Ask a Travel Nurse: How do I keep track of all my state licenses?
Any nurse who has been traveling for a few years has undoubtedly collected a handful of different state licenses. Keeping current with all these licenses can be tricky, especially if any have specific requirements.
If you plan to make a career of travel nursing, start a “license list” and keep it in a safe location. I have a leather organizer that has a calendar, phone numbers, a notes section, and business card holders. This works perfectly because I can keep my licensure information in the notes section and business cards from my travel agencies or boards of nursing in the holders (I also keep my lapsed licenses in the holders). If you begin this process when you first start traveling, it is easy to maintain and will become an invaluable tool down the road.
If you prefer keeping digital notes make sure to back them up in the cloud or on multiple devices. I recommend Google Drive or DropBox.
1. Start A Single Document
First, on a sheet in the notes section, I record the state, the license number, and when it expires. Obviously, your license numbers are probably something you don’t want lying around for anyone to see, but they don’t need to be guarded as closely as, say, your credit card numbers (you can often look up state license numbers with just a person’s name).
2. Keep All Your Licenses in One Place
Next, I record the state board’s contact information and the continuing education requirements (CEU’s) for that specific state. Whenever you’re sent a new license, you should read the education requirements carefully when you receive your initial paperwork. In addition to requiring a certain number of CEU’s, a few states have specific courses that need to be included in your education hours.
3. Track Continuing Education Requirements
For example, in addition to the twenty-four hours of continuing education I must have to renew my Ohio license, one of those hours needs to deal with the rules and laws of practicing nursing in Ohio. In Florida, they also require twenty-four hours of education, but you must have one hour devoted to a course on HIV/AIDS, one hour on domestic violence, and two hours on prevention of medical errors. Fortunately, websites offering online CEU’s often address this situation and offer “state specific” continuing education courses.
4. Track Licensure Board Info
Also, if you move as frequently as many travel nurses do, you might want to record the addresses you have listed with each state board. Many state boards require you to notify them with any change of address.
That being said, nurse boards also change somewhat frequently as legislators across the country periodically change how the boards are managed by the state. So if you plan on traveling in a particular state and want to check to make sure your license is still valid, it’s a good idea to verify that the board contact info you have is also still valid.
5. Track Expiration Dates
Finally, I record the expiration date of each license on my calendar as well as a note the month before a license is to expire. If a license expires in the coming year, I have a note page, after my December tab, to record the dates for the coming year.
6. Set Reminders
When doing this it’s also a good idea to set a reminder on your phone in case you forget to check your notes/calendar. There are many smartphone apps that can be used for setting reminders. Many of these options would also be good places to store all of your license information as well as for setting reminders:
- Apple Reminders (iOS): A built-in app for iOS devices that allows users to create reminders, set due dates, and create lists.
- Google Keep (Android, iOS): A note-taking app that also includes a reminder feature, allowing users to set reminders based on time or location.
- Todoist (Android, iOS): A to-do list app that includes a reminder feature, allowing users to set reminders based on time, date, and location.
- Any.do (Android, iOS): A task manager that includes a reminder feature, allowing users to set reminders based on time, date, and location.
- Microsoft To Do (Android, iOS): A task management app that allows users to create tasks and set reminders based on time, date, and location.
- Trello (Android, iOS): A project management app that includes a reminder feature, allowing users to set reminders based on due dates and times.
- Evernote (Android, iOS): A note-taking app that includes a reminder feature, allowing users to set reminders based on time and date.
- Wunderlist (Android, iOS): A to-do list app that includes a reminder feature, allowing users to set reminders based on time and date.
Whatever your system consists of, keeping all of your information in one place makes easy work of multi-state licensure.