Multistate License (MSL) Information for Employers
Washington state joined the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) as of July 24, 2023.
- Employers may now hire nurses with an active multistate license (MSL) from other states.
- Employers must meet certain requirements to stay in compliance.
View a quick video that explains the NLC for nurse employers and provides scenario-based examples of steps to take when hiring nurses that may or may not be changing their primary state of legal residence.
What Employers Need to Know
- The NLC allows a nurse (registered nurses [RNs] and licensed practical/vocational nurses [LPN/VNs]) to have one multistate license in the primary state of residence (the home state) and practice in other compact states (remote states), while subject to each state’s practice laws and discipline.
- Lawful practice requires that a nurse be licensed or have the privilege to practice in the state where the patient is located at the time care is directed or service is provided. This pertains to in-person or telehealth practice.
- Nurses holding a multistate license are allowed to practice across state lines in other NLC states. However, a multistate license may be converted to single state license when practice is limited to the home state due to a restriction on the license or some level of disciplinary action.
- Advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) are not included in this compact. APRNs must apply for APRN licensure in each state in which they practice, unless exempted when employed in a federal facility.
- License and Privileges
- A nurse licensed in a compact state must meet the uniform licensure requirements in the primary state of residence (home state). When practicing on a privilege in a remote state, the nurse is accountable for complying with the nurse practice act of that state.
- A single-state license may be issued to an applicant residing in a noncompact state. A license issued by a noncompact state is valid only in that state.
- The NLC permits a nurse to hold one active multistate license issued by the primary state of residence.
- When a nurse is hired in a remote state for a temporary position or commutes to the remote state from the primary state of residence (usually an adjacent state), employers cannot require the nurse to apply for licensure in the remote state when the nurse has lawfully declared another state as the primary state of residence. This is based on where the nurse pays federal income tax, votes or holds a driver’s license. The BON cannot issue a license to a nurse who has declared another compact state as the primary state of residence unless the nurse doesn’t meet the multistate license requirements and is limited to a single state license.
- Employer Confirmation of a Nurse’s License Status
- Employers can confirm a nurse’s license and receive a Nursys QuickConfirm report at www.nursys.com at no cost. The report will contain the nurse’s name, jurisdiction, license type, license number, compact status, license status, expiration date, discipline against license and discipline against privilege to practice. Employers can also view an individualized authorization to practice map which displays the states where a nurse can legally practice.
- All NLC states provide licensure and discipline data to Nursys® directly from the board of nursing (BON) licensure systems. Nursys is primary source equivalent.
- To confirm APRN and temporary licenses, visit the issuing BON website. A temporary license issued by a compact state is valid in that state only and does not carry multistate status.
- It’s the responsibility of the nurse to notify the employer of any action taken by the BON against his or her license.
- Under most circumstances, when a license is disciplined, multistate privileges are removed, restricting the nurses’ practice to the home state.
- Employers may register their nursing workforce in e-Notify at nursys.com at no cost. Employers will receive e-notifications of disciplinary action taken on any license the nurse holds in the U.S.
Before hiring MSL nurses
We encourage all employers hiring nurses with a multistate license (MSL) to carefully review the nurses' education.
Multiple Florida-based nursing schools have been identified as participants in schemes to issue fraudulent nursing transcripts and diplomas. See list of identified schools:
SSB 5499 requires mandatory employers who hire nurses with an active multistate license (MSL) to:
- Verify and report out-of-state MSL nurses to the Washington State Board of Nursing (WABON) (use the Employer MSL Compliance form).
- Attest that the out-of-state MSL nurse has completed the required Suicide Prevention Training.
- Attest that the out-of-state MSL nurse has updated or submitted their demographic data (use the Washington State Multistate Nurse Demographic Data Survey).
All employers are encouraged to complete these requirements but are not required to.
Employer Compliance Forms
Use the compliance form to report hiring nurses practicing with an out-of-state multistate license.
Starting September 1, 2023, mandatory employers must report out-of-state MSL nurses to the WA Board of Nursing within 30 days of hire.
You can report up to 20 nurses on one form.
If you need to report more than 20 nurses at one time, select the Bulk Compliance option on the compliance form.
- Email completed Bulk Compliance forms to email@example.com.
For mandatory employers it is a legal requirement to report hiring nurses practicing with an active out-of-state multistate license. DSHS and DOH will enforce this starting September 1, 2023.
