Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC)
As healthcare and technology continue to converge and advance, the need for adjustments to state licensure regulations is changing to allow nurses more flexibility to practice across state lines. This has led to the implementation of the new Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC), which will take place on January 19th, 2018. Let’s look at what this new rule is and how it will impact your nursing license.
The eNLC will allow patients increased access to nursing care while still maintaining protection at the state level to enable a patient to receive care from a nurse in another eNLC state. Under the new enhancement, nurses will have permission by licensure to provide care to a patient in another eNLC state without having to obtain an additional state specific license.
Nurses who already currently reside in a nurse licensure compact state will be grandfathered into the new eNLC. Any new applicants residing in a compact state will be required to meet 11 uniform licensing requirements; those not eligible may still meet single state license requirements. Currently, 31 states have enacted legislation to make the eNLC effective for the implementation date, and some have legislation still pending. The new eNLC replaces the previous nurse licensure compact and adds extra consumer protections.
Let’s take closer look at the 11 uniform licensing agreements, which are required to obtain eNLC licensure if you’re a new applicant in a compact state You must:
- Meet the licensure requirement of your home compact state of residency (where you declare you are residing).
- Graduated board-approved education program; OR graduated from an international education program that was approved by the authorized accrediting body in the applicable country and verified by an independent credentials review agency
- Passed an English proficiency examination if graduated from an international program.
- Passed NCLEX-RN or NCLEX-PN examination
- Be eligible for or hold on active, unencumbered license (without active discipline).
- Submitted to state and federal fingerprint-based criminal background check.
- Have no state or federal felony convictions
- Have no misdemeanor convictions related to the practice of nursing (this is determined on a case-by-case basis)
- Not be currently a participant in an alternative program.
- Self-disclose current participation in an alternative program.
- Have a valid United States Social Security Number.
Nurses cannot practice using the eNLC rules and regulations until after its implementation date in January 2018. The great news is that this new licensure regulation opens doors to many more opportunities for nurses to practice. Having a eNLC saves an individual nurse from the burden of time and cost associated with practicing in other states. Travel nurses in particular will benefit significantly from this enactment.
Previously, some travel nurses would have a long wait period to travel to a non-compact state; although, some non-participating states will still exist, the more states that are added to the eNLC, the greater the benefits to all involved will be. This includes the idea of telehealth across state lines.
Below, shaded in blue are states that participate in the eNLC:
The state not participating, but was part of the original NLC will remain part of the NLC: Rhode Island. This means if you are a nurse that holds a compact license in that state, you will only will able to work there. It’s like having a separate compact licensure act. If you are in one of these states and hold a compact license from another state in the new eNLC, you will have to apply for and get a single state license for any of these states.
If you live in one of the states that is now joining, but was not previously a part of the NLC, you must reapply for a multistate license privilege. You must meet the 11 requirements to have a multi-state license; however, if you do not, you may still be eligible to keep your existing state license.
The criminal background checks will be implemented across the eNLC states, thus making it safer for consumers to feel comfortable that a nurse from Nebraska can safely work for them in Texas, for example.
This not only opens more job opportunities to nurses country-wide, but it allows an ease of patient care and access to nurse providers for consumers. The future of nursing is bright and with this new implementation of eNLC, you can likely travel from one state to the next with confidence that you can practice with less hassle.
Due to current pending legislation, for the most updated information, visit the eNLC website.