Renewing a compact nursing license remains one of the challenges many per-diem nurses face. Although the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) was created to simplify the process for nurses working in multiple states, it can lead to confusion. If your nursing license is in one state, how do you know what you need to do to retain your NCL in another state? The answers to these questions require a bit of patience, so let’s dig into what it takes to maintain your compact license.
1. Know Your State of Residency.
The NLC allows licensed nurses to practice in other NLC states, including physically, telephonically or electronically practicing nursing. In other words, nurses taking short-term assignments in any media, including telemedicine, can have the legal protections afforded by the NLC. However, the first step to renewing your compact license is simple; you need to understand your state of residency.
To meet state residency, you must fall under one of the following criteria:
- Maintaining a driver’s license in the state.
- Voting or registering to vote in the state.
- Filing federal taxes in the state.
Owning property in a state does not qualify as proof of residency, nor does any form non-government issued proof of residency traditionally accepted by some organizations, like utility bills.
2. Follow the Renewal Guidelines for Your State of Residency.
Every state’s Board of Nursing (BON), including those within the NLC, have different requirements for renewing your nursing license. If you do not know your state’s BON contact information, it is available online through the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN).
Those living in NLC states will automatically renew their NLC licensure through their state boards and no additional information is required. A full list of NLC member states is available online, and you can look up your nursing license online to determine if you are in an NLC state via the NCSBN too. However, individuals with a noncompact state of residency must take a few other steps.
3. Applying for Licensure in a Compact State With Noncompact State of Residency.
To obtain an NLC, a nurse must have a state of residency within one of the NLC states. However, nurses may apply for a license in a compact state, but it is limited to that individual state.
For example, a nurse in Oklahoma may apply for a Texas license. However, that license does not automatically become an NLC.
In addition, the same person would have to apply for an additional license to work in Louisiana, another non-NLC state. As a result, anyone working in a noncompact state with a license to practice in an individual compact state must follow the renewal guidelines for the individual state.
In the example, the nurse from Oklahoma would have to renew the Texas license prior to its expiration under the Texas Board of Nursing requirements.
4. What About the Enhanced NLC?
The enhanced NLC (eNLC) is a nationwide effort to bring all U.S. states into the NLC. The effective date for the eNLC is December 31, 2018, meaning that your state could suddenly become a compact state in 2019 or 2020. Of course, this depends on when the Interstate Commission is formed and sets an implementation date.
Essentially, nurses renewing their licenses in noncompact states in 2017 should pay close attention to when the implementation date is set in 2019. Once implemented, any nurse in the eNLC will be able to immediately begin working in another state regardless of its previous NLC designation.
For nurses living in compact states, the eNLC will not bring a major change to renewal processes. Instead, it will open the doors immediately to working in previous non-NLC states without applying for licensure. All nurses with an existing NLC will be grandfathered into the eNLC, provided they meet requirements for a multistate license.
These requirements include meeting home state requirements, graduating from a board-approved program, passing an English proficiency exam, passing the NCLEX, holding an active license, not having any felony convictions or misdemeanor convictions related to nursing, not in an alternative program and having a valid Social Security Number.
Embark on Your Exciting, Changing Nursing Career Now.
There you have it. If you want to work in another compact state and you currently live in one, you only need to keep your license active to keep working, and hopefully, you will be able to enjoy the freedom of working anywhere in the U.S. once the eNLC is implemented.