Have you been out of the nursing environment for some time, and want to come back? If you have not been practicing nursing for some time, you will need to take an LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse) refresher course in order to activate your license and get back to work as an LPN again.
Unlike the formal LPN course, the LPN refresher course is flexible and can comfortably be taken online. The refresher course contains both work in theory and clinical. The work and study relating to theory can be taken at home or any place you wish, while the clinical aspect of the work can be arranged in a hospital or nursing home near you.
Students usually try to arrange their clinical rotation in a hospital where they want to start work as soon as the course is completed. This bodes well for both the student and the hospital as the hospital gets a long look at the performance of the nurse before hiring, and for the nurse, enough time to familiarize her with the hospital and its rules and the duties expected of her. In the event the hospital wants to employ her right away after the course is completed, she need not be prepared and will already know what is expected of her. Most hospitals are happy to accept students to do their clinical rotation as long as they have space. If your timing is out, the space available may get filled up with fresh graduates from colleges. So keep this in mind when planning your LPN refresher course.
Preparing to Return as an LPN
- Go over all the guidelines and paperwork on what you have written and studied before. This is perhaps one of the most important things to do as you might have forgotten much in the years you’ve been off – and there are sure to be new and updated information on many things. Check for updates.
- If you have been an LPN before, you are sure to know some nurses at the place you’ve worked at. Ask one of your nursing friends to spend some time with you to update you on current nursing skills and things you should know, especially new guidelines and rules. Ask if it’s all right to spend time with her at the nursing home or hospital she is at. This may require permission, but it may also be allowed because you are an LPN, and not asking to be paid. It may even lead to a job.
- Become acquainted with new technologies and new procedures. Knowledge regarding computers and technology is vital as we are as reliant on computers today as we are on electricity. Computer smarts gives you the tools to successfully compile reports, calculate statistics and search the internet for information on disease and treatment methods.
- Ease your way into your work and achieve a renewed comfort level in the clinical environment.
- Approach the hospital where you’ve worked at – it may be the most comfortable for you to ease yourself back in – and ask if they have an opening, or are expecting anyone to go on leave. Let them know you are available.
- Be back on the floor with your colleagues and some of the people you’ve worked with. Be confident. Let them see that your time off has benefited you and that you are up to date on changes.
- If you are really happy to be back and wish you could do more, think about doing an online program for a Registered Nurse (RN). Perhaps after your long absence, you want to move up and be involved in other disciplines.
- Become part of the industry again by joining one of the fastest growing career fields, with job opportunities projected to increase 21% between now and 2018.
To get your license back in some states nurses may be required to produce CPR certification. The documents you need include professional liability insurance, current nursing license, or reinstatement of license, proof of current immunization, and you may also be required to do a drug screening test, and undergo a background check. Costs may be involved, so ask about it beforehand.
What is an LPN Refresher Course Comprised of?
- Theory has five modules; nursing concepts, nursing skills, nursing interventions, adult health nursing, and mental health and aging. Modules focus on different cases to give a practical overview of the concept. Once you are finished with each module, you will be presented with an assessment test.
- The last module is the practical aspect. The number of hours you may need for clinical rotation may vary from one course to the next, but a ball park figure would be about 120 hours. Once you are done with the course, you have to arrange for a proctor to supervise your final exam.
Most schools and colleges provide LPN refresher courses for less than $900. Remember that your course has to be with an accredited institution. This course is particularly attractive for people who want to study online and do the course in the comfort of their home, and at the pace they set for themselves. Cost shouldn’t be your first consideration. You want a program that can be tailored to meet your needs. Go on the internet and search for a list of state approved LPN schools to determine whether they have an LPN refresher course.
At Charter Oak State College, a course, NUR 021, is a non-credit, certificate refresher course designed by the Connecticut League of Nursing (CLN) to prepare inactive LPNs to return, after an absence of three years or more, to the practice of nursing in first-level, medical-surgical staff positions in hospitals, long-term care/sub-acute care facilities, home care, or in physician’s offices. The course is offered in two modules, the first of which is offered entirely online, for a total of 180 contact hours. The online module can be accessed at any time of the day or night. It is self-paced which means that you can register at any time, and have six months to complete the online portion of the course. The second module consists of a three-week supervised clinical practicum within a cooperating hospital, sub-acute care, or long-term care facility. Both modules have to be completed to earn the refresher course certificate. Should you opt to participate in only Module One for personal enrichment, you will earn the associated 90 contact hours. You have to provide proof that you hold a current LPN license before you can participate in Module Two.
Another institution you might like to check out is the NDNA which offers refresher courses in the nursing profession, for nurses seeking to reactivate their ND license. Nurses who come from other states who need to take a refresher course to obtain a ND license may take their course. They do not sign out-of-state clinical agreements, so the participant must secure a clinical site in ND. They will sign an agreement with the facility once they identify a site willing to work with the participant. The course meets the requirements set forth by the ND Board of Nursing.
A Brief Overview of the Refresher Course
- Cost of $850 plus cost of textbooks, insurance, immunization update, TB test, CPR.
- 100 hours of theory (includes case studies, closed book test) after being notified that you have successfully passed the theory portion, you may begin the clinical portion of your test.
- 160 hours clinical. Before you begin, you must meet all facility requirements.
- All required paperwork must be either by email, scanned or mailed to the course coordinator before successful completion of the course.
- You must contact the ND Board of Nursing to complete reactivation paperwork.
At the BAPTIST HEALTH Schools Little Rock, for example, there is a completion policy which states that the participant is allowed a maximum of one calendar year to complete the LPN Refresher Course. If it is not completed after the one year period, a one time only six-month extension is available for an additional fee of $200, and that there are no extensions beyond the 18-month period. If the participant fails to finish the course in the time allotted, course status will be incomplete. Should the participant wish to finish the course after the first attempt, the process must be started over again, with the participant applying for enrollment in the course and again paying the current cost for the refresher course. The participant will then be considered a new participant, allowing one year for course completion. Tuition cost for the Refresher Course is $440 plus cost of required text books.
As you can see, laws vary from state to state, and nursing program courses vary from university to university. There are many things to compare. An item which should be established before you begin is whether the clinical portion of the test to be performed in a hospital setting is set up by you or the institution. It makes little sense to go through the whole process of doing the theoretical part of the course at an institution you like, but have no assistance on the part of the institution for the clinical part of the course. Choose a hospital for the clinical part of your program where you have assistance getting into a hospital afterwards.