eNLC, what you should know.

  • career advice
  • February 13, 2018

The new Enhanced Nursing Licensure Compact (eNLC) went into effect on January 19, 2018 on the heels of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. These made it vividly — if painfully — clear just how urgently a new licensing framework was needed.

“In Texas, a compact member state, nurses were able to quickly mobilize and provide relief,” explained Melissa Knybel, RN and vice president of clinical services compliance and quality management for Randstad Healthcare. “But Florida, which was not part of the original NLC, was a different story — they had to initiate emergency measures to get similar relief, which led to delays.”

Beyond ushering in a new era of better, more accessible healthcare, with greater controls to protect patient safety, the eNLC also means exciting new opportunities for nurses. But to take advantage of those opportunities, some nurses will need to take action — and fast.

Unsure what the next steps are for you? Don’t worry. Since the eNLC impacts travel nurses on a state-by-state basis, it’s easy to get confused. In this article, Melissa breaks down key takeaways of the new eNLC, so that you’ll know what to do next — no matter where you live or practice.

latest updates on the program  

Over the winter holidays, more states joined the eNLC — great news for nurses! Here’s where things stand now:

  • Wisconsin, Colorado and New Mexico have joined the eNLC, bringing the total number of eNLC member states to 29. 
  • Eight states — Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Vermont — still have pending legislation to determine whether they will join the eNLC. 
  • Rhode Island is the only original NLC member state that did not enact eNLC legislation (they do have legislation pending) 

news for nurses in the 24 eNLC states that were part of the original NLC  

The new licensure is no sweat for nurses in the 24 eNLC states that were part of the original NLC. All nurses in the following states who hold multi-state licenses issued prior to July 20, 2017 are automatically grandfathered into the new compact.

  • Arizona 
  • Arkansas 
  • Colorado 
  • Delaware 
  • Idaho 
  • Iowa 
  • Kentucky 
  • Maine 
  • Maryland 
  • Mississippi 
  • Missouri 
  • Montana 
  • Nebraska 
  • New Hampshire 
  • New Mexico 
  • North Carolina 
  • North Dakota 
  • South Carolina 
  • South Dakota 
  • Tennessee 
  • Texas 
  • Utah 
  • Virginia 
  • Wisconsin

That means you’re now able to practice in five new states — Wyoming, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Georgia and Florida. However, you’ll no longer be able to travel for work to Rhode Island until Rhode Island passes the enhanced legislation for nurses.

for nurses in the five eNLC states that were not part of the original NLC  

Five states are “new” to the eNLC — in other words, these states have adopted eNLC, but they were not a part of the original compact. They are:

Nurses in these states must take specific actions in order to obtain a multistate license — if that’s you, click on your state above to get complete instructions on how to apply. The process in each state is slightly different, but in general, the application requires that you:

  • pay a processing fee of around $85 
  • submit fingerprints for a federal criminal background check and meet 11 uniform requirements 
  • wait anywhere from 45 to 90 days for your application to be processed

You should check with your state nursing association to know how much time it takes to process applications in your state so that you can plan ahead. In the interim, you’re able to continue working as a nurse in that state (if you are already licensed in that state).

what to do if your state has pending legislation  

There is pending legislation to adopt eNLC in eight states — all except Rhode Island were not party to the original NLC compact. These states, and the relevant bills, are:

  • Illinois (HB 4263) 
  • Kansas (HB 2496) 
  • Massachusetts (SB 1162 and HB 1188) 
  • Michigan (HB 4938) 
  • New Jersey (SB 954 and AB 1597) 
  • New York SB (7579) 
  • Rhode Island (HB 7228) 
  • Vermont (SB 232)

Nurses in these states should feel a strong sense of urgency. It’s vital that both your professional and governmental representatives hear your voice and know where you stand on this important issue. That’s why you should:

  • Write to your governor, state senators and state representatives. Try to get others in your community to do the same, and be sure to reference the appropriate bill in your state. 
  • Contact your state nursing association — they are your ally, and they may not know how nurses in the state actually feel about eNLC. 
  • Take action with the National Council of State Boards of Nursing. Click here to get started.   

what to do if your state does not have pending legislation?

At present, there are 12 states, plus the District of Columbia, that do not have pending legislation for eNLC: Alabama, Alaska, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Louisiana, Minnesota, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Washington. These states were also not a part of the original NLC.

Fortunately, nurses in all of these states can take similar steps to propel eNLC forward and gain access to a wider range of opportunities.

  • First, check out the Nurse Licensure Compact webpage, which has great resources to help you take action. You can also sign-up to receive updates so you can stay informed on the latest developments.  
  • Make your voice heard by writing to your governor, state senators and state representatives. 
  • Contact your state nursing association — they are your ally, and they may not know how nurses in the state actually feel about eNLC.

Just think: How empowering would it be to spark the conversation around eNLC in your state that ultimately leads to change?

After all, there are overwhelming benefits — for patients, businesses and nurses alike — associated with adopting eNLC.

“We’re modernizing healthcare delivery using new technology,” Melissa explains. “That means that we can deliver a wider range of services at a lower cost and reach populations previously cut off from access to high-quality healthcare services through the expanding use of Telemedicine.”

Looking ahead, it’s not so farfetched to believe that a truly national licensure could be in place by the end of 2018. But, Melissa points out, “it won’t happen without your support.”

Randstad has been partnering with nurses, supporting their professional development and driving excellence in healthcare for over 25 years. If you’re interested in a career in travel nursing, we can relocate you nationwide — wherever you want to go. Check out all the exciting travel nursing opportunities that are available today.