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I'm a home health nurse. One of my patients would like me to go with her when she travels to another state for an overnight visit. The problem is, I'm not licensed in that state, nor in the state we'd be crossing through. Can I practice nursing in a state where I'm not licensed, if I'm traveling with a patient? What legal risk would I run if my patient were harmed while in my care on this trip?-W.M., R.I.
You can't practice nursing in a state where you aren't licensed. So, unless the state in which you're licensed has an interstate compact on nurse licensure with the states you'd enter on this trip, don't go. If your patient required nursing care on the trip, you could be found guilty of practicing nursing without alicense in that state. You might face other charges based on state laws you don't even know about.
Also, consider your patient's safety. If her condition worsened during the trip, who would you call for backup? A better solution would be for you or her family to get support from a home health agency in the state she's traveling to.
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