CHICAGO – Arkansas has joined Arizona, Florida, Idaho, Missouri, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, Utah and Wyoming as a member of the eNLC. Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed the bill March 13, 2017.
Allowing nurses to have mobility across state borders, the eNLC increases access to care while maintaining public protection. The eNLC, which is an updated version of the current NLC, allows for registered nurses (RNs) and licensed practical/vocational nurses (LPN/VNs) to have one multistate license, with the ability to practice in both their home state and other NLC states. The eNLC will come into effect the sooner of 26 states enacting the eNLC or Dec. 31, 2018. All states, including those participating in the existing NLC, must introduce legislation in the coming years to enter into the enhanced NLC.
“Arkansas was the first state to enact the eNLC in 2017. The 91st General Assembly was very supportive of the eNLC and passed the bill without opposition. The legislators understood the value of the compact to Arkansas nurses, employers and citizens. Being a member of the compact removes barriers to cross-border practice while continuing to maintain public safety,” comments Sue A. Tedford, MNSc, APRN, executive director, Arkansas State Board of Nursing.
Patient safety being of paramount importance led to the addition of new features found in the provisions of the legislation of the eNLC. Licensing standards are aligned in eNLC states so all nurses applying for a multistate license are required to meet the same standards, which include a federal and state criminal background check that will be conducted for all applicants applying for multistate licensure.
The eNLC enables nurses to provide telehealth nursing services to patients located across the country without having to obtain additional licenses. In the event of a disaster, nurses from multiple states can easily respond to supply vital services. Additionally, almost every nurse, including primary care nurses, case managers, transport nurses, school and hospice nurses, among many others, needs to routinely cross state boundaries to provide the public with access to nursing services, and a multistate license facilitates this process.
Boards of nursing (BONs) were the first health care provider regulatory bodies to develop a model for interstate practice with the original adoption of the NLC in 1997 and its implementation in 2000. While other health care provider regulatory bodies are just getting started in this process, the NLC has been operational and successful for more than 15 years.
Founded March 15, 1978, as an independent not-for-profit organization, NCSBN was created to lessen the burdens of state governments and bring together BONs to act and counsel together on matters of common interest. NCSBN’s membership is comprised of the BONs in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and four U.S. territories — American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands and the Virgin Islands. There are also 27 associate members that are either nursing regulatory bodies or empowered regulatory authorities from other countries or territories.
NCSBN Member Boards protect the public by ensuring that safe and competent nursing care is provided by licensed nurses. These BONs regulate more than 4.5 million licensed nurses.
Mission: NCSBN provides education, service and research through collaborative leadership to promote evidence-based regulatory excellence for patient safety and public protection.
The statements and opinions expressed are those of NCSBN and not the individual member state or territorial boards of nursing.