2019 is upon us, and with it, some noteworthy changes to the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC). The most evident update for many nurses will be the expanding reach of a compact license, as Kansas and Louisiana are both set to implement the NLC on July 1.
By holding a current compact license, RNs can practice in their home state and any other NLC member state without having to obtain additional licensure. For example, a nurse whose permanent residence is in Kentucky (an NLC member state) has the ability to practice in Texas, Maine, Florida, or any other NLC member state without having to get a new license in each of those states. Naturally, compact licenses are extremely beneficial to nurses interested in travel RN positions. Currently, 31 U.S. states are members of the Nurse Licensure Compact, with Kansas and Louisiana set to implement the compact within their jurisdiction on July 1. See the full list of member states and non-member states below (as of 1/1/19).
Current NLC States
To obtain a compact license, your permanent residence must be in one of the 31 aforementioned states. If you do not reside in an NLC member state but obtain licensure within one of these states, that license is only valid in that state—it is not recognized as a compact license. For example, if your permanent residence is in California (not a compact state) and you are interested in taking a travel nursing assignment in Texas (an NLC member state), you must obtain a license via the Texas Board of Nursing; this license will only be recognized in Texas, and not in any other NLC member state.
The following 19 states (plus the District of Columbia) are not part of the Nurse Licensure Compact (as of 1/1/19).
States Not Currently Part of NLC
On April 10, 2018, Kansas became the 30th member of the Nurse Licensure Compact with the signing of a bill by Gov. Jeff Colyer. On July 1, 2019, the Nurse Licensure Compact will be implemented in Kansas, meaning any nurse with an existing compact license can practice in the state without having to obtain an additional Kansas license. Likewise, nurses with a permanent residence in Kansas will be able to obtain a compact multi-state license and practice in any NLC member state without having to obtain an additional license in the new state. This exciting move by the Kansas government and Board of Nursing removes many of the licensure hurdles RNs from other states faced when attempting to work in the Sunflower State. Likewise, RNs residing in Kansas will have easy access to countless jobs beyond state lines, opening many opportunities once hidden behind strenuous paperwork and checklists.
From Overland Park to Garden City and everywhere in between, more travel nurses than ever before will have the chance to experience the great hospitality Kansas offers!
Shortly after Kansas’ big news, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards signed legislation recognizing and adopting the Nurse Licensure Compact. The bill, signed May 31, 2018, had received widespread support from Louisiana nurses and healthcare employers. Like Kansas, the NLC will be implemented in Louisiana on July 1, 2019. At that time, nurses who currently have a compact license (with a permanent residence in another state) can begin practicing in Louisiana without the need of additional licensure. Conversely, Louisiana RNs can apply for a multi-state compact license that will allow them to practice in any other NLC member state with ease.
With attractive destinations like New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana is sure to become a hotbed for travel nurses in the near future!
To learn more about compact licenses, visit the the NCSBN website. If you are an experienced RN interested in travel nursing opportunities, visit the Medical Staffing Options job board now. To see all jobs in compact states, select the “Search compact states” check box at the top of the job board.