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My License Lapsed and I Want to Practice Nursing Again

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Nurse Beth Nurse Beth, MSN (Columnist) Educator Columnist Innovator Expert Nurse

Specializes in Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho. Has 30 years experience.

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Hi Nurse Beth.

I have been an RN since 1982 and was an aide since age 16. I have had lyme and autoimmune illness for decades but kept working finally became so sick went on social security disability but officially stopped working the day my daughter passed away. She was also a nurse.

Due to the grief I just forgot to renew my license so it lapsed 5 years ago. I began to look for refresher courses but cannot afford them plus the clinical hours are too much. I can do 4 hours at a time work and only 3 days a week about due to the pain and fatigue. I am heartbroken to not be a nurse anymore. Is there a retired status or anything ? Is there any part of nursing I can do? I was an ICU and er nurse and certified in both. I miss it.

Dear Heartbroken,

I'm so sorry for the loss of your daughter. Can I say I do understand the grief of losing a child? Everything changes and forgetting to renew your license is the collateral damage of the trauma and loss.

So the four general nursing license statuses are active, inactive, lapsed and retired.

Active is self-explanatory. Inactive status is a status that can be requested.  During inactive status, you cannot practice nursing, and you are not charged renewal fees. Lapsed is when your renewal date has expired, and you cannot practice.

To reinstate your license you need to contact your state Board of Nursing and submit a request.  States have differing requirements for reinstatement. You will be charged a late fee, and you may be required to complete a certain number of CE contact hours. Some states require that you attend a remedial course depending on how long your license has been expired, but the bottom line is, the rules are all state-specific.

It's likely your state has a retired status that you can apply for, but once your license is retired, you cannot practice nursing for monetary compensation. You can volunteer using your nurse title. Again, your state BON will have all the details you need.  It's also likely that you cannot go from a lapsed status directly to retired status.

It's challenging to find something that accommodates your restrictions. In theory, working as a relief nurse that covers lunch breaks would be ideal, but finding an employer that is willing to take you on for 4 hr shifts could be tough (but it would be great). Not to mention that before that, you'd have to orient, probably working full shifts.

To get an idea of what part-time positions are out there, register on indeed.com and set your filters to part-time. Activate your network and let everyone you know that you are looking for a job. 

If you are willing to change fields, you'll find more options. Maybe Home Health, private duty through an agency, infusion clinics, hospice. 

Sorry to say this, but you are not just going part-time, you are going from not working for a significant amount of time to part-time. It's often easier to go part-time from full-time status.

Having said that, landing a job depends on your tenacity and your physical health. Why don't you:

  • Look into what's involved in reinstating your license
  • Explore the job market to find a job that matches your skills
  • Give yourself a certain amount of time, and reevaluate

Once you have a better picture, you can then decide what's best- and most realistic- for you.

Best wishes,

Nurse Beth

A long term care facility once hired me to do a four hour shift to do a med pass.  There are occasionally four hour shifts here and there in extended care home health. These unique situations must be sought out and are few and far between.  Worth looking for them though, if you really want to work.

amoLucia

Specializes in LTC.

Nurse Beth - informative response. TY for the info.

One thing I thought of is that CEUs may still be needed. But that would have to be checked out state-by-state.

Nurse Beth, MSN

Specializes in Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho. Has 30 years experience.

2 hours ago, amoLucia said:

Nurse Beth - informative response. TY for the info.

One thing I thought of is that CEUs may still be needed. But that would have to be checked out state-by-state.

Good point, you are right

NRSKarenRN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Vents, Telemetry, Home Care, Home infusion. Has 44 years experience.

Home Care agencies provide non-skilled personal care and direct care workers to clients as opposed to Home Health agency providing skilled RN,  PT, OT, ST, HHA.   They often have need for perdiem/part time RN to provide supervisory visits every 60-90 days along with staff education. Non-taxing position.

Plentiful positions right now in my SE PA area due to opening of  agencies seems like in every town has one as CMS Medicaid has expanded Home and Community Based Care.  Check out availability in your area

Don't need to pay a penny for CEU's -- see my yearly updated blog

Free Nursing Continuing Education Programs - 100+ contact hours

Best wishes in reinstating your license.