The Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) allows a nurse to have one multistate license with the ability to practice in the home state and other compact states.

Before the compact was created, nurses had to obtain a separate license for every state where they practiced. This applied to nurses who moved from one state to another; nurses who lived near neighboring states and sought employment across the border; and even nurses who traveled to help during natural disasters in other states. Under the compact, nurses could obtain multistate licenses that allow them to practice physically, telephonically, or electronically in any of the member states without having to obtain a new license in each state. By 2015, 25 states were part of the compact.

On January 19, 2018, the enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) was implemented.  It increases access to care while maintaining public protection at the state level.

Benefits of the NLC:

  • Enables nurses to practice in person or provide telehealth nursing services to patients located across the country without having to obtain additional licenses.
  • Allows nurses to quickly cross state borders and provide vital services in the event of a disaster.
  • Facilitates telenursing and online nursing education.
  • Cost Effective
  • - Nurses do not have to obtain an additional nursing license(s), making practicing across state borders affordable and convenient.

    - The compact removes a burdensome expense not only for nurses, but also organizations that employ nurses and may share the expenditure of multiple licenses.

    The NLC has been operational and successful for more than 15 years.  All the safeguards that are built into the current state licensing process are required before a nurse is issued a multistate license.  The NLC has uniform licensure requirements so that all states can be confident the nurses practicing within the NLC have met a set of minimum requirements, regardless of the home state in which they are licensed.  Less than 1 percent of U.S. nurses ever require discipline by a Board of Nursing (BON); a state government agency that protects the public by standardizing the requirements for nurses to practice.  If discipline is needed, swift action can be taken by the BON regardless of the state where the nurse is licensed or practices. When a nurse is disciplined, the information is placed into the national licensure database,  All states that participate in the enhanced NLC conduct federal criminal background checks to determine eligibility for a multistate license.


    Source: National Council of State Boards of Nursing

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