Evaluation of the Multistate Nursing Licensure Compact

Project Overview

The Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) is an agreement among participating states to mutually recognize one another’s licenses for Registered Nurse, Licensed Practical Nurse, and Licensed Vocational Nurse. Initiated in 2000 when it was passed into law by the first five participating states, the agreement allows nurses to hold a single license and be eligible to practice in the licensing state and all other states participating in the NLC. At the time of this study, 18 states had adopted the NLC with the goal of removing regulatory barriers to increase access to safe nursing care throughout the United States. This project evaluated the effects of the NLC on the states and actively practicing nurses.

As a subcontractor to Gallup, Insight assessed the NLC’s outcomes through:

  • A literature search and synthesis of the history of the NLC, each state’s position on the NLC (including groups of proponents and opponents within the state), progress toward full implementation, and perceived barriers and benefits to participation
  • In-depth, semistructured interviews with NLC administrators in participating states and executive directors of state boards of nursing in nonparticipating states; interviews focused on the state’s actual and perceived barriers to participation, perceived benefits of participation, and perceptions of the NLC’s effectiveness in meeting its goals
  • A survey of 2,000 nurses across the United States to measure nurses’ awareness and knowledge of, attitudes about, and experiences with the NLC and assess preliminary impacts on nurses

Results of this research helped the National Council of State Boards of Nursing develop effective strategies to communicate with states, address state concerns, and recommend ways to reduce barriers to full implementation. The research also helped states share information on implementation challenges and best practices with other states.


Final report, Evaluation of the Nurse Licensure Compact: Report of Findings (June 2006)