What kinds of careers are there for retired nurses without active licenses?

By | 2022-02-14T17:45:49-05:00 February 16th, 2011|2 Comments


Dear Donna,

I have been retired from nursing for two years. My husband has lost his job, and we are moving from Florida to Kansas because of his parents’ health. I feel I need to return to the field for financial reasons and self-preservation. My last active license was in South Carolina (free and clear). I am 48 years old, and 24 of my 25 years of nursing were focused in pediatrics. Can I take an RN refresher course and return to nursing? Are there any careers for retired nurses without an active license?


Dear Donna replies:

Dear Jean-Marie,

Although you will be able to find some things to do without an active RN license, you’ll have many more opportunities with the license activated. Look into what that would take in Kansas. You will need to complete an application for licensure by endorsement in Kansas (www.ksbn.org/forms/Endorsement.pdf). You also can call or e-mail first to ask your questions.

Because you were out of nursing for only two years, you would not necessarily need to take a refresher course. It may depend on what you decide to do and the employer’s requirements.

You can look for work as an RN in your new location (without taking a refresher course and once you get your license endorsed) in an insurance company, in a school system, at a blood/tissue/organ bank, cancer care centers, pediatric rehab centers, pediatric home care or medical daycare with a home care company, a school for the developmentally disabled, and possibly even in an acute care setting.

Since networking is a great way to make valuable contacts in your new area (even while still in Florida), and to access the local job market and eventually to find and get a job, you should make phone and e-mail contact with members of the Kansas State Nurses Association (www.ksnurses.com) and the Kansas Chapter of the Society of Pediatric Nurses (www.pedsnurses.org) even if you are not a member.

You also can contact some hospitals in the part of Kansas you’ll be moving to
and see what positions are available in a hospital for a nonlicensed RN such as admitting, pre-admission testing, recruitment, patient advocate, coding and billing (they might be willing to train you) and others.

Read “Get Ready to Relocate” (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Relocate).

Best wishes,


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  1. Avatar
    Frank Hickman November 2, 2016 at 8:22 pm - Reply

    Dear Donna-I was working in telephone triage for four years following a clinical career of 27 yrs. I was discharged from that position because I made a med error that did not reach the patient and for incomplete charting. In this state a discharge is reported to the state board who suspended my license for “exceeding my scope of practice” I can petition for reinstatment after jumping through several expensive hoops that I must finance. Is there a way to be licensed elsewear without involving the state in which I live? I hold a license in a neighboring state but I’ve been informed they will recognize the suspension. The state in which I was originally licensed is not involved.

  2. Avatar
    Tim Duncan December 21, 2018 at 3:06 pm - Reply

    Which states allow a Registered Nurse to continue to practice as a RN if that practice is strictly restricted to working as a non-paid volunteer with organizations like with the Red Cross?

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