Myths Surrounding the Nurse Licensure Compact

Myths Surrounding the Nurse Licensure Compact
Director of Credentialing Programs

The rules surrounding the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) and how it applies to the day to day roles of nurse employers and administrators can be quite confusing. Some questions for someone new to a nurse employment role may include the following:

  • Which states are considered compact states under the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) legislation?
  • When is a licensed nurse required to obtain an in-state license when moving from another Compact State?
  • How many valid licenses can a nurse hold?

These are just a few of the questions we are asked by our clients who utilize our healthcare license management product, LicenseManager Pro. In our daily operations, we have experienced some interesting situations related to the NLC. Don't get me wrong. I think the NLC serves a great purpose, and I look forward to additional states getting on board. Twenty-four states are already NLC members, and legislation is currently pending in six additional states. Through the years, we've created reports, attestation forms and internal processes to assist our clients with the management of nurses who hold multi-state licenses. A clear understanding of the rules and guidelines of the NLC will help everyone from the Nurse, to the HR recruiter, to the Nurse Manager, ensure license compliance.

I've listed a couple of the myths below to clarify some common misconceptions:

Myth: A nurse who holds a license from a neighboring state can work in my state with his/her out of state license.

Fact: Just because the nurse has a license in a neighboring state does not mean s/he can work in your state with the same license. The neighboring state must also be a member state of the NLC. For example, a nurse with a Louisiana license can't work in Texas using the Louisiana license. Louisiana is not a part of the NLC.

Myth: My facility is located in a Compact State. A nurse who holds an out of state compact license must obtain an in-state license within thirty days of his/her employment at my facility.

Fact: According to the NLC Fact Sheet - What Nurse Employers Need to Know, "If the licensee begins employment before changing the primary state of residency, the 30 days begins upon the date the licensee establishes a new primary state of residency." The FAQ section of the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) website provides examples of establishing a new primary state of residency that include: obtaining a driver's license, voting, registering to vote and filing federal taxes with an address in that state.

Did you know that the NLC also applies to LPN-licensed practical nurses, as well@f7 I encourage you to review the resources and information found on the website of the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) via the links listed below.

PreCheck Background Screening Resource Kit

References:

https://www.ncsbn.org/nlc.htm
https://www.ncsbn.org/2010_NLCA_factsheet_Employers_FINAL_2.pdf

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