Rhode Island has officially become the 41st state to join the Nurse Licensure Compact. RI Governor Daniel J McKee signed the NLC agreement on 24 June 2023. At the time of writing, more than 80% of America’s states are now members of the licensure agreement. This is expected to have huge ramifications for HCPs across the country, on all levels. What does this mean for nurses, exactly? How will the NLC change the healthcare labor landscape, as we know it?
What Is the Nurse Licensure Compact?
Before the NLC, licensure for HCPs was not cross-state. If you wanted to pick up a travel nurse job in another state, or you wanted to move, have two options: apply for reciprocity or reapply for a new license altogether.
The Nurse Licensure Compact simplifies the process by providing Registered Nurses (RNs) and Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVNs) with a multistate license that carries over between the states under the NLC. To achieve this, licensure requirements are aligned in such a way that HCPs can meet the standards and requirements for each of the 41 states.
How Will This Affect Hcps in Rhode Island?
Multistate licenses will give Rhode Island HCPs a host of different career opportunities. They can work within Rhode Island, or take up roles in other states. This opens the door for travel nursing, booking shifts with VitaWerks, or taking up positions in prestigious facilities in other areas. Rhode Island HCPs can even take up telehealth jobs hosted in other states, from the comfort of their own homes.
The NLC will also have a positive effect on the current state of the RI workforce. Senator Joshua Miller, who is one of the major supporters of Rhode Island joining the NLC, explained that the compact would “make it easier for cross-state HCPs to accept jobs here” and directly address the ongoing shortage.s
Does the NLC immediately Take Effect?
Although RI has officially joined the NLC, no changes have taken place overnight. The state needs to go through an implementation process to ensure that the state complies with the NLC’s specific standards and requirements. With no date of implementation announced yet, at the time of writing, this is an ongoing process that has to be monitored.
Do Certified Nursing Assistants enjoy the same benefits?
At the time of writing, only RNs and LVNs enjoy multi-state licenses, under the NLC. Nurse aides or certified nursing assistants still have to apply for reciprocity or a new CNA license, outright.
Where Does the NLC Apply?
Along with Rhode Island, there are 39 other states that have joined the NLC:
● New Hampshire
● New Jersey
● New Mexico
● North Carolina
● North Dakota
● Pennsylvania (NLC enacted, but implementation pending)
● South Carolina
● South Dakota
● Virgin Islands (NLC enacted, but implementation pending)
● West Virginia
On the other hand, there are 7 states that are still pending NLC-related legislation:
● New York