Updated Map: Enhanced Nursing Licensure Compact (eNLC) Jan. 2018
By Kathleen Colduvell RN, BSN, BA, CBC
The Nursing Licensure Compact (NLC) is an agreement between states that allows nurses to have one license but the ability to practice in other states that are part of the agreement.
Originally developed and implemented in 2000, the NLC is getting a makeover. On January 19, 2018, the new and improved Enhanced Nursing Licensure Compact (eNLC) will be implemented.
The original NLC was first developed in 2000 and by 2015, it had grown to include 25 states. Goals were developed for every state to become a member of the NLC but there was resistance from some states regarding the requirements for licensure.
For example, the NLC did not require applicants to undergo state and federal fingerprint-based criminal background checks, whereas the new eNLC does.
The eNLC will continue to increase access to health care, reduce overall costs to insurance companies, hospitals and individual patients, and support efficient and strong health care delivery. The eNLC became effective on July 20, 2017 which allowed the Interstate Commission of Nurse Licensure Compact Administration to begin drafting appropriate rules and regulations for the new licensure.
In January 2018, the new multistate licenses will begin being issued. New nurses getting their first license in an eNLC state will be able to practice in all the eNLC states. Each eNLC state is responsible to notify nurses by mail of the changes to the license and the process to obtain an enhanced compact license.
What It Means For Nurses
So what does this mean for nurses? Nurses who currently have a NLC will need to ensure that the state of practice is still a part of the new eNLC. If it is, these nurses will be grandfathered into the new program and no additional action will be needed.
If the state of practice is no longer a part of the eNLC, nurses will need to obtain a single state license in order to continue practicing in the state.
Breakdown of the States
Currently, 22 of the original NLC states have enacted the eNLC or have pending legislation. Three states, including Colorado, New Mexico, and Rhode Island, have not developed legislation for the transition. Reports indicate that by 2018 these states will most likely join the eNLC, but dates are not definitive.
The three states that have not joined the eNLC will remain a part of the original NLC and a nurse with this license will only be able to practice in those three specific states vs. the original 25 in the NLC.
Conversely, nurses in the eNLC will no longer be able to practice in these three states. They must obtain single state licenses in order to maintain practice privileges.
Additionally, five other states have become a part of the eNLC as seen below in the maps. These states include Georgia, Florida, Wyoming, West Virginia, and Oklahoma. Nurses in New Jersey and Massachusetts should expect changes to occur in 2018 as legislation will hopefully be passed to join the eNLC.
Here's a comprehensive listing of all states currently impacted by multi-state compact licensing.
Original NLC States
There are 25 states currently participating in the Original NLC.
*States which have transitioned to the eNLC as of January 2018.
Map of States In the Enhanced NLC (Jan. 19, 2018)
Map via NCSBN.org
States New to the eNLC
- West Virginia
States With Pending eNLC Legislation
- Michigan - HB 4938
- New Jersey - SB 103 and AB 3917
NLC States Without Pending Legislation for the eNLC
- Rhode Island
Requirements For ENLC States
The Commission has developed 11 uniform licensure requirements for a multistate license.
- Meets the requirements for licensure in their state of residency
- Has graduated from a board-approved education program OR has graduated from an international education program (approved by the authorized accrediting body in the applicable country and verified by an independent credentials review agency)
- Has passed and English proficiency exam (applies to graduates of an international education program not taught English or if English is not the individual’s native language)
- Has passed an NCLEX-RN or NCLEX-PN Examination or predecessor exam
- Is eligible for or holds an active, unencumbered license
- Has submitted to state and federal fingerprint-based criminal background checks
- Has no state or federal felony convictions
- Has no misdemeanor convictions related to the practice of nursing
- Is not currently a participant in an alternative program
- Is required to self-disclose current participation in an alternative program
- Has a valid United States Social Security number
An applicant must meet each of the aforementioned requirements in order to apply for the eNLC. These requirements are specific only to the eNLC and were developed in hopes that all states would eventually join the eNLC.
The NLC and eNLC are supported by many organizations throughout the country. A few of these include:
- American Association of Colleges of Nurses
- American Association of Poison Control Centers
- Association for Vascular Access
- Commission for Case Manager Certification
- National Governors Association Center for Best Practices
- National League for Nursing
- National Military Family Association
- National Patient Safety Foundation
- Oncology Nursing Society
- U.S. Department of Commerce
Unfortunately, some states and organizations do not support the eNLC. Interestingly, a study conducted in 2014 indicated 70% of nurses were in favor of their state joining the compact license. Major concerns from states unwilling to join the eNLC at this time are:
- Disciplinary actions under the eNLC
- Growth of Telemedicine and telenursing
- Loss of state revenue for new single state licensees
- Privacy of patients
If you reside in any of the states affected, you should stay updated on the latest developments as individual state boards begin the transition.
Here are a few helpful resources: