Do you know that there are four more states that have recently enacted the Nursing Licensure Compact (NLC) and are awaiting implementation? This will take the total number of states from 29 to 33 that, as an RN holding an active compact license, you are legally able to practice in. Kansas, Indiana, and Louisiana are the newest additions and will enact the compact status effective July 1, 2019. Alabama will enact compact status January 1, 2020.
How do I know if I have an active compact license?
There are a few elements to consider when determining whether your license is actively a multi-state license. First, if you are licensed in a state that is currently a member of the NLC, you need to determine if the multi-state status is applied to all licenses within that state or if you have to apply for the compact status. Even though you live in a state that’s a member of the NLC, do not assume that you carry the multi-state status. Some states apply it to all licenses and others will only add multi-state if it’s applied for directly. You can determine this by looking at your licensure paperwork or by calling the Board of Nursing for your state.
Second, your multi-state status is only active if you reside in that state (Primary State of Residence). For example, if your driver’s license and home address is in Ohio (non-NLC) but you have a Kentucky (active NLC) license, you DO NOT have a valid multi-state license. There are many facilities that will require documentation to prove that you live in the state of your multi-state license as a part of their compliance process.
My state is going compact in July or January – is my license automatically compact?
No. You will need to apply for the compact status to be added to your license. Be prepared. There may be an additional cost and paperwork required for this to be completed. As a member of the NLC, your state is agreeing to the NLC Guidelines on backgrounds, fingerprints, education, etc. and therefore you may be required to provide additional information in order to meet those guidelines. Also, you will not be able to apply for the multi-state status prior to it going into effect. (e.g. your state is enacting the compact status July 1 – you cannot apply until July 1.)
The NLC is a terrific way for states to enhance access to care for patients across the country while maintaining standard requirements for Registered Nurses. This is an evolving and constantly changing enhancement. Find the most up to date information, please visit https://www.ncsbn.org/nurse-licensure-compact.htm or reach out to the Board of Nursing for your state.