Nurse licensure: What you need to know about eNLC

Author: Team FlexCare
nurse licensure compact

Updated Dec. 13, 2017--Change can be a challenge, but when it comes to your own licensing, it's critical that you embrace change and stay up-to-date on legislation that could impact how or where you practice nursing. If you currently hold a multistate license or you've been thinking about traveling, it's time to pay attention because there are new states, which provides more opportunities for travel, but not every NLC state has passed new legislation to adopt the enhanced licensing.

The Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC), first signed into law in 2000, has allowed nurses who hold a specific multistate license to practice in any NLC state. However, in 2017, NLC was enhanced and these changes are now scheduled for implementation on Jan. 19, 2018. The good news is that FL, GA, OK, WV, and WY are new states that have adopted eNLC. If you are a nurse in one of these states, you can now apply for a multistate license and start your travel adventure! If your primary state of residence has adopted the eNLC and you currently hold your state’s NLC multistate license, you do not have to do anything if your license was obtained before July 20, 2017. The not-so-good news is that not every NLC state has passed legislation that would make them part of eNLC. 

What's the difference between the NLC and the eNLC? Basically, the eNLC states have adopted 11 uniform licensure requirements (ULRs) for an applicant to obtain a multistate license. One added and important requirement is federal and state fingerprint-based criminal background checks. 

I currently hold a multistate license. What happens with my current license? Your current license will be grandfathered into the eNLC if the following criteria is met (source:

  • Are a resident of an original NLC state that has enacted the enhanced NLC. 
  • Held an original NLC multistate license on July 20, 2017.
  • Have not had a disqualifying event since July 20, 2017, which would nullify the grandfathering. Examples of disqualifying events include but are not limited to: 
    • Changing primary state of residence to another state. 
    • Allowing the license to lapse. 
    • Being convicted of any felony. 
    • Being convicted of a misdemeanor related to the practice of nursing whereby the conviction is determined to be a disqualifying event by the board of nursing.
    • Having a license disciplined and placed probation or with any practice restrictions.
    • Current enrollment in an alternative program.

What states are impacted? If your primary state of residence is CO, NM, or RI, (Update: WI governor signed the eNLC bill into law on December 11, 2017) , the impact depends on whether your primary state of residence enacts the enhanced NLC by the implementation date of Jan. 19, 2018. If it does, and all other requirements apply (see above), then you will be grandfathered in. If it does not, you will need a single state license to practice in an enhanced NLC state. For example, you are a resident of CO and practice in AZ. If CO enacts the enhanced NLC, then CO and AZ are in the same compact and you can practice in any enhanced NLC state. This assumes that either you were grandfathered into enhanced NLC or if you applied after July 20, 2017, you were reviewed according to the enhanced NLC requirements and were issued the enhanced NLC multistate license. 

For nurses whose primary residence is in one of the new eNLC states of FL, GA, OK, WV, and WY (not part of the original NLC), you will need to apply for a multistate license. It is not automatically granted in those states. 

If you currently hold a multistate license, it’s always best to check with your state to ensure that there is no impact to your license.

When can I apply for an eNLC license? States adopting eNLC will begin accepting applications for multistate licenses no later than Jan. 19, 2018. They can be accessed through your home state's board of nursing (BON) website.

How do I stay informed about the changes? One of the best resources for updates regarding the new multistate license is the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) eNLC Implementation web page or your own state BON.

Questions? Connect with a FlexCare recruiter today at 866-564-3589!