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Do I Need a Nursing Refresher Course?

I became a registered nurse several years ago and worked for about eight years before having my children. It’s now been 10 years and I need to go back to work. Do I have to take a refresher course? What about going to get my BSN instead? Would this be a good idea? I don’t have a lot of time as I need to begin working as soon as possible. Thank you for your help, Eleanor


Hi Eleanor, thanks for your question about returning to nursing.

Each state’s board of nursing (BON) has its own rules about how much experience a nurse must have to renew his or her license. They also have their rules about what type of refresher training nurses (both registered nurses and licensed practical nurses) need before returning to clinical work after a long absence. Refresher courses are necessary because the field of nursing is changing so quickly. It’s not only changing with technology, but in the scope of what nurses can do now as opposed to what they could do 10 years ago.

Whether you should do a refresher course or go on to get your bachelor’s in nursing (BSN) is a decision that only you can make, but unless you already have university credits you can use towards your BSN, it’s likely that the shortest route to returning to nursing is by doing a refresher course.

To find a refresher course, you can contact your local college and university nursing schools to see if they offer them and if so, what you need to do to apply. If you don’t have any luck there, you may want to contact local hospitals or even your state’s BON.

Good luck.