How long can you go without working and your license not go inactive?

  1. I am just wondering how long I could stop working and not have to retake any test to go back to work. I have been a nurse for 12 years and have 2 small children. I am just feeling a bit burned out. I don't want to have to retake boards or anything when my kids are older to return to work.
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  2. 11 Comments

  3. by   rn/writer
    Contact your state's Board of Nursing for this information. Each state has its own requirements regarding CEUs, work status, etc.

    My state requires only that you pay your license fee every two years. No CEUs at all. Employers, however, are a different matter.

    I had been out of nursing for a few years. Took an excellent refresher course that included classroom, lab, and clinical. Eight weeks total, six of which included 3 clinical days.

    There were 15 women in my class, one of whom had been out for 15 years and another who had been out for 20. We all finished the course and everyone found employment.

    Check community colleges and tech schools in your area as these usually offer the most affordable options.

    I wish you well.
    Last edit by rn/writer on Jan 2, '07
  4. by   SweetOldWorld
    Quote from nursemom33
    I am just wondering how long I could stop working and not have to retake any test to go back to work. I have been a nurse for 12 years and have 2 small children. I am just feeling a bit burned out. I don't want to have to retake boards or anything when my kids are older to return to work.
    I was in your shoes at one time, only I really didn't plan to go back to nursing ever again when I quit to stay home with my children. I did keep my license current by keeping up my continuing ed and paying the necessary fees. Just in case.

    After 8 years, I decided to go back to med/surg nursing. I took a classroom-only refresher course, and then got a job where they gave me a good orientation period. It worked out very well but it did take some time before I started to feel comfortable at it. In hindsight, it probably would have been better to continue working on a very occasional basis, but it all worked out in the end anyway. Good luck with your decision, and check with your state's board of nursing so you have the facts you need.
  5. by   clemmm78
    That totally depends on where you are. Where I am, it's five years before you have to take a refresher course.
  6. by   S.T.A.C.E.Y
    Quote from rn/writer
    My state requires only that you pay your license fee every two years. No CEUs at all. Employers, however, are a different matter.

    I had been out of nursing for a few years. Took an excellent refresher course that included classroom, lab, and clinical. Eight weeks total, six of which included 3 clinical days.
    What state are you in? If someone were to take a long break, and kept paying up their licence, would they have problems transferring to another state from yours when they decided to return?

    Did you HAVE to take the refresher course, or was that your choice?
  7. by   GingerSue
    where I am, because I did not work for 5 years, then I have to take the re-entry program (17 courses at about $400 each, plus the textbooks) in order to register
  8. by   GingerSue
    just a duplicate
    Last edit by GingerSue on Jan 2, '07 : Reason: duplicate
  9. by   tnbutterfly
    Like others have said, it depends on the state you live/practice in. You might want to check and see if volunteer nursing (Red Cross, etc.) meets the requirement to keep an active license in your state.
  10. by   rn/writer
    Quote from S.T.A.C.E.Y
    What state are you in? If someone were to take a long break, and kept paying up their licence, would they have problems transferring to another state from yours when they decided to return?

    Did you HAVE to take the refresher course, or was that your choice?
    I took the refresher course voluntarily. Don't know about transferring to a compact state, although I'm thinking that if I have a valid license, it ought to be good in the other states.
    Last edit by rn/writer on Jan 3, '07
  11. by   Jolie
    Quote from rn/writer
    I took the refresher course voluntarily. Don't know about transferring to a compact state, although I'm thinking that if I have a valid license, it ought to be good in the other states.

    Not necessarily. I have an active license in good standing in IL, but when I moved to NE I found that I was ineligible for endorsement. NE requires 500 hours of continuing practice in the preceeding 5 years, which I didn't have. So I am ineligible for licensure until I re-take NCLEX or complete a board-approved refresher.

    Retaking NCLEX would probably be useless, as I would still be lacking current practice, and thus would not be attractive to employers. The board-approved refresher will cost approximately $1500 and involve roughly 3 months of full-time study and clinical work.

    At this time, I am interviewing for a position in the business world which will allow me to set my own schedule, work from home, and pay roughly 75% of a nursing salary. If I'm not offered the job, I'll consider the refresher course.
    Last edit by rn/writer on Jan 3, '07
  12. by   P_RN
    SC requires I think 940 hours in 5 years. You can go inactive anytime you want and not have to pay the biyearly fee though and reactivate your license with CEs or take the NCLEX (gasp) again......that wouldn't be MY choice.
  13. by   Mulan
    I would stay PRN and work the minimum amount required, some places it's two shifts a month.

    Some areas don't even have refresher courses, and they are expensive in any case.

    It's hard to get back in sometimes after being out for awhile.

    Good luck.

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