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Multi-state licensing for Pennsylvania nurses

On Behalf of | Apr 1, 2024 | Medical Licensing

Pennsylvania’s status in the multi-state Nurse Licensure Compact is a topic of concern for many Pennsylvania nurses. When implemented, the NLC will allow nurses to have one multistate license, permitting them to practice in their home state and other compact states.

However, Pennsylvania’s participation in the NLC is complex and evolving, causing frustration for many healthcare professionals.

Partial implementation of the NLC

Pennsylvania has partially implemented the NLC. Currently, RNs and LPNs who live in other compact states and hold an active multistate license can practice in Pennsylvania. This partial implementation aims to address the state’s nursing shortage. It also improves access to healthcare services for many patients.

Challenges and barriers

Despite the partial implementation, Pennsylvania still excludes its own nurses from the program. Pennsylvania is not yet able to issue MSLs to its resident nurses, denying them the opportunity to practice in other compact states. This limitation hinders the mobility and flexibility of Pennsylvania nurses in their careers.

Efforts to implement the NLC

Governor Shapiro and Secretary of the Commonwealth Al Schmidt claim that enacting the NLC in Pennsylvania is a priority for them. They blame the delay on the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s refusal to allow Pennsylvania access to its fingerprint database. Officials from the FBI have not indicated when they might allow this permission.

Benefits of full implementation

Full implementation of the NLC in Pennsylvania would benefit nurses, patients and healthcare facilities. Nurses would have increased job opportunities and career mobility. Patients would have access to a broader pool of qualified nurses, especially in rural and underserved areas. Healthcare facilities would benefit from a more efficient and streamlined licensing process.

If Pennsylvania nurses attempt to consult patients in another state, they currently risk losing their professional licenses. However, if nurses must move to other states to find work, the situation will only compound the state’s nursing shortage.