Legislation entering New Jersey into the Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC) will allow licensed New Jersey nurses to practice in any state that has also entered into this agreement. The bill (A-1597), sponsored by Assembly Democrats Herb Conaway, Paul Moriarty, Shavonda Sumter, Angela McKnight, Raj Mukherji and Joann Downey, was signed into law Friday.
Prior to this licensure agreement, nurses had to obtain a license from each state in which they intended to practice nursing. This process involved applications, fees and possibly even testing that could make it more complicated for nurses to relocate or treat patients in other states.
“Any individual who worked hard to receive their nursing license shouldn’t be forced to go through a cumbersome and ultimately redundant process any time they have to move,” said Conaway (D-Burlington). “Nurses provide valuable care to many people and needn’t be discouraged or prevented from continuing those services regardless of where they or their patients live.”
The eNLC requires each participating state to use the same set of standards for licensure so that a nurse from one state will have the necessary qualifications to practice in any of the 33 other states that are a part of the compact.
“It’s now easier than ever for our state to promptly provide nurses with employment when they move here,” said Moriarty (D-Camden, Gloucester). “This helps make New Jersey more appealing to talented professionals throughout the country and ensures that none of their services go to waste upon their arrival.”
The compact not only makes it easier for nurses to move to other locations, but also allows them to partake in the remote treatment of patients in other states via telemedicine, while still practicing nursing in their home state.
“In this day and age, modern technology can help patients receive the highest quality of care from medical professionals throughout the country,” said Sumter (D-Bergen, Passaic). “It is important for our legislation to accommodate advancements like telemedicine so that nurses can provide assistance to those in need without worrying about obtaining different licenses each time.”
“Sick patients can’t always travel far away to receive a diagnosis or treatment from practitioners who have specialized knowledge,” said McKnight (D-Hudson). “This compact makes it easier for New Jersey patients to get the help they need and for New Jersey nurses to help patients in any of the other participating states.”
Under the eNLC, each state has a representative on an interstate commission that handles the implementation, administration, and regulation of the compact. Each state also has access to a database of any investigations or penalties against nurses in order to monitor their status and suspend or revoke licenses as necessary.
“From background checks to databases, the information sharing that takes place between eNLC states supports the standardization of nursing guidelines and requirements,” said Mukherji (D-Hudson). “Patients can rest assured that the misconduct of a nurse in one location will not be tolerated in any of the other participating states.”
“More than 30 states have already joined the eNLC – with several more pending – because it just makes sense,” said Downey (D-Monmouth). “The convenience of this beneficial agreement will lead to positive outcomes for both the nurses and patients of New Jersey.”