Considering the range of healthcare services that nurses provide today, it’s time that the licensure models reflect this. When it comes to finding the best employment options as a travel nurse, having a dynamic and fluid license is very desirable. Luckily, the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) has been steadily increasing the reach of their Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC), increasing access to care while maintaining public protection at the state level. This compact has already seen major successes in soon to be 30 states and is welcomed by the traveler community for providing increased professional flexibility! Here we’ll discuss some of the benefits of the eNLC:
Recently, I had the chance to interview NLC Director, Jim Puente about the eNLC and some of the ways it’s been beneficial for travel nursing and the healthcare industry in general. Take a listen:
It was interesting to hear how nearly everyone takes advantage of a similar licensure compact for their driver’s license. When you think about how many bad drivers there are just flitting from state to state, the least we can do is make it easy for top nurses to reach more patients and facilities in need! Check out this resource to see just how common sense this really is:
Of course, ensuring that nurses meet all of the necessary requirements is a top priority for everyone working on the eNLC. Currently, 29 states have enacted enhanced NLC legislation, while Kansas’ implementation is still pending. Additionally, 9 states have legislation pending that would bring them into the compact. See the map below for more details:
One of the main series of improvements found in the eNLC compared to the original include more uniformity in terms of the requirements for nurses:
- Meets the requirements for licensure in the home state (state of residency);
- a. Has graduated from a board-approved education program; or b. 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 an English proficiency examination (applies to graduates of an international education program not taught in 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 (i.e., without active discipline);
- 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 (determined on a case-by-case basis);
- Is not currently a participant in an alternative program;
- Is required to self-disclose current participation in an alternative program; and
- Has a valid United States Social Security number.
By accommodating the top standards for nursing throughout the United States, the eNLC is designed to maximize a nurse’s professional flexibility. At the same time, this uniformity for the compact’s requirements ensures that patients in participating states receive the same, optimum standard of care.
It may surprise you, but the original NLC has been successfully operating for more than 15 years already. Considering that all the safeguards for quality care are built into each state’s current licensing processes there’s no reason to worry about nurses being under qualified. In fact, the RNs, LPNs, and VNs with multistate licenses likely have a much greater range of experiences and skills!
Some Main Benefits of the eNLC
The whole concept behind the eNLC is to remove the barriers for nurses working in multiple states. More so, there are several areas where the eNLC can really benefit nurses in particular situations. First, those practicing telehealth have a much easier time providing their services to patients across the country without additional licenses.
Another area of the benefits of the eNLC for nurses comes through the convenience of crossing state borders during a disaster event. Things like mass shootings, serious accidents, or natural disasters usually demand an influx of healthcare professionals. The eNLC is absolutely critical in making it easier for nurses to answer the call of the public in these difficult situations.
Additionally, the eNLC allows nurses to simply work in other facilities within their hospital’s network across state lines. Pretty common sense! Jim pointed out that 9 out of 10 nurses are onboard with the eNLC and those numbers are even higher for employers and agencies looking for the best talent out there. And being the first of its kind in healthcare, many other industries are looking toward the benefits of the eNLC as reasons to model their own licensure compacts.
Overall, the NCSBN is working to accommodate all 50 states and U.S. territories through the eNLC to make things as safe and efficient for nurses and patients as possible!