Journalism in the Public Interest

How To Investigate Nurses

Nurses deliver the bulk of the care in hospitals and nursing facilities, but patients often don’t have a say in the nurses assigned to care for them. Each state has a different process for looking up nurses' licenses and getting disciplinary records, if there are any. Every state has its own licensing agency and most also post information on a national database called Nursys, run by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN). Sometimes nurses are disciplined by one state in which they have a license but not another.

About half of states participate in the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC), which allow nurses to practice in multiple states with one license. When looking up nurses that are part of the compact, search for nurses in the state in which they were initially licensed. Previous reporting from ProPublica has found that the compact enabled problematic nurses to cross state lines and continue practicing.

We compiled the chart below to show you how to look up a nurse's license online and obtain any related disciplinary documents in each state. Unless otherwise noted, disciplinary documents can be accessed through a nurse's license verification page.

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State (click to look up a license) Full disciplinary history online? Participates in multistate licensing? How to contact medical boards Lists of recent board actions