This post was originally published on Nov. 8, 2017. It has been updated (Jan. 29, 2018) to reflect the signing of Colorado SB 18-027 and New Mexico Senate Bill 1 into law, enacting Colorado and New Mexico as the newest eNLC member states.
In 2015, the Boards of Nursing updated and revised the Nurse Licensure Compact, creating the Enhanced NLC, or eNLC. On Jan. 19, 2018, the eNLC was officially implemented—here’s what you need to know about the changes to compact state licenses.
Who’s In and Who’s Out?
First things first—not every state in the original NLC is on board with the eNLC. If you hold a nursing license in Rhode Island, you can no longer travel to compact states without additional licensure (and vice versa).
When one door closes, however, another opens, and five states that weren’t part of the original NLC have jumped on the eNLC bandwagon. Florida, Georgia, Oklahoma, West Virginia, and Wyoming are eNLC members, and Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Vermont have pending legislation that would allow them to add their names to the list.
Here’s an at-a-glance map of states that have adopted or have pending eNLC legislation.
Have License, Will Travel
If you had a multi-state license under the original NLC compact and your home state has joined the eNLC, you have been grandfathered into the eNLC, meaning you’re good to go—you can travel to and work in any other eNLC state without jumping through additional licensure hoops. For example, if your home state is currently North Carolina and you held a multi-state license under the NLC, you can work in Maryland, West Virginia, or any other state that’s part of the eNLC.
However, if you were to move your permanent residency from North Carolina to Maryland (or any other eNLC state), you’ll need to obtain a license to practice in that state plus meet the Uniform Licensure Requirements (ULR) for a multi-state license (more on that in a bit).
Turning the tables, if you live in Florida (which just entered the eNLC and was not an NLC member) and your New Year’s resolution is to embark on a travel nursing adventure, you’re starting from scratch. If that’s the case, you have to check three proverbial boxes: you must apply through your state Board of Nursing, pay a fee (varies by state), and meet the ULR.
The ULR is a set of 11 requirements that broadly fall into three categories: your qualifications ✅, your track record ✅, and your work eligibility ✅. Included in the qualifications bucket is a suitable education, passing an NCLEX or predecessor exam, English proficiency, and meeting the licensure requirements in your home state. The background qualifications include not having active disciplinary actions on your license, no felony or nursing-related misdemeanor convictions, no current participation in alternative programs, and undergoing fingerprint screening. Work eligibility is simply having a valid Social Security number.
If you live in a state that’s new to the eNLC, you’ll receive a notification from your state Board of Nursing outlining the steps to take in order to begin practicing in other states. Applications should be available online now.
Diving into the Details
It’s important for current travel nurses in NLC-to-eNLC states to know that they’re covered. If, by July 20, 2017, you were licensed in an NLC state that adopted the eNLC framework, then your multi-state license should have rolled over to an eNLC multi-state license on Jan. 19, 2018.
There’s consensus that more states will continue to push legislation to become part of the eNLC. If so, that will open up even more opportunities for travel nurses to see the country, embark on adventures, and create lasting memories.
If you have questions about how your compact state license has been affected by the implementation of the eNLC, contact a travel nurse recruiter at Next Travel Nursing today 👍.