The Pennsylvania Department of State is pleased to announce that Pennsylvania will take a big step by partially implementing the interstate Nurse Licensure Compact, an agreement among 41 states and U.S. territories and administered by National Council for State Boards of Nursing, that recognizes the practicing privileges for nurses licensed under the compact.
Starting Sept. 5, 2023, registered nurses (RNs) and licensed practical nurses (LPNs) who hold multistate licenses through the compact will be permitted to practice in the commonwealth without obtaining a Pennsylvania license. This step should help ease Pennsylvania’s severe nursing shortage, alleviate burdens on overworked nursing staffs, make conditions safer for both patients and healthcare workers, and increase patients’ access to in-person and telehealth care.
A November 2022 industry survey by The Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania showed vacancy rates of 30% for RNs providing direct care, and it cited a U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration report projecting that, by 2030, demand for LPNs in Pennsylvania will exceed the number of available workers by 27.8%.
The Department of State continues to work diligently with its state and federal partners to satisfy the preconditions necessary to allow the State Board of Nursing to issue multistate licenses to Pennsylvania nurses who want to be able to practice in compact member states.
Among the preconditions we must meet is being able to certify to other compact states that Pennsylvania’s State Board of Nursing has performed an FBI criminal background check on Pennsylvania applicants, a process that requires FBI authorization. The Department of State is actively seeking this authorization and is awaiting a response.
Meanwhile, we are ensuring that Pennsylvania meets other technical and regulatory requirements so that the commonwealth can fully implement the compact as quickly as possible once we receive FBI and statutory approval to access the FBI’s criminal background database.
We will keep you informed of our progress in achieving this crucial second step toward full implementation of the compact.
For answers to frequently asked questions about how the compact affects in-state and out-of-state nurses, as well as Pennsylvania patients, visit the State Board of Nursing’s webpage.