Unlocking Freedom: The Compact States in the USA


Chloe’ Sizer | August 3rd, 2023

As a nurse or healthcare professional, you may have heard of the term “compact states” and wondered what it means for your career. The Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC), also known as the Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC), is a groundbreaking agreement that brings ease and flexibility to nursing practice across state lines. If you’re passionate about travel nursing or considering expanding your career options, understanding the compact states in the USA is a game-changer. Let’s delve into this innovative concept and explore how it can unlock freedom in your nursing journey.

1. The Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC):

The Nurse Licensure Compact is a mutual agreement among participating states to recognize each other’s nursing licenses. Under the NLC, a nurse who holds a multistate license in their home state can practice in other compact states without obtaining additional licenses. This streamlines the process for nurses who wish to work in multiple states, making it an appealing option for travel nurses and those seeking career mobility.

2. The Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC):

The Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact is an updated version of the original NLC, implemented in January 2018. The eNLC builds upon the successes of the NLC while incorporating stricter requirements for participation. Nurses seeking to obtain a multistate license under the eNLC must meet specific criteria, including background checks and compliance with state nursing regulations.

3. Benefits of Compact States for Nurses:

For nurses, working in compact states offers a plethora of benefits:

a. Mobility and Flexibility: The compact allows nurses to practice in multiple states without the hassle of obtaining separate licenses. This freedom opens doors to travel nursing opportunities and the ability to respond quickly to workforce demands in different regions.

b. Increased Job Opportunities: Nurses with a multistate license can apply for positions in any compact state, expanding their job opportunities and potentially securing positions in high-demand areas.

c. Consistency in Regulation: The compact states adhere to consistent standards and regulations for nursing practice, promoting a seamless transition between states and ensuring patient safety.

d. Cost and Time Savings: By eliminating the need to obtain multiple licenses, nurses can save both time and money, allowing them to focus on their career and personal growth.

4. Compact States vs. Non-Compact States:

It’s important to note that not all states are part of the Nurse Licensure Compact. As of the writing of this blog, there are currently 34 compact states, and additional states may join in the future. It’s essential for nurses to check the status of their home state and any states they wish to work in to determine whether they are part of the compact.


The Nurse Licensure Compact and its enhanced version have revolutionized nursing practice in the USA, offering unprecedented mobility and flexibility for nurses. For those seeking travel opportunities, career growth, and a seamless transition between states, compact states provide the perfect platform to unlock freedom and expand horizons. As the healthcare landscape continues to evolve, the compact states pave the way for a future of boundless possibilities in the world of nursing. So, if you’re a nurse with a passion for exploration and a desire for a thriving career, embrace the power of the compact states and embark on a journey of endless opportunities.


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