The Nurse Licensure Compact is a multi-state licensure model that allows nurses to practice across 41 U.S. states and territories without obtaining additional, state-specific licenses. While discussion around participation in the NLC has been ongoing, as of 2023, Oregon is not part of the compact agreement. Both sides of the conversation offer valid arguments in support of and against the NLC.
To help further the discussion, the Oregon Center for Nursing (OCN) has compiled bipartisan resources to help groups on both sides become more educated on the NLC and its potential impact on the state’s nursing workforce. These resources were designed in collaboration with an independent volunteer task force hosted by OCN in 2023.
Frequently Asked Questions in Oregon about the Nurse Licensure Compact
- Enabling nurses to practice in-person or provide telenursing services to patients located across the country without having to obtain additional licenses.
- Allowing nurses to quickly cross state borders and provide vital services in the event of a disaster.
- Facilitating telenursing and online nursing education.
- Making practicing across state borders affordable and convenient.
- Quickly onboard staff. In October 2023, the OSBN reported the average processing time for an RN license is approximately 30 days from receipt of a complete application (Self-Reported by OSBN).
- Reduce the cost of licenses for employees who need to practice in multiple states.
Sources: “Take Action.” NURSECOMPACT, https://www.nursecompact.com/take-action.page. Accessed 2 Nov. 2023.
Upon a state's successful passage of legislation enabling its participation in the NLC, the Oregon State Board of Nursing (OSBN) will be responsible for executing various operational adjustments, including, but not limited to:
- Formulating a fee structure to accommodate both single-state and multistate licenses.
- Modifying the licensing application process to incorporate a multistate licensure option.
- Providing training for staff to evaluate applicants' eligibility for multistate licensure.
- Crafting strategies for conducting inquiries into instances of unprofessional conduct by nurses, facilitating the exchange of information with other jurisdictions, and enforcing appropriate sanctions on a nurse's practice privileges.
Source: Nurse Licensure Compacts before, during, and after COVID.” Brookings, https://www.brookings.edu/articles/nurse-licensure-compacts-before-during-and-after-covid/. Accessed 2 Nov. 2023.
However, it's important to note that other studies have demonstrated that there may be no significant movement of nurses when the NLC is adopted. The actual outcome will depend on numerous factors, including the specific dynamics of Oregon's healthcare labor market, the preferences of nurses, and other contextual variables. Therefore, while the NLC has the potential to enhance nurse mobility, the precise number of nurses it will attract to Oregon remains uncertain.
Source: Shakya, Shishir, et al. “Nurse Licensure Compact and Mobility.” Journal of Labor Research, vol. 43, no. 2, 2022, pp. 260–74, https://doi.org/10.1007/s12122-022-09333-2. Source: DePasquale, C., & Stange, K. (2016). Labor supply effects of occupational regulation: Evidence from the nurse licensure compact (No. w22344). Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research.
Source: Multistate License | WA Board of Nursing. https://nursing.wa.gov/licensing/multistate-license. Accessed 2 Nov. 2023.
In addition, military spouses working as nurses have the flexibility to choose or change their primary state of residency. If a military spouse working as a nurse maintains their legal residency in a state that is part of the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) and holds a multistate license, but their military family is stationed in another NLC state or territory, that nurse can work under their home state's multistate license. This does not require the military spouse to acquire an additional license in the new state.
“States, such as Texas, allow a state licensing agency to revoke the license of a physician who performs an abortion and has articulated broad jurisdiction over conduct that may be criminally prosecuted in the state. These types of state laws could criminalize licensees or other individuals who assist a patient in obtaining an abortion in a state where abortion is legal. It is possible that state licensing agencies where abortion is illegal could pursue disciplinary action against a provider who is licensed in multiple states if that provider performs a legal abortion in another state.”
Only the state where a nurse got their multistate license ("home state") can officially punish the nurse's license if they do something wrong. There are guidelines for what to do if the nurse acts unprofessionally both in their home state and the other state. However, there are currently no guidelines for if a nurse participates in a health procedure that is legal in the nurse’s remote state but not the home state.
Source: What Abortion Providers Should Consider After Dobbs Ruling. https://www.natlawreview.com/article/three-considerations-health-care-providers-after-dobbs-decision. Accessed 2 Nov. 2023.
Source: Boehning, Annie P., and Lisa M. Haddad. “Nursing Practice Act.” StatPearls, StatPearls Publishing, 2023, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK559012/.
Source: Section 678.031 - Application of ORS 678.010 to 678.410, ORS § 678.031 | Casetext Search + Citator. https://casetext.com/statute/oregon-revised-statutes/title-52-occupations-and-professions/chapter-678-nurses-long-term-care-administrators/professional-nurses/generally/section-678031-application-of-ors-678010-to-678410. Accessed 2 Nov. 2023.
Submit Your NLC Questions
What questions do you have about the Nurse Licensure Compact and how it can impact or serve nursing professions in Oregon? Submit your question(s) using the form on this page. OCN will incorporate all applicable community-submitted questions into a future version of our FAQ documentation.