RNs, or registered nurses, are health care professionals who work directly with patients in a wide variety of health care situations and settings. Although RNs often work in hospitals, they may also work in private medical practices and clinics. Licensing ensures that every RN who treats a patient has the appropriate training and skills testing. RNs must renew their licenses at regular intervals.
Each state has its own regulations and policies for licensing registered nurses, either through a dedicated board of nursing or through the state's health department. States control nurse testing, licensure and nurse education programs. RNs are only allowed to practice nursing in states in which they hold valid nursing licenses. A nurse who moves may need to complete additional training or testing to receive a valid license in the new state.
The duration of an RN license's validity varies by state but is generally two years or more. A nurse who completes a nursing education program and passes all state testing receives an initial license, which requires renewal by a specified date. Later licenses are valid for a number of years after being issued. For example, in California, a new nurse receives a license that's valid until the month after the RN's second anniversary of receiving the license. Each subsequent renewal lasts two additional years from the date of issuance.
The process of applying for an RN license renewal involves supplying basic contact information and submitting a fee to the state's board of nursing or department of health. Certain states require RNs to complete continuing education between each renewal date. For example, in California, every RN must be able to show proof of at least 30 hours of continuing education since the last license renewal to be able to renew once again. This requirement ensures that RNs remain aware of changes and advances in health care.
Nurses who renew their licenses on time receive new licenses by mail and may continue to practice without interruption. Those who apply for renewal late may need to pay an additional late-renewal fee or, in certain cases, stop practicing until the renewed license arrives. In other cases, an RN may receive a valid renewed license but with an inactive status due to not yet completing enough continuing education. An inactive license becomes active and allows the holder to practice once the RN has completed all necessary training and education credits.
How to Renew a Florida RN License
The Florida Department of Health Division of Medical Quality Assurance (MQA) oversees license renewal for registered nurses (RNs). RNs who are licensed...
Requirements for Keeping an LPN License Active in Tennessee
Requirements for Keeping an LPN License Active in Tennessee. Practical nurses must be licensed in the state of Tennessee before they can...
How to Renew a Nursing License Online for the State of Tennessee
The Tennessee Department of Health issues licenses for registered nurses (RNs), licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and advanced practice nurses (APNs). Nurses must...
What Is the Difference Between an RN & a BSN?
The difference between an RN and a BSN is that an RN is a title for a registered nurse, while a BSN...
In Ohio, Do I Have to Take a Refresher to Get an Inactive RN License to Active Status?
Chapter 4723 of the Ohio Revised Code establishes the laws that govern the field of nursing. Commonly called the Nurse Practice Act,...
How Do I Renew My CNA License If I Have Not Worked?
OBRA '87 has reformed nursing homes and regulated training of nursing assistants. It required states to establish a Nurse Aide Registry. CNAs...
Illinois Nursing License Renewal Requirements
Illinois Nursing License Renewal Requirements. A career in nursing is a rewarding profession because nurses help people become healthy. There are several...
How Long Do You Have to Go to School to Be an Optometrist?
Optometrists provide vision care for patients such as diagnosing vision problems, prescribing corrective lenses and testing for eye disease. All 50 states...
How to Renew an LPN License
Licenses for LPNs (Licensed Practical Nurses) permit them to perform a number of direct-care patient duties, including administering medication, bathing patients ...