The list of nursing compact states has already grown to a robust 34 states and territories this year. And it’s only going to continue growing, with the potential to add six more states and another territory before 2020 is over. As we enter the final months of a tumultuous year, Massachusetts, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Guam will all consider legislation to join the eNLC.
That’s the acronym for the enhanced Nursing Licensure Compact. Organized by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, the eNLC is designed to let properly qualified and vetted RNs practice more readily across state lines. In the process, it also gives healthcare facilities in its member states access to a much larger pool of workers, and offers many more career opportunities for travel nurses, too.
On July 1, Indiana became the latest state to join the eNLC. In the news release announcement, a commissioner for the Indiana State Board of Nursing praised the compact as a means to “improve both access to care for patients, while simultaneously reducing the regulatory burden on licensees.”
“This is also great news for nurses who already hold a multistate license from another NLC state,” the commissioner added, “because, as of July 1, 2020, they will be able to practice in Indiana, in person or via telehealth.”
What Comes Next?
Will these states act and join the compact before the year is over? If so, chances are good that Covid-19 will have some bearing on their decision. Fueling the need to enable inter-state practice by RNs, the novel coronavirus has revitalized efforts to expand the list of nursing compact states.
In fact, many nursing leaders and professionals are going even further, and calling for nationalized standards across states lines. Doing so, they argue, would eliminate the barriers preventing nurses from practicing across lines. Even better, some advocates say, would be the benefit of applying a single standard for important aspects like accreditation and educational curricula.
An opinion piece published by STAT arguing for this approach points to current emergency measures implemented by many states to “rescind, revise, or waive regulations related to licensing nurses in response to Covid-19.” The success of that effort, they argue, shows that “change is not only possible but can happen swiftly.”
Not everyone agrees. So far, the list of compact states doesn’t extend to the West Coast —though that could change next year, too. Earlier this year, a bill to join the eNLC made some progress in the Senate in Washington State, where legislators wanted an amendment that would require employers to report how many of their nurses practiced with a compact license.
Progress has been building in California, too, where advocates urge the adoption of the compact provides “immediate access to the millions of nurses in the country who hold an active multistate license” in the event of a disaster. That’s good news for travel nurses, and for employers in the Golden State, which, along with Texas, often offers the biggest variety of travel nursing jobs. (Bonus: Texas is a member of the eNLC, too.)
Looking for More Info about the Nurse Licensing Compact?
The eNLC’s list of supporters includes organizations like the National Patient Safety Foundation, Emergency Nurses Association, American Association of Colleges of Nursing, American Academy of Ambulatory Care Medicine, American Association of Occupational Health Nurses (AAOHN) and many others. For general information about the compact, visit nursecompact.com.
Requirements for obtaining a compact license include having a primary residence in a member state and a current license in good standing. You’ll also be asked to pass a federal and state criminal background check. Contact your state nursing board for more details on how to acquire an eNLC license in your state.
Looking for Travel Nursing Jobs?
If you have a nursing compact license or are interested in getting one, and you want to help fight Covid-19 on the coronavirus front lines, we can use your help. Facilities across the country are in need of travel nurses to help them maintain patient care during this difficult time, and we’re doing everything we can to help them meet that need. You can apply here, or check out all of our current travel jobs here.