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Clinical Corner: Nurse Licensure Compact Changes

"Changes ahead" traffic sign

Prepare yourself for upcoming changes to the Nurse Licensure Compact as it transitions to the Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact!

By Kora Behrens, Clinical Nurse Manager, Medical Solutions

Did you know the first and original Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) was drafted way back in 1998? It was later signed into law in 2000 and 25 states have joined since.

Why have we waited so long to enhance and make the NLC better? Healthcare has changed dramatically since then and the nursing shortage only seems to increase as time goes on. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates there will be more than one million registered nurse openings by 2024 — twice the rate seen in previous shortages. The industry is way overdue on making changes to the NLC so that more nurses can cross state borders resulting in less open nursing positions. The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) has made this change a priority and with this change comes the Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC). Under the new eNLC, nurses will be able to provide care to patients in other eNLC states without having to obtain additional licenses.

As a Traveler, this is very important and impactful to the care that you provide — so listen up, because this may affect your license(s)!

Nurses who hold an original NLC multistate license will be grandfathered into the eNLC. The eNLC implementation date is currently set for January 19, 2018.

That said, it is important to know that while many of the original NLC states have passed legislation enabling them to be a part of the eNLC, not all of them have done so. Currently, there are four states — Colorado, Rhode Island, Wisconsin, and New Mexico — that were a part of the NLC but have not passed legislation to be a part of the eNLC.

There are also several states that were not previously part of the NLC that have passed legislation enabling them to become a part of the eNLC. These NEW states include Florida, Wyoming, Georgia, West Virginia, and Oklahoma.

Additionally, there are several states — Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Michigan, and New Jersey — which currently having pending eNLC legislation. At this time, it’s likely that Rhode Island will not pass legislation in time, and that Colorado and New Mexico will introduce emergency legislation to become part of the eNLC before the January 19, 2018 implementation date. Wisconsin is likely to pass legislation by December 2017, as well.

Now that you know which states are affected with these new changes, how does this effect you?

If you hold a compact license in a state that was in the NLC and is now a part of the eNLC as well, you do not have to do anything. The exception to this rule is if you obtained your perm state compact license on or after July 20, 2017. If this applies to you, then you will be required to meet the new eNLC requirements. Contact your state BON to learn more on what you need to do to meet guidelines.

If you are licensed in a state that was not a part of the original NLC and will become a part of the eNLC then on January 19, 2018, you will automatically have compact privileges in the new eNLC states.

If you are licensed in a state that is a current member of the NLC but will not be a member of the eNLC, then you will lose multistate privileges. However, you will still hold privileges in the states that were a part of the NLC. For example, if you have a multistate license in Rhode Island you will lose multistate privileges but will still hold the NLC compact license that would allow you compact privileges in Colorado, Wisconsin, and New Mexico — if they do not pass legislation to become part of the eNLC. You will need to obtain a single state license to travel in any other state. Some states do not have a process set up for this yet.

Travelers will then lose privileges to practice in the NLC states that have not become part of the eNLC as well. For example, someone who has compact privileges with their Iowa license will still have compact privileges in the eNLC states, however they will lose privileges to practice in Colorado, New Mexico, Wisconsin, and Rhode Island — again, if they do not pass legislation.

The biggest takeaway from these compact changes is the importance of awareness of your licenses and the actions to take moving forward! It’s crucial to stay up to date with any changes to the eNLC and to be proactive with your licenses in these pending states. If you have any questions, contact your Career Consultant or the Medical Solutions Clinical Team and we would be happy to assist you in this process.

We’ve also put together these handy FAQs on the NLC to eNLC transition and will be sure to add any changing or updated information to this page as the transition nears.

First time bonus!

About the Author

Hi, I’m Sarah Wengert, a creative content writer for the amazing Medical Solutions based in Omaha, Nebraska. While I’m not a Travel Nurse, I love to travel and I truly appreciate the hard, important work that nurses do. I’m very happy to represent a company that cares so much about its people. Thanks for reading!