Sep 05, 2023
Pennsylvania Joins Nurse Licensure Compact
Beginning September 5, 2023, Pennsylvania will begin allowing registered nurses (RNs) and licensed practical nurses (LPNs) from other states who hold multistate licenses through the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) to practice in the state. There are currently 41 states and US territories participating in the compact, 12 that are pending NLC legislation or have partially implemented the NLC, and 4 that have taken no action to become member states.
Permitting RNs from other states who hold a multistate license (MSL) to work in Pennsylvania is just the first step in implementing the NLC. The second step, which allows Pennsylvania nurses to obtain an MSL through the NLC to work in other compact states and territories, could take longer because certain preconditions must be met. According to the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing website, they must be able to “certify to other compact member states that it has performed an FBI criminal background check on Pennsylvania applicants – a process that requires the state gaining FBI-approved access to its criminal history database for that purpose.”
What is the Nurse Licensure Compact?
The Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) is an agreement among multiple U.S. states and territories that allows registered nurses (RNs) and licensed practical/vocational nurses (LPN/VNs) who live in compact member states to have one nursing license that is valid in all participating states. This compact was created to facilitate nursing practice across state lines, making it easier for nurses to work in multiple states without the need to obtain a separate license for each state.
Key features of the Nurse Licensure Compact include:
- Multistate Licensure: Nurses who hold a nursing license in a state that is part of the NLC can practice in any other NLC state without obtaining an additional license.
- Home State: The nurse’s primary residence or “home state” is where they originally obtained their NLC license. This home state license allows them to practice in other compact states.
- Practice Privileges: Nurses are subject to the nursing practice laws and regulations of the state where the patient is located, known as the “remote state,” while providing care. They must adhere to the laws and regulations of the state where they are practicing.
- Background Checks: States in the NLC share information about nurses’ criminal background checks, making it easier for states to be aware of any potential issues with a nurse’s background.
- Disciplinary Actions: If a nurse’s license is revoked or suspended in one NLC state, it may lead to the loss of their multistate licensure privileges in other compact states.<
- Adoption by States: Participation in the Nurse Licensure Compact is voluntary for states. Not all U.S. states and territories have adopted the NLC, but many have.
It’s important to note that the specific rules and regulations of the Nurse Licensure Compact can vary from state to state, so nurses should familiarize themselves with the licensing laws and requirements of the individual states in which they plan to practice. Additionally, not all nursing roles and specialties may be covered by the compact, so certain specialized nursing roles may still require state-specific licenses.
As the healthcare landscape evolves, nurse licensing and practice regulations may change, so it’s advisable for nurses to stay informed about the current status of the Nurse Licensure Compact and its provisions in the states they are interested in practicing.
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