapply. Usually, this is between two to 3 years.
- SUSPENSION: Suspension stops the nurse from practicing until the Board of Nursing lifts the suspension.
- PROBATION: The nurse receives an Arizona Nursing Board Probation through a Consent Agreement. The nurse must do certain things (drug testing, work supervision, counseling, continuing education). Alternatively, the nurse must refrain from doing things (unsupervised nursing like home health, working under the Nursing Licensure Compact, using alcohol, etc.).
- DECREE OF CENSURE: A decree of censure is the lowest level of formal discipline. There are no probationary requirements, but they will list the Order on the website for five years.
- CIVIL PENALTY: Similar to a Decree of Censure, the nurse can be fined (up to $1000 per violation). The Civil Penalty is listed for five years as well.
Consultation with Chelle Law
If you’re interested in learning more about our Arizona Nursing Board Complaint services and how to protect your rights, set up a consultation with Chelle Law and our Arizona Nursing Attorney. Reach out to us today.