Health

Nurses working in Indiana will now be able to practice in Kentucky without holding a duplicate license. That’s thanks to a new law signed by Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb last week.

Indiana joins what’s known as a nurse licensure compact shared by 31 other states. In order to practice in a compact-member state, nurses have to successfully complete the application for the multi-state license, undergo a federal background check and complete related tests. Nurses will still have to hold a valid license from their resident state in order to practice across state lines.  

Amelia McClure, the government affairs liaison at hospice and palliative care provider Hosparus Health, said the compact will improve care for patients in Kentucky.

“There’s just simply not enough people,” McClure said. “We’re facing sort of a silver tsunami with the baby boomers easing into the system. And we don’t have enough people trained and ready to go.”

McClure said Hosparus Health will now be able to open a location in Jasper, Indiana. Until now, she said, the company hadn’t been able to find enough nurses in Indiana to fill the positions needed.

“It has nothing to do with not having great people employed, it’s just they’re just not enough people,” McClure said. “And right now we’ll be able to fill out positions that have been open for over a year and a half within their licensure compact being enacted.”

Kentucky is currently the only state bordering Indiana that is a compact-member. Illinois and Michigan have legislation pending that would allow them to join.

Indiana and Kentucky nurses with a multi-state license can begin practicing across state lines on July 1.

Lisa Gillespie is WFPL's Health and Innovation Reporter.