Understanding the Nurse Licensure Compact


Multi state nurse licensure compact

What if your nursing license would allow you to relocate or work travel nursing jobs in another state nearly as easily as your driver’s license allows you to drive across the state line? This scenario already exists for nurses who have their permanent residency and hold their license in one of the states that are part of the Nurse Licensure Compact.

The current Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) enacted by 25 states provides a multistate license for eligible registered nurses (RNs) and licensed practical nurses/licensed vocational nurses (LPNs/LVNs), allowing them to practice in both their home state and other compact states. (The APRN Compact gives the same rights to advanced practice registered nurses.) Under the NLC agreement, nurses must follow the practice laws and regulations of the state where they are practicing.

The new eNLC: Raising the bar for interstate practice

The boards of nursing were the first health care provider regulatory bodies to develop a model for practicing across state lines. The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) adopted the NLC in 1997, and launched the initiative in 2000.

In 2015, the NLC underwent several revisions to ensure that it reflects best practices and provides for continued high standards of public protection. The changes helped address the growing need for nurse mobility and clarification of the authority to practice for nurses engaged in telenursing or interstate practice, including travel nurses who work temporary jobs in other states.

States interested in joining the compact by passing NLC legislation must introduce the new version adopted by the NCSBN. That version is called the enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact, or eNLC.  

The eNLC was officially enacted on July 20, 2017, when North Carolina became the 26th state to sign the compact’s provisions into law. The implementation date for the new enhanced nurse licensure compact has been set for January 9, 2018. 

READ MORE about the eNLC implementation

The enhanced NLC compact states

The following 26 states have enacted the enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact, as of July 20, 2017:

  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Iowa
  • Kentucky
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • New Hampshire
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Oklahoma
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Wyoming

Who is eligible for a compact nursing license?

According to the NCSBN, you can obtain a compact (multistate) nursing license if you…

1. Legally reside in one of the NLC states. See list, above.

2. Hold an active RN or LPN/LVN nursing license in good standing. (Note: Advance practice nurses are not included in this compact.)

3. Declare a NLC state as your primary state of residency.

4. Meet the licensure requirements in your home state. When working in a remote state (a compact state other than your home state), you will also be held accountable to the nurse practice act of the state where the patient is located or where practice occurs.

License Verification

The eNLC ensures that all pertinent information about a nurse's licensure and discipline is integrated and readily accessible in one location: the Nursys database. Nursys allows people to verify nurse licensure, discipline and practice privileges for RNs and PNs/LVNs licensed in participating jurisdictions, including all states in the NLC.

To Learn More:

To learn more about the original or enhanced interstate compact and how it affects you, visit the NCSBN's Nurse Licensure Compact page.

Questions about nurse licensing in compact and non-compact states? Contact one of our partner travel nursing companies and a recruiter will gladly answer your questions and offer advice.

Find your next nursing job, in your state of choice, with NursingJobs.com.

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