US Virgin Islands Become Second US Territory to Enact Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC)
Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. signed the NLC into law on Dec. 6, 2021, making the U.S Virgin Islands the second territory and the 39th jurisdiction to enact the NLC.
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Director, Marketing & Communications
CHICAGO – Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. signed the NLC into law on Dec. 6, 2021, making the U.S Virgin Islands the second territory and the 39th jurisdiction to enact the NLC. The compact allows registered nurses (RNs) and licensed practical/vocational nurses (LPN/VNs) to have one multistate license, with the ability to practice in person or via telehealth, in both their home territory/state and other NLC states.
Virgin Islands Board of Nurse Licensure Chairperson Tanicia Penn, MSN, RN, commented, “Understanding the complexities and challenges with retaining nurses in the Virgin Islands, we believe that this new and exciting opportunity will positively impact our community, our nursing practice and the health care institutions.”
Although the NLC has been enacted in the Virgin Islands, an implementation process must be completed before its residents will be able to apply for a multistate license and before nurses in other NLC states who hold a multistate license will be able to practice there. The implementation date has not been set. Full implementation may take anywhere from six months to one year. Once an implementation date is determined, it will be posted on the Virgin Islands Board of Nurse Licensure website. Currently nurses in the Virgin Islands cannot obtain a multistate license until implementation is completed. Likewise, nurses in other NLC states with a multistate license may not practice in the Virgin Islands until implementation is complete.
Licensure requirements are aligned in NLC states, so all nurses applying for a multistate license are required to meet those same standards, including submission to a federal and state fingerprint-based criminal background check.
With the multistate license, nurses are able to provide telehealth nursing services to patients located in NLC states without having to obtain additional licenses. A multistate license facilitates cross-border practice for many types of nurses who routinely practice with patients in other states, including primary care nurses, case managers, transport nurses, school and hospice nurses and many others. Further, military spouses who experience moves every few years also benefit greatly from the multistate license.
About the Interstate Commission of Nurse Licensure Compact Administrators (ICNLCA)
The ICNLCA facilitates cross border nursing practice through the implementation of the nationally recognized, multistate license, the NLC. The ICNLCA enhances nurse mobility and public protection through maintaining uniform licensure standards among party state boards of nursing; promoting cooperation and collaboration between party states, facilitating the exchange of data and information between party states; and educating stakeholders. The ICNLCA is a quasi-governmental and joint public agency of the party states created and established on July 20, 2017. The Executive Committee is the seven-member elected leadership of the ICNLCA.
About the NLC
The NLC allows for RNs and LPN/VNs to have one multistate license, with the ability to practice in person or via telehealth in both their home state and other NLC states. There are 39 jurisdictions that are members of the NLC. Licensing standards are aligned in NLC 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 for multistate licensure.
The NLC also 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.
Founded March 15, 1978, as an independent not-for-profit organization, NCSBN was initially created to lessen the burdens of state governments and bring together nursing regulatory bodies (NRBs) to act and counsel together on matters of common interest. It has evolved into one of the leading voices of regulation across the world.
NCSBN’s membership is comprised of the NRBs 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 three exam user members. There are also 27 associate members that are either NRBs or empowered regulatory authorities from other countries or territories.
Mission: NCSBN empowers and supports nursing regulators in their mandate to protect the public.
The statements and opinions expressed are those of NCSBN and not individual members.