How to Keep an Active Nursing License When Not Working

As a travel nurse, you’re accustomed to the ebb and flow of different assignments and locations, but there comes a time when a pause might be necessary. Whether it’s to focus on personal growth, further your education, or simply take a well-deserved rest, stepping away from your nursing duties is a significant decision. If you find yourself contemplating a break from nursing, you might be concerned about the status of your license during this period. In this blog post, we’ll delve into everything you need to know about keeping your nursing license active while you’re not working, including details on renewals, the repercussions of letting your license lapse, and strategies for rejoining the workforce when you’re ready.

What is a Nursing License?

As a nurse, holding a nursing license is your official ticket to practice within the medical field. It’s essentially a certification granted by your state board after you’ve met specific educational and testing requirements. This license is proof that you’re qualified to provide nursing care in a professional capacity.


keeping nursing license active

What Does “Active Status” Mean for a Nursing License?

“Active status” is exactly what it implies. It means that your nursing license is current and fully valid, allowing you to practice without any restrictions. To keep this status, you must adhere to the requirements set by your state’s nursing board, which typically include ongoing education and periodic renewal applications.

Why Do I Need to Renew My Nursing License?

Renewing your nursing license is more than just a bureaucratic step; it’s essential if you want to continue working as a nurse. This process ensures that you stay informed about the latest medical practices and patient safety protocols. By keeping your license current, you not only demonstrate your dedication to your profession but also uphold the standards required to provide the best care possible. It’s a necessary part of maintaining your ability to serve effectively in the ever-evolving healthcare field. Typically, the State Board of Nursing will send out notifications to remind you of upcoming renewal deadlines. However, it’s crucial to keep your contact information updated with the board to ensure you receive these alerts and remain compliant with licensure requirements.

How Do I Renew My Nursing License?

The renewal process can vary from state to state, but generally, you’ll need to:

1. Complete any required continuing education (CE) credits.

2. Submit a renewal application through your state board’s website.

3. Pay a renewal fee.

4. Possibly undergo a background check, if required by your state.

It’s important to check the specific requirements and deadlines in your state to avoid any lapses in your licensure. This ensures you remain compliant and can continue practicing without interruption.

What Happens If My Nursing License Is Not Renewed?

If you fail to renew your license, it will shift from active to delinquent status, meaning you are no longer permitted to practice nursing legally. Continuing to work under these conditions could lead to serious repercussions, including fines, probation, or suspension by your employer, along with potential legal disciplinary actions from the state, necessitating legal representation.

Alternatively, if you inform your State Board of Nursing that you do not intend to renew your license, they will place it in inactive status. This allows you to later reactivate your license by undergoing the standard renewal procedures when you’re ready to return to work. However, if your license remains inactive for more than five years, you must demonstrate your competency to the State Board of Nursing. This could involve retaking the national licensing exam if you haven’t been practicing in another state.

Will My Nursing License Stay Active If I Stop Working?

If you decide to take time off from work, whether for personal reasons, to travel, or even pursue further education, your license can remain active as long as you continue to meet the renewal requirements set by your nursing board. This often includes completing the requisite CE credits and paying any applicable fees during the renewal cycle.

Will I Find a Nursing Position When I’m Ready to Join the Workforce Again?

Absolutely! Nursing is a field with a high demand for skilled professionals. When you’re ready to return, you’ll find that many healthcare facilities value the diversity of experience that can come from taking a break, whether it was for professional development or personal growth. To ease the transition back into the workforce, consider refreshing your skills through short courses or simulation labs if you’ve been out of practice for an extended period.

Taking time off doesn’t mean you have to give up your nursing career. By understanding and adhering to your state’s licensing requirements, you can maintain an active license and return to nursing whenever you’re ready. Always plan ahead and stay informed about your license status to make your transition back to work as smooth as possible.

Whether you’re a seasoned travel nurse seeking your next assignment or you’re ready to dive into the dynamic world of travel nursing for the first time, our comprehensive job search portal is your gateway to exciting positions across the country. Connect with us today and take the first step toward fulfilling your next travel nursing adventure!

Latest Posts