July 24th Marks a Milestone: Washington's Multistate Nurse Licensing
Introducing a groundbreaking development in the world of nursing! Starting July 24th, the state of Washington is opening its doors to nurses with multistate licenses, paving the way for these talented healthcare professionals to begin practicing in the Evergreen State. This exciting news means that nurses from across the nation can now bring their exceptional skills and expertise to Washington, further enhancing the quality of healthcare services available to its residents.
Washington Nurse Licensure Compact Enactment
Nurses with an active and unencumbered multistate license (MSL) can begin practicing in Washington, thanks to Washington's recent enactment of the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC). This made Washington the 40th jurisdiction to enact the NLC. In addition, on the same day, due to the NLC legislation, the Nursing Care Quality Assurance Commission will formally transform into the Washington State Board of Nursing.
Employers hiring nurses who hold MSLs are permitted to verify and report them to the Nursing Commission beginning on July 24. Employers must also prove that these nurses have satisfied the requirement for Suicide Prevention Training. Employers must report newly hired MSL nurses to the Nursing Commission within the first thirty days of employment beginning on September 1, 2023.
Even though the NLC has been passed into law in Washington, there is still a process of implementation that needs to be finished before residents of that state can apply for multistate licenses. Washington residents will be unable to obtain a multistate license until the NLC is completely implemented. The comprehensive implementation strategy for the NLC is currently being mapped out by a task force that has been recently established.
Benefits of Nurse Licensure Compact Enactment in Washington
The compact enables registered nurses (RNs) and licensed practical/vocational nurses (LPN/VNs) to have one multistate license, giving them the ability to practice in person or via telehealth in both their home territory/state and other NLC states in addition to their home territory/state. This is possible because of the compact's streamlined licensing process.
Because of the alignment of licensure requirements in NLC states, all nurses who wish to apply for a multistate license are required to meet the same standards. These standards include the provision of fingerprints for a criminal history check that is conducted at the federal and state levels.
If a nurse has a multistate license, they do not need to obtain additional licenses to provide telehealth nursing services to patients in NLC states. These patients can receive care from the nurse regardless of their location. A multistate license makes it easier for nurses to practice across state lines in various settings where they regularly interact with patients from other states. These settings include primary care, case management, transport, school, and hospice nursing. Additionally, military spouses who move every few years and benefit significantly from having a multistate license are those in the military.
Interstate Commission of Nurse Licensure Compact Administrators (ICNLCA)
Some background information is in order regarding the Interstate Commission of Nurse Licensure Compact Administrators (ICNLCA).
Through the administration of a license that is both nationally recognized and valid across multiple states, the NLC, and the ICNLCA make it easier for nurses to practice across state lines. Maintaining uniform licensure standards among party state boards of nursing is one of the ways that the ICNLCA helps improve nurse mobility and public protection. Other ways include:
- Promoting cooperation and collaboration between party states.
- Facilitating the exchange of data and information between party states.
- Educating stakeholders.
On July 20, 2017, the ICNLCA was officially inaugurated as a joint public agency that functioned in a quasi-governmental capacity and was created by the party states. The elected leadership of the ICNLCA comprises seven individuals, including the Executive Committee.
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