As a Registered Nurse (RN) or Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), it is a state requirement to acquire and maintain proper licensure. Your state government will allow the State Board of Nursing to apply a set of standards to obtain these credentials. In Pennsylvania, you must graduate from an accredited nursing program, pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX), pass a background check, and pay certain fees.
Once you have gained this accreditation, it’s imperative to keep your license in an active status. Your license will stay active until its expiration date. The State Board of Nursing in PA will notify you biennially to renew your licensure. To continue working as a nurse, you must make sure to renew your license before the expiration date.
Why Must I Renew My Nursing License?
A nursing license guarantees the public that they are under the care of someone who is prepared and competent. Because science in medicine constantly evolves—pursuing better healthcare methods, a nurse never stops learning. The nursing license renewal process assures the public that nurses utilize the most modern and beneficial practices.
It is, in fact, illegal to work as a nurse without a license. Practicing nursing with an expired license can result in fines, probation, or even suspension by your healthcare employer. Although each state has its renewal process, it is illegal to work without an active license in all states. This means that, not only will your profession suffer, but you could also face legal disciplinary action.
Inactive Nursing License
An inactive nursing license isn’t a crime in and of itself. It’s okay to take time away from nursing and let your license default. If you plan on stepping away from your career as a nurse, you have the option of moving your license into an inactive status. By communicating your plans with the State Board of Nursing, you will not suffer delinquency penalties.
A delinquent nursing license status is a little different than an inactive status. If you choose to take time away from nursing and do not communicate that, your license will lapse with the State Board of Nursing. In most cases, you will be responsible for additional fines upon renewing your license. Either way, it is illegal to practice nursing on an inactive or delinquent status.
How Can I Regain an Active Nursing License?
When you are ready to join the workforce again, it’s crucial to complete the renewal process beforehand. The PA nursing license renewal process for an inactive status is the same as a standard renewal, unless you have been out of the workforce for over five years.
This renewal process can be completed by visiting the State Board of Nursing’s website and applying online. You will need to complete the renewal application and continuing education courses.
In PA, nurses are considered mandatory reporters of child abuse and neglect. Therefore, you must complete the continuing education course to identify and respond to signs of child abuse. You must complete these courses and give the accredited program enough time to send in your hours before expecting a license renewal. Then, you will complete a background check and pay your fees.
If your license has been inactive for longer than five years, you have three options to prove competency and restore your licensure. You can prove that you were working in another state; take a reintroduction course, then complete the required exam; or choose to take the exam without taking the course.
Nursing Jobs in PA
The outlook for nurses has never been better, and society has been more appreciative of nurses than ever. CynaMed will be happy to help match you with the perfect nursing position. We only work with the most respectful clients that offer competitive wages and flexible schedules. Apply online to start your new nursing career journey today!