Accountable Healthcare - Understanding the Nurse Licensure Compact in Pennsylvania
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September 14, 2023

Understanding the Nurse Licensure Compact in Pennsylvania

In the ever-evolving world of healthcare, healthcare providers, particularly nurses, play a pivotal role in delivering quality patient care. To ensure the mobility of healthcare professionals, many states have adopted the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC), a significant development that simplifies nursing licensure across state borders. In Pennsylvania, the Department of State oversees the implementation of the Nurse Licensure Compact. In this blog post, we will explore what the NLC is and how it operates in the state of Pennsylvania. As always contact NLC for full implementation dates.

What is the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC)?

The Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) is an agreement among participating states that allows registered nurses (RNs) and licensed practical/vocational nurses (LPNs/LVNs) to practice across state lines without the need for obtaining a separate license in each state. This initiative was designed to promote access to quality healthcare and enhance the mobility of nurses in response to the increasing demand for healthcare services.

How Does the NLC Work in Pennsylvania?

The Pennsylvania Department of State, specifically the Board of Nursing, is responsible for implementing the NLC within the state. Here's how it works:

  1. Eligibility: To practice nursing under the NLC in Pennsylvania, nurses must meet specific eligibility criteria. This includes holding an active, unencumbered license in Pennsylvania or another NLC state as their primary state of residence (PSOR).
  2. Verification of Residency: The nurse's primary state of residence is determined by their declared legal residence, not their work location. Nurses must provide proof of residency, which is typically established through a driver's license or state-issued ID.
  3. Licensure in Multiple States: Once a nurse meets the eligibility criteria and has a primary state of residence in Pennsylvania, they can obtain a multistate license, which grants them the ability to practice in other NLC states.
  4. Practice Across Borders: Nurses with a multistate license can practice in Pennsylvania and any other NLC state without the need to obtain additional licenses. This streamlines the process for nurses who may work in healthcare facilities near state borders or who wish to relocate.
  5. Compliance and Regulation: The Pennsylvania Board of Nursing ensures that nurses practicing under the NLC adhere to state-specific regulations and standards of care.

Benefits of the NLC in Pennsylvania

The Nurse Licensure Compact brings several advantages to nurses and healthcare systems in Pennsylvania:

  1. Increased Access to Care: Patients have better access to nursing care, especially in underserved or rural areas, as nurses can easily cross state borders to provide their services.
  2. Career Mobility: Nurses enjoy increased career opportunities and flexibility, making it easier to pursue travel nursing, telehealth, or relocation without the hassle of applying for multiple licenses.
  3. Reduced Administrative Burden: Healthcare facilities in Pennsylvania benefit from reduced administrative complexities associated with hiring nurses from other NLC states.

Will PA nurses be able to work in other NLC states?

Not yet. Pennsylvania nurses will be able to apply for a multistate license once the compact has been fully implemented.

The Nurse Licensure Compact in Pennsylvania, overseen by the Department of State's Board of Nursing, simplifies the process of nursing licensure and enhances healthcare access for both nurses and patients. By participating in the NLC, Pennsylvania aligns itself with a forward-thinking approach to nursing regulation, supporting the ever-changing needs of healthcare delivery in the 21st century.