The Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC) has been implemented as of January 19, 2018. This means that any nurse living in an eNLC state can apply for a multistate license and practice in any of the participating states without maintaining individual state licenses. There are currently 29 states opted into the compact but more are expected to follow.
What is the eNLC?
In 1997, Boards of Nursing (BONs) developed the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC), which enabled nurses to have a license in their state of residency and practice in other NLC states. Overseen by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN), the NLC was implemented in 2000 and approved by 24 states by 2010. Then it hit a speed bump.
Among other things, state legislatures wanted a criminal background check on all NLC licensed nurses. So, in 2015, BONs executive officers unveiled the Enhanced Nursing Licensure Compact (eNLC) with 11 uniform licensure agreements including a background check requirement.
By June 20, 2017, 26 states, which was the number of states needed to implement the program, had approved eNLC legislation. Currently, there are 29 member states, and eight more have pending eNLC legislation on their rosters.
The Beginning of a Healthcare Revolution
The eNLC is the first multistate licensing agreement in the healthcare industry that covers the majority of the United States. Nurses living in eNLC states no longer have to pay additional license fees and complete multiple lengthy application processes in order to practice in other eNLC states. They also don’t have to maintain these additional licenses (which requires renewal every two years).
The implementation of eNLC means that nurses living on state borders can easily practice in a neighboring state. Military spouses moving every few years can find a new job more quickly. This new mobility is especially important for traveling nurses who take care of our most vulnerable—home care nurses, hospice nurses, and caseworkers. And in the event of an emergency in an eNLC state, nurses across the country can volunteer their services.
Improved Telemedicine Experiences
One of the most exciting benefits of the eNLC is that it comes right when telemedicine is reaching its stride. For telemedicine to flourish, healthcare providers need the ability to work across state borders, and the implementation of the eNLC is a first big step in that direction.
Patients who don’t live near limited healthcare providers will now have access to the expertise of nurses across the country. Growing telemedicine practices will have a larger network of top quality medical expertise, and patients will in turn have a greater choice of healthcare providers.
As more states adopt eNLC, the healthcare industry will be closer to meeting the growing challenges of a more mobile—both physically and virtually—patient community by expanding job opportunities for nurses and healthcare opportunities for the public.
But this is only the first step. The creation of eNLC and its adoption by the majority of the United States has paved the way for other medical associations to create similar multistate license agreements, so in the coming years, healthcare in the United States will be easier to access and easier to provide.
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