These employers and establishments must report per SSB 5499:
Ambulatory Surgical Facilities
Assisted Living Facilities
Hospice Care Centers
Adult Family Homes
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for Employers
- How do I verify a license for a nurse with an active multistate license (MSL) from another state?
If you are verifying an active RN or LPN multistate license (MSL) in another state, please access the National Council of State Boards of Nursing’s (NCSBN) verification webpage Nursys.com.
Primary source verification of licensure for an RN or LPN practicing in Washington State with an out-of-state MSL is not available on the Provider Credential Search.
Nursys.com also has e-Notify which institutions may use to enroll lists of nurses and receive automated updates of any changes to license status for nurses included on the list provided at no cost to the institution.
- How can I confirm where a nurse can work?
Nursys QuickConfirm is a free tool to help confirm where a nurse has authority to practice.
- What suicide prevention training course should we have our multistate licensed nurses complete?
The Washington state Department of Health (DOH) developed a Washington Model List of suicide prevention training.
RCW.43.70.442 requires completion of a one-time six-hour training as of July 1, 2017.
- If a nurse has previously completed the suicide prevention training when they originally obtained a Washington state license, do they need to retake the training?
The nurse wouldn't need to complete the suicide prevention training again as they have met the one-time requirement.
- As a mandatory employer required to report multistate licensed (MSL) nurses to the Washington State Board of Nursing (WABON), how often do I have to report?
SSB 5499 directs mandatory employers to report compliance with the requirements within 30 days of hiring a multistate licensed nurse, beginning September 1, 2023.
SSB 5499 also requires annual compliance with the submission of demographic data.
- SSB 5499 lists private establishments as a mandatory employer required to report multistate licensed (MSL) nurses to the Washington State Board of Nursing (WABON). What is considered a private establishment?
A private establishment is defined within RCW 71.12.455 as:
“(a) Every private or county or municipal hospital, including public hospital districts, sanitariums, homes, psychiatric hospitals, residential treatment facilities, or other places receiving or caring for any person with mental illness, mentally incompetent person, or chemically dependent person; and (b) Beginning January 1, 2019, facilities providing pediatric transitional care services.”
- How do I know if I should report multistate license (MSL) nurse information as an employer?
As stated in SSB 5499, if you (the employer) fall into the categories listed previously licensed under the corresponding chapter, you are required by the Revised Code of Washington (RCW or law) to report this information to the Washington State Board of Nursing.
However, the Washington State Board of Nursing encourages all employers to report this information.
- Who is responsible to report multistate license nurse information to the Washington State Board of Nursing?
For example, if we have a contract with a nursing pool (travel agency or nursing agency)?
There’s a difference between where you work vs. who you’re employed by.
The bill requires specific employers to report MSL nurse information to the Washington State Board of Nursing as a condition of employment.
The employer is, “a person or company that provides a job paying wages or a salary to one or more people”. Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/employer. Accessed 19 Jul. 2023.
It is up to the nursing pool and facility to determine a process for reporting compliance with the requirements and maintaining records in case of a facility survey.
For example, the travel agency, as a mandatory reporter as a nursing pool, could complete the reporting and then provide documentation of compliance to the facility in case of a survey.
The Washington State Board of Nursing doesn't have any authority over facilities or facility compliance. That is the role of the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS).
- When does a multistate licensed nurse have to change their declared primary state of residency (PSOR or home state)?
In accordance with the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) rules, a multistate licensee who changes primary state of residence to another party state shall apply for a multistate license in the new party state within 60 days, Section 402(2).
If you missed our previous Employer NLC webinars, you can still view the Zoom recordings. You may need to register to watch the playback.
Important information: Some of these recordings reference using NCSBN's Nursys e-Notify. We've since learned that won’t work for our demographic data collection needs. We've created the Washington State Multistate Nurse Demographic Data Survey to use instead.
- Employer Information Webinar 4 - Zoom Recording
- Employer Information Webinar 5 - Zoom Recording
- Employer webinar presentation (PDF)
- Employer Fact Sheet
- What Nurse Leaders Need to Know
- Legal Memo for Employers
- NLC Webinar: What Nurse Employers Need to Know
- Substitute Senate Bill (SSB) 5499 (PDF)
- Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC)
- NLC States Map (PDF)
- WSHA: New Requirements for Hospital Reporting Related to the Multistate Nurse Licensure Compact (SSB 5499)
We will continue to update our website and send out important information as we implement the NLC.
- Subscribe to our Washington State Board of Nursing News & Alerts to get the latest information.
Please be patient as we work hard on implementing the NLC.
If you can't find the information you need on our site, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.