Multistate-licensed nurses can now practice in Pennsylvania after the state took the first step in implementing the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC). Secretary of the Commonwealth Al Schmidt recently made the announcement in an effort to alleviate the state’s nursing shortage. Pennsylvania joins 40 other states and territories recognizing the NLC as hospitals nationwide continue to struggle with workforce shortages.
“The Shapiro Administration is committed to ensuring that Pennsylvanians can receive top-notch care from licensed, qualified health care professionals,” Schmidt said in a Times Leader article. “By implementing this first phase of Pennsylvania’s engagement in the NLC, we are expanding opportunities for patients and providing hospitals and health systems with access to an approved, vetted group of licensed RNs and LPNs.”
A November 2022 Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania (HAP) study found that RN vacancy rates increased from 20.5 percent to 30.7 percent from 2019 to 2022. Turnover rates for RNs providing direct patient care went from 10.4 percent to 15.3 percent. “This is a critical first step in the full implementation of the Nurse Licensure Compact. The Department of State continues to work diligently with its state and federal partners to satisfy the preconditions necessary to fully implement the NLC,” Schmidt said.
Originally developed in 2000, the NLC is an agreement between states permitting nurses to have one compact state nursing license to practice in multiple states. The NCL was revised in 2018 to the Enhanced Nursing Licensure Compact (eNLC) to include state and federal fingerprint-based criminal background checks. Pennsylvania is now working with federal partners to secure FBO criminal background checks and other technical and regulatory requirements, so the state can issue NLC multistate licenses to Pennsylvania nurses.
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