Can I Keep an Active Nursing License if I Take Time off from Work?

Maintaining an active status on your nursing license is the best option when taking time away from work. This will allow you to come back to work immediately—without any discrepancies with your licensure.  

What is a nursing license?

A nursing license is a state-issued document that allows you to practice nursing within your designated state. This credential shows the public that you are prepared and qualified. State governments monitor the licensure process to protect the public’s safety and health.

What is an Active Status?

Like any other license, a nursing license has an expiration date. This is typically two years from the issued date. The time from the issued date to the expired date is considered your active period. This means that you are legally able to practice nursing during this time.

Why must I renew my nursing license?

If you want to continue working as a nurse, you must renew your license before it expires. In Pennsylvania, the State Board of Nursing will notify you biennially when your license is up for renewal. It’s essential to stay on top of your license renewal date because missing the correspondence from the state doesn’t exempt you from completing the renewal. 

How do I renew my nursing license?

The nursing license renewal process has never been more straightforward. Visit your State’s Board of Nursing website to apply online. In PA, the seamless process takes no time and should be approved within three working days. You will need to submit a renewal application, complete the continuing education courses, pass a background check, and pay the appropriate fees.

Continuing education courses vary among states and nursing licensure processes. In PA, nurses are considered mandatory reporters to child abuse and neglect. Therefore, every nursing license renewal process must include an approved course from an accredited program (on identifying and responding to child abuse). Make sure to complete this requirement well before your license expiration date to guarantee that the program administrators have enough time to submit your course paperwork.

What happens if I don’t renew my nursing licensure?

If you do not renew your license, your active status will turn into a delinquent state. This means that you are no longer able to practice nursing. If you continue to work without an active status, you can face punishment. Your employer could issue fines, probation, or even suspension from work. The state could file legal disciplinary charges that would warrant you to obtain legal counsel. 

If you choose not to renew your license and communicate this with your State Board of Nursing, they will put your license into an inactive status. You will easily be able to reactivate your license by following the renewal process (whenever you are ready to join the workforce again). If you maintain an inactive status for longer than five years, you will have to prove competency to the State Board of Nursing. Unless you have been working in another state, you will have to retake the national license exam to prove you can work as a nurse.

Will my nursing license stay active when I stop working?

Yes, as long as you continue to renew your license, it will stay active. Some states will only issue renewals if you have worked a certain amount of time as a nurse. It’s best to review the requirements on your State Board of Nursing’s website.

When I am ready to join the workforce again, will I find a nursing position?

Absolutely. The job outlook for nurses has never been better. CynaMed would love to connect you to the perfect position that matches your availability, experience, and skill set. Contact us to begin or continue your career in nursing today!

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