No, Diane- you do not have to be an RN to be self employed as a nurse. That is a fallacy. You may have to have your RN in order to do the TYPE of independent nursing you want to do.
If you want to work as an assistant in OT, you do not need to be Registered to do that. Occupational Therapy is not a blood relation to nursing. Your nursing background would be an additional benefit enhancing the OT experience. I know that there are many post CVAs out here that would be happy to pay an out of pocket fee to someone who would continue to assist them with OT after the insurance coverage for it runs out. What a god send that would be for some!
Diane- thanks for the post! Keep us posted. What are some of the other kinds of independent nursing you've done?