Licensed practical nurses help provide medical services to patients in hospitals, nursing homes, clinics and schools. LPN training is much shorter than that for registered nurses, generally around one year, but jobs for licensed practical nurses are expected to grow much faster than average during the years 2008 through 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. LPNs must be licensed in their home states, and keep their licenses current if they want to keep working. LPN licenses can expire, or can become inactive a number of different ways.
Failure to Update Address
Most state boards of nursing send out renewal notices several months in advance of when an LPN’s license will expire. The renewal notice contains important instructions on where to renew, the costs and the date of expiration. If a nurse has moved and has not informed the state board of her new address, she may never receive the renewal notice and unwittingly let her license lapse. Some states, such as New Hampshire, also levy a fine against nurses who let their licenses become inactive, which must be paid before they can finally try to renew.
Failure to Complete CEUs
Some states require that licensed practical nurses complete a certain number of continuing education units before they can renew their licenses. These may cover any subject concerning advanced nursing practice, and must come from approved vendors. If an LPN does not complete the required number of CEU classes before her license expires, the license may become inactive until the courses are finished. The nurse may also be subject to disciplinary action.
Failure to Pay Renewal Fees
Renewing an LPN license may require paying a renewal fee, although some states do not charge nurses an additional fee to renew. If a nurse attempts to renew her license without paying the fee, the license will expire and become inactive. Additional fees may then be added before a nurse will be able to activate it.
If a licensed practical nurse decides she will not be practicing for some time, she may choose to put her license in an inactive state. This will need to be done by specific request, either online, in states where that is allowed, or in writing to the state board of nursing. Some states require that an inactivation request must be submitted before the license expires if a nurse wants to be reinstated without penalty. A state may also have regulations limiting how long a license may remain on inactive status before a nurse will have to take a refresher course in order to be allowed to renew.