The Nursing Compact Agreement provides certain nurses with the opportunity to practice nursing in states other than their home state. These nurses are able to provide their valuable services to people everywhere. Many nurses dream of practicing in nursing practices in many states across the country. Since nurses can only practice in the state in which they apply for a license, it may be very difficult for them to achieve this dream.
What is the Nursing Compact Agreement?
The Nurse Compact Agreement or Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) is an agreement that allows Licensed Vocational Nurses/Practical Nurses (LVNs/LPNs) and Registered Nurses (RNs) to hold a multi-state license to practice nursing. The original license is in the home state (state of residency), but nurse can practice in other remote states (compact states). Each nurse is subject to the discipline and laws of the practicing state.
For example, North Dakota is a compact state, but Louisiana is not. A nurse that has a compact license in North Dakota could not use that same license to practice nursing in Louisiana; they would have to apply for a separate license to practice nursing in Louisiana. A nurse practicing in North Dakota with a compact license may practice in another compact state such as Colorado. There are currently 25 states that participate in the Nurse Compact Agreement.
Nurses who want to renew their nurse licensure compact must renew in their home state. The home state is the primary state of residency or wherever they vote and pay taxes. They must meet the continuing education requirements to renew their license in their home state—even if they are currently practicing in a another state.
List of Nursing Compact States
The list of nursing compact states is as follows:
- New Mexico
- North Dakota
- South Dakota
- New Hampshire
- Rhode Island
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
- Montana (Starting 10/01/2015)
How the Nursing Compact Agreement Works?
The agreement works by allowing nurses that practice in compact states to receive a multi-state license. They must legally reside in one of the states that participate in the compact agreement. Nurses must declare a compact state as their primary state of residence, and they must be in good standing with their current nursing license. They do not have to complete a separate application to obtain this license.
Only nurses whose primary state is a compact state are eligible for this license. All current, active licenses for compact states become inactive upon receipts of the compact license. Licenses help in non-compact states do remain active as long as nurses continue to meet the requirements to keep them active.
When nurses are ready to practice in another compact state, they do not have to complete a separate application or pay additional fees. These nurses have the privilege to practice in other compact states with no worries. The nurse is responsible for complying with the regulations in the remote state with their multistate licenses. It is very important that nurses declare a compact state as their primary state or they will be issued a license to practice in a single state.
In the event that nurses are under disciplinary action, their privileges under the compact agreements are removed, and they are only allowed to practice in their home state until they are clear.
When it comes to taking the NCLEX exam, nurses can take it in any jurisdiction, but applying for their license is a different thing. They are only allowed to apply for their license in their home state—even if they live in another state. Only in the state of legal residence can nurses apply for their license.
The privilege of participating in the Nurse Compact Agreement is one that many nurses wish to enjoy. This agreement offers nurses the opportunity to help patients in other compact states using just one nursing license.