Erica Bell, ONA Director of Nursing Practice
The time has come, Ohio. Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) is here and goes into effect on January 2023. The terms multistate license (MSL) and compact license are interchangeable when referencing Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC). Ohio will become the 38th compact state with more states pending NLC legislation. A MSL will allow a nurse to practice in their home state and any other compact state, unless the nurse is under discipline or restriction.
RNs and LPNs can choose to renew their single state nursing license or convert to a new MSL. Converting to a MSL is an option and is not required. The application can be found on the Ohio Board of Nursing website. There will be a one-time conversion fee of $100 to convert to a multistate license with a renewal fee of $75 (Ohio Board of Nursing, 2022c). Your renewal schedule will stay the same.
To apply for a MSL, the applicant must meet the following uniform licensure requirements:
- Meets the requirements for licensure in the home state (state of residency);
- Has graduated from a board-approved education program; or
- Has graduated from an international education program (approved by the authorized accrediting body in the applicable country and verified by an independent credentials review agency);
- Has passed an English proficiency examination (applies to graduates of an international education program not taught in English or if English is not the individual’s native language);
- Has passed an NCLEX-RN® or NCLEX-PN® Examination or predecessor exam;
- Is eligible for or holds an active, unencumbered license (i.e., without active discipline);
- Has submitted to state and federal fingerprint-based criminal background checks;
- Has not been convicted or found guilty, or has entered into an agreed disposition, of a felony offense under applicable state or federal criminal law;
- Has no misdemeanor convictions related to the practice of nursing (determined on a case-by-case basis);
- Is not currently a participant in an alternative program;
- Is required to self-disclose current participation in an alternative program; and
- Has a valid United States Social Security number.
(National Council of State Boards of Nursing, 2022)
The nurse will need to complete an up-to-date state and federal background check. Background checking agencies transmit their information electronically to the Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI). This is done so the information can be compared to other databases to determine if a person has a criminal record. After this has been completed BCI will issue the background report. It is important to remember to request OBN as the Direct Copy Receiver and to use the code ORC 4723.091 as the reason for fingerprinting (Ohio Board of Nursing, 2022c).
A MSL can only be issued in your primary state of residence. After obtaining an MSL, a nurse must know and obey the Nurse Practice Act within the state they are practicing. If a nurse violates any of these laws, the state in which they are practicing can remove the nurse’s privileges in that state (NCSBN, 2019). If the state in which the nurse is practicing takes action (discipline) against the nurse, it is reported to the state that issued the nurse their multistate license (primary state of residence) (NCSBN, 2019). The nurse’s home state can also take the same action as if the nurse had committed the violation in their home state (NCSBN, 2019).
After obtaining a MSL, the continuing education requirements do not change. The RN/LPN will still be required to meet the continuing education requirements for their license in the primary state of residence. ONA’s CE4Nurses Learning Management Site can meet all your needs for your continuing education requirements, including the mandatory education related to Ohio Law and Rules known as Category A.
Employers will be required to provide out of state nurses with a standardized document overviewing the laws and rules for Ohio along with reporting the number of out of state nurses they employee with MSL. Employers are also encouraged to register their nursing workforce in Nursys.com along with enrolling in the Nursys E-Notify updates. When enrolling in the E-Notify updates, employers will be notified of disciplinary action taken on any license a nurse holds in the United States, if discipline occurs. Nursys.com is the only national database for verification of nurse licensure, discipline, and practice privileges (Ohio Board of Nursing, 2022a).
Note: An Ohio APRN license is different from an RN multistate or single license. An Ohio APRN license is valid only in Ohio as a single state license. If you’re an APRN and want to practice in other states, you can either: practice as an RN with a MSL or obtain an APRN license in the state in which you want to practice. Ohio is not an APRN Compact state
For more information regarding the upcoming Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) in Ohio visit the Ohio Board of Nursing website or call the OBN customer service line at 614-466-3947.
National Council of State Boards of Nursing. (2022). Uniform licensure requirements for a multistate license [PDF]. NCSBN. Retrieved December 2, 2022, from https://www.ncsbn.org/public-files/NLC_ULRs.pdf
NCSBN. (2019). Dl [PDF]. Retrieved December 5, 2022, from https://www.ncsbn.org/public-files/dl.pdf
Ohio Board of Nursing. (2022a). Employers – ohio board of nursing. Retrieved December 2, 2022, from https://nursing.ohio.gov/multistate-licensure/employers/
Ohio Board of Nursing. (2022b). Multistate licensure – ohio board of nursing. Retrieved December 2, 2022, from https://nursing.ohio.gov/multistate-licensure/
Ohio Board of Nursing. (2022c). Toolkit – ohio board of nursing. Retrieved December 2, 2022, from https://nursing.ohio.gov/multistate-licensure/toolkit/