Why you should Care about the Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC)
After passing boards, a nurses’ license is state specific whether it’s a licensed practical nurse (LPN or LVN) or a registered nurse (RN). Minus a handful of exceptions such as federal facilities, you are only allowed to work in the state you received your license. For example, a licensed Texas nurse couldn't work in Oklahoma without first applying to the Oklahoma Board of Nursing. It can be a hassle to apply to another state, pay their fees while keeping tabs on that states requirement for licensure. For those that don’t know those requirements can vary significantly from state to state. For anyone with aspirations to be a travel nurse you can see how this can quickly become untenable. This is where the enhanced nurse licensure compact (eNLC) comes into play.
What is the enhanced nurse licensure compact (eNLC)
The enhanced nurse licensure compact (eNLC) is a legislative move that allows a group of states to “band together” and give nurses greater boundaries to practice without as much “red-tape”. Nurses in the enhanced nurse licensure compact (eNLC) states can apply for a multi-state nurse license that is valid in any of the other states involved in the eNLC. Meaning one multi-state license will give you the ability to practice in the compact member states. As of the time of this writing, there are currently 26 states within the eNLC:
As a side note, it's important to add that the original compact was called the nurse licensure compact (NLC). The original compact was started in 2000. It is being replaced by the enhanced nurse licensure compact (eNLC) which is an updated version effective starting January 19, 2018. Most of the states in the NLC are expected to adopt the eNLC. If you are eager to learn more about it, check out the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.
• New Hampshire
• North Carolina
• North Dakota
• South Carolina
• South Dakota
• West Virginia
Depending on what state you are in when you apply for the enhanced nurse licensure compact (eNLC) you might have to fulfill extra/different requirements to qualify for the multi-state licensure. You may ask, “Why should I care about a multi-state licensure?”. Well here are 3 reasons why I believe you should care.
1. eNLC gives greater flexibility
Whether it’s getting married or family circumstances that necessitate a move the enhanced nurse licensure compact (eNLC) gives you the ability to speed up that process. You never know when life might force you to move, or when opportunities arise. A multi-state license afforded by the eNLC opens those doors. If the process turns out to be as seamless as it's supposed to be having a multi-state license could become the unofficial standard.
2. eNLC allows new opportunities
Options are always important to have. Telemedicine and travel nursing are a few of the options that are made easier because of the eNLC. According to Huffington Post and Business Insider telemedicine has been growing in the US and for the foreseeable future, it is supposed to keep growing. I believe telemedicine will continue to play more of an important role as shortages for healthcare providers continue to grow.
In addition, I have heard travel nurses voice frustration when they must acquire and maintain different state licenses. I don’t know about you, but I like to simplify my life and the eNLC simplifies this process. For the travel nurse, it would be easier to jump from one assignment to the next without state license restrictions for the 26 enhanced nurse licensure compact (eNLC) states.
3. eNLC = greater earning potential
The increased flexibility coupled with the increase in options and opportunities can only mean good things for your wallet. You will have more ways to leverage yourself and your skillset.
Is your state part of the Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC), if so do you plan to apply for a multi-state license?
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