Frequently Asked Questions about the Nurse Licensure Compact
South Dakota joined the Nurse Licensure Compact on January 1, 2001. Many states have entered the Compact, and more will join when it is enacted by their respective state legislatures. To check the status of any state, please visit the National Council of State Boards of Nursing website.
Q: What is the Nurse Licensure Compact?
A: The Nurse Licensure Compact authorizes a nurse licensed and residing in a Compact State (home state) to practice in other Compact (remote) States without obtaining additional licensure. The Nurse Licensure Compact facilitates nursing practice among the Compact States by requiring the nurse to maintain active licensure only in the nurse’s "primary state of residence," and granting “multi-state privilege” to practice in other Compact States. This privilege requires that the nurse practice according to the laws and regulations of the state in which the nurse practices nursing or provides care (i.e., the state in which the patient is located at the time care is rendered), either physically or electronically. Nursing practice is not limited to patient care, and includes all nursing practice as defined by each Compact State’s practice laws.
Q: How will the Nurse Licensure Compact affect nurses who live in Compact states?
A: A nurse who resides in South Dakota and holds an unencumbered nursing license is granted a “multi-state privilege” to practice in any of the other Compact States. Likewise, a nurse who resides in and is licensed by another Compact State has a “multi-state privilege” to practice in South Dakota. The Nurse Licensure Compact only affects nursing licensure and practice among those states that have joined the Compact (party states). The nurse must continue to hold a nursing license in any Non-compact State in order to practice in that state, even if the nurse resides in a Compact State. A license issued by a Compact State with the multi-state privilege to practice is only valid in other Compact States, and is not recognized by Non-compact States.
Q: Will the nurse who lives in a Non-compact State and practices in South Dakota still need to have a license to practice in South Dakota?
A: Yes. A nurse who practices in South Dakota but lives in a Non-compact State, such as Minnesota, must continue to hold a license issued by South Dakota Board of Nursing. The Nurse Licensure Compact does not change how the nurse obtains or renews a South Dakota license. However, because the license holder's primary state of residence is not included within the Compact, that South Dakota license will be issued as a single-state license, and will not include a multi-state privilege to practice in other Compact States.
Q: How will I know if the license is a single-state license or a multi-state privileged license?
A: Renewal certificates issued to RNs and LPNs residing in South Dakota will not change. South Dakota licensees residing in South Dakota will automatically be granted a multi-state privilege unless they have disciplinary action. The current renewal certificate issued to an RN or LPN residing in a Non-compact State will be marked “single-state license”.
Q: How will employers verify licensure status of nurses?
A: You may continue to contact the South Dakota Board of Nursing via phone, email, or fax to verify the licensure status of nurses who hold a South Dakota license; licensure may also be verified online. For nurses who are licensed by another Compact State, you should contact the Board of Nursing in the state where the nurse resides to verify current licensure. Contact information for Boards of Nursing is available at the National Council of State Boards of Nursing website. Employers may also be able to electronically access the national coordinated licensure information system called NURSYS, which provides basic licensure information as well as disciplinary history for a licensee.
Q: How will I know when new states have joined the Nurse Licensure Compact?
A: This information is available at National Council of State Boards of Nursing website.
Q: How will the Nurse Licensure Compact affect licensure renewals?
A: Nurses must meet requirements for licensure renewal in their "primary state of residence," also called the “home state.” This is defined by the Compact as “the person’s fixed permanent and principal home for legal purposes” and is generally evidenced by where you hold a driver’s license, pay taxes, and/or vote. Therefore, if the nurse’s home state license is Iowa, the nurse must meet the Iowa continuing education requirement for licensure renewal even if the nurse practices only in South Dakota.
Q: How will the Nurse Licensure Compact affect endorsement of licenses into South Dakota?
A: The endorsement application process for licensure remains the same. Note: A nurse changing primary state of residence from one Compact State to another Compact State may continue to practice under the former home state license and multi-state licensure privilege during processing of the nurse’s licensure application in the new home state for a period not to exceed thirty days; upon receiving licensure in the new home state, the nursing license in the other (former state of residence) Compact State must be inactivated.
Q: Will the multi-state privilege be applied to Temporary Permits?
A: Temporary Permits issued to licensees endorsing into South Dakota as their home state shall confer the multi-state privilege to practice in other Compact States. However, Temporary Permits issued to graduate nurses awaiting results of licensure examination do not carry a multi-state privilege to practice.
Q: How will complaints and disciplinary action against licensed nurses be handled under the Nurse Licensure Compact?
A: The Compact authorizes the nurse licensing board of any Compact State (home or remote state) to investigate allegations of unsafe practice by any nurse practicing in that state. Based upon the outcome of the investigation, a remote state licensing board may deny the nurse’s privilege to practice in that state. Only the nurse’s home state licensing board may take action against the nurse’s license. However, Compact States will be allowed to share current significant investigative information with each other via the coordinated licensure information system, NURSYS. Please note: A licensee who is under a disciplinary order or agreement that limits practice or requires monitoring, as well as those licensees in alternative to discipline programs, may not work in a remote state on a privilege without prior written authority of both the home state and the remote state.
Q: How will the Nurse Licensure Compact affect Advanced Practice Nurses?
A: An individual licensed in South Dakota as an APN (Certified Nurse Midwife, Certified Nurse Practitioner, Clinical Nurse Specialist, or Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist) will need to continue the Advanced Practice licensure, since the Nurse Licensure Compact does not currently include Advanced Practice Nurse licensure. However, if their home state is another Compact State, South Dakota will recognize the multi-state licensure privilege granted by the home state as meeting the Registered Nurse licensure precondition for authorization of Advanced Practice licensure.
Q: How will the Nurse Licensure Compact affect nurses employed by the military or federal government?
A: If a nurse is on active duty in the armed forces or employed by the US Public Health Service, the US Department of Veteran Affairs, or any other federal institution, the nurse must meet licensure requirements of those federal institutions. The Nurse Licensure Compact does not supersede the federal law and thus may not affect that current licensure status. However, should the nurse choose to work outside of the military or federal government (i.e., moonlighting), the nurse must comply with licensure requirements of the state. If the state has implemented the Nurse Licensure Compact, the nurse must comply will all aspects of the Compact.
Q: How do I get more information about the Nurse Licensure Compact?
A: The Nurse Licensure Compact (SDCL 36-9-92) and related information is available on the South Dakota Board of Nursing website http://nursing.sd.gov. You may access the National Council of State Boards of Nursing website at https://www.ncsbn.org/index.htm. The National Council website maintains a list of all states that have enacted the Compact as well as those with legislation or implementation pending. In addition, you may access other state Boards of Nursing and their Nurse Practice Acts via the National Council of Boards of Nursing website. If you have specific questions regarding the Nurse Licensure Compact, please contact the Board office.