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Am I Still a Nurse if I Take a Non-nursing Job?

Nurse Beth   (204 Views 1 Comments)
by Nurse Beth Nurse Beth, MSN (Advice Column) Writer Innovator Expert

Nurse Beth has 30 years experience as a MSN and specializes in Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho.

15 Followers; 95 Articles; 230,475 Profile Views; 1,913 Posts

Dear Nurse Beth, 

I have been a nurse for 5 years and work in a large teaching hospital ( my experience is cardiac ICU and post procedure recovery for Cath/EP/IR labs). I am considering transferring to the cardiac cath lab. I have shadowed in the labs multiple times and had really great experiences. The technology is fascinating, the team is phenomenal, and just had FUN being there. I talk to the cardiac invasive specialists (CIS) techs regularly and have been told by several that I should come switch over to the labs. 

After thinking about it for a few months (and continually picking the techs brains) I applied for a cardiovascular invasive specialist 2 position. I passed the initial screening, met with an educator for an informational interview, and now a formal interview has been scheduled. I learned that if I was offered the position that my job title would change from RN to CIS. They do not hire "Cath Lab RNs". They are hiring RNs to become CIS (through direct training, classes, and eventually I would test for certification). It was explained to me that they need RNs in the labs and want RNs and CIS to share the same roles (to promote teamwork / avoid potential role conflict). CIS pay is better than RNs in my facility, so my pay would increase to match CIS with the title change. My question is, if I were hired, would I still be able to keep my RN license active if my title were to change to CIS? If my RN license went inactive, is it difficult to reactivate it? Do you have any advice or other things I should take into consideration before deciding whether or not I should take the position if offered? 

(In case its relevant, I have my BSN, CCRN, and work in VA state). 

Dear Deciding,

Congrats on your job offer!

Virginia has requirements for continued competency  See Regulations Governing the Practice of Nursing  for licensure renewal and they include:

8. Fifteen contact hours of workshops, seminars, conferences, or courses relevant to the practice of nursing and 640 hours of active practice as a nurse; or

9. Thirty contact hours of workshops, seminars, conferences, or courses relevant to the practice of nursing.

You could obtain 30 contact hours of continuing education in lieu of practice hours and maintain your license. 

You could also request to change to inactive status when it's time to renew. Down the road, you can change back to active status by completing at least one of the learning activities or courses required for renewal.

Because your state does not require active practice hours for renewal or to change status, you would not be penalized for working in a non-nursing role. 

You may want to confirm with the BON in writing before making a career move, but it looks like you have options 🙂

Nurse Beth

Author, "Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job"...and your next!

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