Inactive License?

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    Okay, so I feel like this is a fairly simple/easy question to answer (or at least it should be), but no matter how much I google it, I can't find the correct answer anywhere. I am in my last semester of nursing school (BSN) and after I graduate in December, I am planning on taking the NCLEX-RN in the state of Washington in January. However, I do not have immediate plans to do nursing for perhaps a few years because I am going to be in Europe and I'm pretty sure that because of the language barriers and as a new nurse with no experience outside of clinicals, I will not be able to get a "nursing job" (unless you guys know of otherwise, I would love to know about any opportunities). Anyway, my main question is, after I get my RN, how long do I have my license before it is no longer valid because of not practicing nursing? I tried looking it up and I found terms like "inactive" and "expired" and I'm not sure what everything means if anyone has ANY insight or knowledge, I would LOVE to be enlightened. Thanks so much!
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    i would contact the BON directly....some if not all states have a req of hours worked ea year to maintain an active lic.....you may be wise to delay the nclex a little......i hesitate to say that....but you present a rather rare issue....good luck
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    Quote from morte
    i would contact the bon directly....some if not all states have a req of hours worked ea year to maintain an active lic.....you may be wise to delay the nclex a little......i hesitate to say that....but you present a rather rare issue....good luck
    i agree with the above and want to add this: many states(though not all) require a certain number of ceus in addition to the # of hours you've practiced in the last 1-2 years, so keep up on the ceus(keep copies of them for proof). most definitely contact your board of nursing so you know exactly what is expected of you to renew your license.
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    Being licensed in WA state, I can say that your license will expire on your birthday each year. Right now there are no CE requirements in WA, so you can always just pay to keep it active each year until you do plan on using it.

    To find out more information about what you would need to do to reactive it once you're back if you let it lapse, contact the WA Department of Heath to ask.

    "Expired" usually means your license has not been renewed or put on "inactive" status and I know in the last state I lived in, they charged a late fee for reactivations of expired/lapsed licenses. "Inactive" status is when you request to inactivate your license because you won't be using it...you'd have to go through whatever process they have in place for reactivation when you'd like to use it again.
    cougSN likes this.
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    Wow! Thank you so much, that is very informative.... Because my parents would absolutely die if I left the country without taking the NCLEX, plus a friend from another state told me to keep it active if I could *just in case* I can get a job at an American clinic, school, embassy, etc. So that would mean that I would continue to have my RN, even if I am not practicing? I'm sure I will have to take a refresher course when I get back, but I just want to make sure that I don't slack in terms of my licensure.
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    Wait a minute.... I just remembered my instructor said to me in an email: " I'm working one day a week for planned parenthood. Had to get clinician hours or lose my license.".... Hahah now I am confused....
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    The laws vary by state, so a call to the BON of that state is your best bet. Be prepared to take a refresher course before working in many places. My state requires a board approved refresher course if you have been inactive as a nurse for 5 years or more. Usually you can download all the BON's rules and bylaws from their website, which would be an excellent reference for you.

    I've taken a refresher course myself, HUGE HASSLE and one I would avoid if humanely possible. Had I not already been employed by a hospital, I do not know if I could have gotten any place to allow me to do the clinical portion.
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    Volunteer hours as a nurse can be used to count as practice hours....

    Have you considered applying for a DOD civilian nurse positions? usajobs.gov


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