Finding a Job Across State Lines

My wife and I had thought about moving back home to the Philadelphia area for years! When do we go? How? Do we wait for my wife (who is a professor) to find a job first, and then I follow? I’ve heard that as a nurse, you could find a job anywhere. But I was coming from a small city, looking for a job in a big city, during a pandemic…

Now, all that to say, we finally decided to bite the bullet, and I’d just start applying for jobs. I hadn’t even looked into my PA license at the time because I didn’t think I’d hear anything. 

I’d have to say that if you have connections where you’re moving, I’d definitely start there. See if there are people you could send your resume to or someone who can guide you. 

I didn’t know anyone, so I took the following steps:

  1. I went on all the hospital websites and searched. I even would just google “RN cardiology “(my focus), “RN jobs in Philadelphia.” I ended up finding the most success on the hospital websites.
  1. I beefed up my resume, contacted recommenders to give them a heads up, and made sure all my certificates were available at the drop of a hat. 

I ended up hearing from 3 jobs! Two inpatient and one outpatient. One was in a burn ICU, which I interviewed for over the phone but wasn’t interested in. They said there would be a lot of floating to other units, and ultimately, I’m not passionate enough for burn care to do that full time.

The second was in a cardiac ICU. When I did that phone interview, I had asked the nurse manager to speak with some of the nurses on the unit via phone or zoom. I wanted them to know that I recognized in the era of COVID; I’m unable to come to the unit and meet people but that it’s important to me before taking a job. I even said the same to HR. In my opinion, if you’re willing to hire me on one phone call but not allow me to talk to other nurses to ask questions and allow them to meet me, I don’t want to work there. As we all know, meeting potential hires on a shadow interview, you learn a lot quicker if they’ll fit. I wasn’t interested in working for someone who didn’t respect their staff enough to have them involved. 

My third interview with an outpatient cardiology office was more professional. Initial zoom call with the nurse manager and office manager—interviews with two physicians and one of the nurses. I respected the organization of the process. They had thought through how the interview process would go during a pandemic and made it work. 

Once they offered me the job, I took it! I knew I needed a break for the bedside, and given the interviews went well, and I enjoyed each conversation, I felt that would be the healthiest move for me right now. 

My next journey (yes, it’s a journey) was to transfer my license. Now, this is when I learned about compact vs. non-compact states. Neither NY nor PA are compact states, so I had to apply for my licensure “by endorsement,” which basically means that you can only have 1 RN license. So once you get your new license, you have to notify the “old state.” Every state has a different list of criteria and paperwork you have to gather, fingerprints, etc. I recommend googling “how to transfer my license to… fill in the state.” 

If you live in a compact state, you can work in any other compact state without obtaining an additional license. (A list of those states can be found at

Lastly, depending on the state, since Covid-19, nurses can obtain a “temporary license” in designated states. From what I found, those can last you to a year. So in the instance where nurses were crossing state lines to help during the virus’s initial boom, most of these Nurses were practicing under a temporary license. 

You can find an up-to-date list here:

Overall, I’d definitely recommend beginning the process to transfer your license first before applying. I thought it’d take me a long time to get a call, which left me scrambling at the end. Luckily, since licensers were being expedited, I was able to get my PA license within a couple of weeks. 

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  1. Wow Britton THANK YOU for this insightful article! I’m currently in this position as I will be graduating from nursing school in Las Vegas shortly and will start relocating back to Southern CA (where I am originally from). I have used my networking to my advantage (as I have spent many years in the area). I definitely gained multiple pointers reading your article. CONGRATULATIONS on the multiple interviews! How long did it take you in between securing a job and obtaining a paycheck across state lines (as moving is EXPENSIVE).