The Pennsylvania Organization of Nurse Leaders (PONL) Supports Pennsylvania Becoming a Nurse Licensure Compact State

Updated on August 28, 2023


In November, 2019, the PONL Board approved the Position Statement in Support of Pennsylvania Becoming Part of the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) proposed by the PONL Legislation Committee.

“Since the State Boards of Nursing developed and adopted the Nurse Licensure Compact in 2015, it is quickly being adopted nationwide with 34 states already on board,” according to nursing license lawyer Robert Weinberg at Chudnovsky Law. “Even California, which is slow to adopt licensure innovations or cede any control, has introduced SB 1053 which would authorize supporting the NLC in the California Board of Nursing if passed.”

Two million nurses, across the country, currently hold a multistate compact license, through Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) (NCSBN, 2019). Many professional organizations support NLC, including the American Organization for Nurse Leaders (AONL), PONL’s parent group. 

The Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) allows Registered Nurses (RNs) to have one multistate license with the ability to practice in their home state and in other compact states (NCSBN/National Council of State Boards of Nursing, 2019).  As of October 2019, thirty-four (34) states have enacted nursing compact licensure (NCSBN, 2019). 

“The PONL urges our state legislators to allow the Commonwealth to join the thirty-four other Nurse Licensure Compact states,” said Marion Burns Tuck, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FACHE, executive director of the PONL. “Becoming part of the national Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) will reduce time and cost for both RN’s and organizations while simultaneously improving access to safe care.” 

Nurse Licensure Compact Legislation is advanced through state legislatures and signed by the state’s Governor.  Pennsylvania is not currently a licensure compact state, however, PA State Representative Bridget Kosierowski (D, District 114) proposed HB 1888 in fall 2019, and State Senator Lisa Boscola (D, District 18) and several colleagues proposed Senate Bill 655 in spring 2019. Both of these bills, if passed, would allow Pennsylvania to join other licensure compact states. 

Advantages for Pennsylvania Becoming an NLC State

  • Increased access to care for all Pennsylvanians while maintaining public safety and protection.
  • Nurses can practice in other NLC states without the time consuming and costly burdens of obtaining individual licenses in each state where they practice.
  • Health care organizations can hire and onboard more efficiently/quickly across state boundaries, reducing lengthy wait times
  • Hiring organizations can be more competitive
  • Nurses who practice telehealth are able to practice nursing in all other NLC states without additional individual RN licenses
  • Nurse educators are able to teach using distance/online learning without obtaining multiple individual state licenses
  • Professional nurses are able to more swiftly and easily to respond to and provide nursing care in NLC states during disaster situations

PONL feels it is time for Pennsylvania to become a Nurse Licensure Compact State and join the 34 other states.  Registered Nurses will be able to practice in other states without incurring additional expense or delay in providing knowledge, skills, and professional experience during disasters, nursing shortages, telenursing, and online education. 

The enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact Uniform Licensure Requirements (ULRs) developed by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) in 2015 provide more rigor for multistate licensure. The mobility afforded by compact licensure makes it easier for RNs to practice in different states without the burden and delay of obtaining additional state licensure.

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