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Can a nurse who completes an FNP program and passes a state board in one state get work in a state that doesn't recognize the school's program?

Thursday October 17, 2013
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Dear Donna,

Online FNP schools and some brick and mortar schools are now offering new MSN/NP courses. However, only about half of the states recognize these courses/programs. I have heard it is not recommended to apply to and complete such a program unless you plan to work in that state. My question is, how can an employer or state board of nursing not recognize your degree if you pass a national board (NP)? If I pass the boards while living in Virginia, but then move to a state that doesn't recognize the program, will the state board of nursing ignore which school where the degree was achieved, or will they just see if you are licensed as an NP?

Wants to Be an NP

Dear Donna replies:

Dear Wants to Be an NP,

For your question, I consulted a nurse attorney who is also a nurse practitioner. She says that in many states, in order for an NP to receive the go-ahead to practice, the BON must approve the program the NP went to.

Part of the BON committee work is evaluating programs and deciding who gets this approval. This requirement is in statute, regulation or rule. She adds that she has not heard of an NP who practiced for years in, say, Virginia and then moved to Maryland and was told he or she couldn't practice, though she supposes it could happen. If it did, she would suggest that the NP appeal that decision.

Since each state has individual licensing/practice laws for NPs, I suggest that you check with your state chapter of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners for further information (http://www.aanp.org/legislation-regulation/state-practice-environment).

Best wishes,


Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, well-known career guru, is Nurse.com’s “Dear Donna” and author of “Your First Year as a Nurse: Making the Transition from Total Novice to Successful Professional” and “The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses: Practical Advice for Thriving at Every Stage of Your Career.” Information about the books is available at www.Nurse.com/CE/7010 and www.Nurse.com/CE/7250, respectively. To ask Donna your question, go to www.Nurse.com/Asktheexperts/Deardonna. Find a “Dear Donna” seminar near you: Call 800-866-0919 or visit http://www. Nurse.com/Events.