A new bill pending in Colorado could change the way the state looks at background checks for registered nurses. Per a report from TheDenverChannel.com, Colorado’s House Finance Committee recently met to discuss joining a multi-state agreement called the Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (or eNLC). The agreement is a coalition of states that lets nurses work across state lines without having to go through additional background checks or licensure processes.
Per coverage, Colorado is already part of the original Nursing Licensure Compact (NLC), which was implemented in 1999. The NLC had the same stated goal as the eNLC: fostering greater interstate flexibility for nurses. However, the legislation did not bring about completely standardized licensure requirements across all the states in the Compact. Instead, states retained “different statutory and rule requirements,” according to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN). Nurses wishing to relocate to new states within the Compact had to complete additional steps to get licensed.
Reports explain that by eliminating unique requirements across associated states, the new Compact brings the United States one step closer to a true standardized nursing licensure process. Once a nurse is licensed, he or she can provide care in any of the states in the Compact without having to obtain a new license.
There are several uniform licensure requirements every nurse in the eNLC must follow to obtain a multi-state license, coverage notes. Every applicant must pass both state and federal fingerprint criminal checks. Any applicants with felony convictions on their records—at the state or federal level—will be disqualified. Candidates are not allowed to have any misdemeanor convictions “related to the practice of nursing.” The NCSBN assures that all misdemeanors will be judged on a case-by-case basis.
The eNLC has officially been active in the United States since July 2017 when the 26th state joined. All nurses that are already a part of the original NLC are grandfathered in with the eNLC, reports confirm. These nurses will not need to go through additional background checks to be a part of the eNLC. In Colorado, there are 86,000 nurses who meet this benchmark. Before these nurses are grandfathered in to the eNLC, the Colorado legislature must vote to join the Compact.
State legislators have already voted once not to join the eNLC, reports note. However, that vote saw the provisions regarding the Compact bundled with an overarching healthcare bill. Many Republican lawmakers voted against that packaged bill because they claimed it overreached. Now that the eNLC will be voted on as a standalone piece of legislation, administrators predict a different outcome.