PENNSYLVANIA (WHTM) — Beginning September 5, nurses who hold multistate licenses issued by 40 other states and territories will be able to practice in Pennsylvania.

This is happening amid a severe nursing shortage affecting the state.

Those now allowed to practice in Pennsylvania will include registered nurses (RNs) and licensed practical nurses (LPNs) with multistate licenses issued through the interstate Nurse Licensure Compact.

“The Shapiro Administration is committed to ensuring that Pennsylvanians can receive top-notch care from licensed, qualified health care professionals,” Secretary of the Commonwealth Al Schmidt said. “By implementing this first phase of Pennsylvania’s engagement in the NLC, we are expanding opportunities for patients and providing hospitals and health systems with access to an approved, vetted group of licensed RNs and LPNs.”

The compact, administered by the National Council for State Boards of Nursing  is an agreement among 41 states and territories to recognize nurses licensed by compact members. 

Pennsylvania joined the compact in 2021 with Act 68, which was passed to increase Pennsylvanian patients’ access to in-person and telehealth care.

Sen. Lisa Boscola, the prime sponsor of Act 68, spoke in support of the move.

 “Our hospitals and health care systems need nurses now,” Boscola said. “Allowing nurses who have a compact license from another state to start work without unnecessary bureaucratic hoops to jump through is a great first step. I will continue to work to ensure this compact is fully implemented in Pennsylvania because our nurses deserve the full benefits of being a compact state.”

Allowing these nurses to practice in the Commonwealth is the first step to fully implementing the compact.

To complete the process, Pennsylvania will need to be able to certify to other compact states that Pennsylvania’s State Board of Nursing has performed an FBI criminal background check on Pennsylvania applicants. The step requires FBI authorization which he Department of State has sought is awaiting a response.

“This is a critical first step in the full implementation of the Nurse Licensure Compact. The Department of State continues to work diligently with its state and federal partners to satisfy the preconditions necessary to fully implement the NLC,” Schmidt said. “Once that occurs, Pennsylvania’s State Board of Nursing will be able to issue NLC multistate licenses to Pennsylvania nurses, allowing them to practice in compact member states and territories.”

Other representatives and medical professionals also expressed their support for the implementation.

Rep. Bridget Kosierowski, who is a registered nurse and sponsor for the House bill that led to Act 68 of 2021 said, “While there is still work to do to get to full implementation of the compact, as a nearly 30-year registered nurse, I am very clear about the critical need for increasing the number of nurses in our Commonwealth. I am grateful and excited that the Department of State has taken this positive action that hopefully will not only increase the availability of nurses but will also help to lessen the incredible burden of paperwork the Department has to process.”