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Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact includes Texas, 25 other states

In just about four months, the Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact will take effect here in Texas and 25 other states. The Compact enables nurses to practice in person and by teleconference across state lines if they meet the agreed upon licensure requirements.

A recent news article points out that it was not easy for participating authorities to work out all of the details of nurse licensing standards between the Compact states. The agreement includes federal and state background checks using fingerprint-based data.

Previous media reports indicated that this new era of nurse licensure was kicked off in July when North Carolina's governor signed off on the eNLC. At the time, the executive director of the Texas Board of Nursing and NCSBN President Katherine Thomas said, “We have made great strides in unlocking access to nursing care across the nation and are thrilled to begin this process."

Thomas said the "ultimate goal" is to have all 50 states in the Compact.

For now, Texas is joined by Oklahoma, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming.

In practical terms, the agreement allows a Texas nurse -- registered nurses (RNs) and licensed practical/vocational nurses (LPN/VNs) -- to go to any of the 25 other Compact states and practice without first obtaining a license in that state.

The Austin law firm of Rivas Goldstein LLP represents nurses with licensing concerns or who face disciplinary action by the Texas Board of Nursing.

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