Ask a Travel Nurse: How do I keep track of all my state licenses?

Ask a Travel Nurse, Career Advice, Travel Nursing

Any nurse who has been traveling for a few years has undoubtedly collected a h and ful 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.

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).

Next, I record the state board’s contact information and the continuing education requirements (CEU’s) for that specific state. Whenever you are 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.

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. 

Also, if you move as frequently as I 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.

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.

Whatever your system consists of, keeping all of your information in one place makes easy work of multi-state licensure.

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