Nurse Compact FAQs
Removing barriers to cross-border practice, the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) is an interstate agreement allowing a nurse to have one license and the privilege to practice in other compact states. Implemented in 2000, the NLC fosters public protection and access to care through the mutual recognition of one state-based license that is enforced locally and recognized nationally. Along with a majority of state nurses associations, hospital associations and health care facilities in every state overwhelmingly support the NLC. The NLC includes important patient safety features such as facilitation of the sharing of licensure, investigative and disciplinary action information among member states.
Since the NLC’s initial launch, advances in technology and an increasingly mobile nursing workforce and patient population have created the need to break down barriers to interstate practice. Access to care has expanded and telehealth has transformed care delivery and erased geographic boundaries. The NLC has the ability to remove the licensure barrier to telehealth practice for more than 4 million nurses.
In 2013, the Florida Board of Nursing and other members of the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) began to discuss what the optimal licensure model would look like and eventually agreed that revising the current NLC (implemented in 25 states between 2000 and 2016) would be in the best interests of all. In March of 2015 revisions were completed and in May 2015 a special assembly of delegates representing all BONs (two from each state) approved the enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC).
The eNLC, allows for registered nurses (RNs) and licensed practical/vocational nurses (LPN/VNs) to have one multistate license, with the privilege to practice in their home state and other eNLC states.
Like the NLC, the eNLC increases access to health care, protects patient safety, reduces costs and supports state-of-the-art health care delivery. It also enhances nurses’ mobility across states and allows nurses to quickly cross state borders when there is a disaster. The eNLC is also cost-effective, since an organization may share the expenditure of multiple licenses nurses can incur by crossing state lines. It also removes multiple and duplicate regulatory requirements, cutting down costs for nurses.
New provisions to the eNLC (as compared to the original NLC) include uniform license requirements (all states have the same licensure requirements) and state authority to obtain and submit criminal background checks.
In order to receive a multistate license in the eNLC, a nurse must meet the home state’s qualifications, graduate from a board of nursing-approved nursing education program, pass the NCLEX-RN® or NCLEX-PN® Exam, have no active discipline on their license, submit to a criminal background check, have no prior state or federal felony convictions and have a valid Social Security number.
While Florida has enacted the eNLC legislation, the eNLC is not yet effective. The effective date for the eNLC is the sooner of twenty-six (26) states enacting the eNLC, or on Dec. 31, 2018. On the effective date, the Interstate Commission is formed and will begin to adopt rules to facilitate the implementation of the eNLC. The actual implementation of the compact by the states occurs six months after the effective date. This is the date on which nurses with eNLC multistate licenses may begin practicing in eNLC states. Continue monitoring the Board’s website for updates regarding the eNLC status.
The states that are part of the eNLC are not exactly the same as the original NLC. If you have an eNLC multistate license, you can only practice in those designated eNLC states. You will need a single state license issued by every other state in which you plan to practice to continue to deliver care in each of those states. Click here to view a map showing up to date eNLC membership information.
Once the eNLC is effective, your nurses will now be able to practice (in person or by telehealth) in other eNLC states with just one license obtained in their state of residence. Faculty and military spouses will just need one license to teach or practice across states in the eNLC. The eNLC is only for registered nurses (RNs) or licensed practical/vocational nurses (LPNs/VNs), not for advanced registered nurse practitioners (ARNPs).