Guam Becomes First US Territory to Enact Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC)
CHICAGO – Gov. Lourdes "Lou" Leon Guerrero signed the NLC into law on March 5, 2021, making Guam the first U.S. territory to enact the NLC. The compact allows registered nurses (RNs) and licensed practical/vocational nurses (LPN/VNs) to have one multistate license, with the ability to practice in person or via telehealth, in both their home territory/state and other NLC states. There are currently 35 states that have enacted the NLC.
Guam’s entry into the NLC will enable nurses holding an active, unencumbered multistate license to practice in Guam to assist with the nursing shortage. Residents of Guam will not be able to obtain a multistate license until the NLC is fully implemented in 2022.
Primary sponsor of the bill and long-time champion of the NLC, Sen. Mary Camacho Torres, commented, “Today, Guam joins a growing number of states stepping into the future of nurse licensure. With the enactment of the NLC, nurses from other member states can now come here and practice immediately, increasing our people’s access to safe, quality care without the need to apply and wait for a Guam nursing license or disaster declaration.”
Licensing standards are aligned in NLC states, so all nurses applying for a multistate license are required to meet the same standards, including a federal and state criminal background check that will be conducted for all applicants for multistate licensure.
The NLC also enables nurses to provide telehealth nursing services to patients located across the country without having to obtain additional licenses. In the event of a disaster, nurses from compact states can easily respond to supply vital services. Additionally, almost every nurse, including primary care nurses, case managers, transport nurses, school and hospice nurses, among many others, needs to routinely cross state boundaries to provide the public with access to nursing services, and a multistate license facilitates this process.
Founded March 15, 1978, as an independent not-for-profit organization, NCSBN was initially created to lessen the burdens of state governments and bring together nursing regulatory bodies (NRBs) to act and counsel together on matters of common interest. It has evolved into one of the leading voices of regulation across the world.
NCSBN’s membership is comprised of the NRBs in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and four U.S. territories — American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands and the Virgin Islands. There are three exam user members. There are also 27 associate members that are either NRBs or empowered regulatory authorities from other countries or territories.
Mission: NCSBN empowers and supports nursing regulators in their mandate to protect the public.
The statements and opinions expressed are those of NCSBN and not individual members.