In order to practice medicine as a Licensed Practical Nurse you must possess a current and valid nursing license. This is to ensure that a nurse is capable and qualified to participate in patient care. The purpose of the license is essentially for protection of the public in order to assure the patient that the care that they receive is practiced and competent. There are several details that a L.P.N. should be aware of regarding licensure.
In order to obtain a Nursing license for a L.P.N. you must have graduated from an accredited school of nursing and have obtained your diploma. Then you are eligible to take the NCLEX-PN exam which is a state mandated exam specific to the L.P.N. The test is administered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing and is comprised of questions specific to the L.P.N. These questions may involve medication and administration routes, drug interactions, physiology, disease processes and treatment, and proper methods of carrying out nursing tasks and skills in a safe manner. There is often more than one right answer to these questions but you must select the “best” answer. If you pass the test you will be eligible to apply for licensure. If you fail you will be able to retest 45 to 90 days after the initial testing period. Failing the initial test does happen so don’t beat yourself up if you fail the first time. Simply study hard and focus on what you don’t know and take the test over.
After you pass the NCLEX you must apply for licensure to the State Board of Nursing for the state in which you will practice. The license must be kept current and in good standing. In order to keep a current L.P.N. license you must participate in the mandated training and have a certain amount of continuing education credits. These credits are received via on the job training, private courses, and self-testing. You can even keep up to date on your C.E. credits online by taking tests through approved sources. Create a folder to keep your information in as you may need to submit proof with your renewal application. You will also need to check with the Board of Nursing to find out what the C.E. credit obligations are for your state as they vary greatly from state to state. This will also help you to fulfill any other state mandated testing requirements.
The most important part of keeping a license current is to renew it. Once you have a valid L.P.N. license you should receive a notice in the mail from the State Board of Nursing for your state when it is time to renew your license. It is your responsibility to contact the Board to notify them of any address changes. You can fill out a renewal form online or contact them by phone. You will also find which qualifications are required of you in order to renew. A current photo and sometimes fingerprinting are necessary in concurrence with the renewal fee.
Licensure through endorsement
Licensure by endorsement is the process of transferring your L.P.N license from one state to another. For example, if you are currently licensed in NY State and want to move to Ohio then you will need to request an application for endorsement from the State that you wish to relocate to. You cannot practice in Ohio with a N.Y. state L.P.N. license. You should check the State Board requirements of the state in which you are relocating to in advance as they will probably differ from the state in which you currently retain licensure.
There are several aspects regarding L.P.N. licensure. You now know how to obtain licensure, renew a license and keep it up to date by completed continuing education. The aspects of licensure can seem a little confusing at first but after you’ve gone through the process a time or two it will seem much easier. If you have any questions or concerns regarding licensure you can contact the State Board of nursing for your state via email or phone. I have always found them very accommodating.