I retired from nursing and I let my license lapse. Is there a way for a retired nurse to still carry a license?

By | 2022-02-23T14:52:09-05:00 June 10th, 2013|3 Comments


Dear Donna,

I retired from nursing and I let my license lapse. Is there a way for a retired nurse to still carry a license?

Retired Nurse

Dear Donna replies:

Dear Retired Nurse,

You don’t mention what state you held a license in. This is important because regulations vary. If you live in a state that does not require clinical hours for renewal, then you should be able to get your license reinstated by complying with any continuing education requirements and following the regular renewal procedures.

If you do live in a state that requires clinical hours for renewal, you may be able to meet that requirement with nurse volunteer work if you don’t want to do any paid work. Otherwise, you might be able to keep your license, but on inactive status rather than letting it lapse. That way you always could activate it at a later time if you choose to.

Check with your state board of nursing to see what your options are. Contact them by email or phone. Each board responds differently to different means of communication.

I always advise retired nurses to hold onto their licenses and keep them active if at all possible. You just never know what the future holds or when an opportunity may come along that you’d like to take advantage of.

Best wishes,


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  1. Avatar
    Janice Christophersen January 16, 2021 at 10:24 am - Reply

    Thank you so much for answering. I am in Washington state and did let my license lapse due to my husbands illness. He has since passed and I really want to help at anything. Shots would be very easy to give in any state. But I will check here first.

  2. Avatar
    Diana L. Wilson January 26, 2021 at 6:44 pm - Reply

    I put my Ohio LPN license on hold 2014. Can I volunteer to give COVID injections without them?

  3. Avatar
    Kimberley February 21, 2021 at 10:58 am - Reply

    I recently retired did a forced retiring of my RN license, due to a very nasty legal system that falsely accused me and slandered my impeccable reputation on the NURS-SYS system. I hold a BSN and have incredible life experience as a nurse 15 years. I was able to take my case to the US SUPREME COURT, as a pro se litigant. But due to the nature of this matter, and the state actors involved(I was involved in a Whistleblower case), retaliation came against my license, and I was unable to salvage it. I could not afford an attorney, after 2 withdrew from the matter, due to the vicious nature of this case. One attorney told me, “God be with you”. It has been very bad. Falsely accused of heinous things, with no representation.
    Is there help for me? I retired the license, before my home state ruined my excellent license, that I had held for 15 years. I retired the day before they were to have a hearing, where it would have shown that discipline was acted on the license. It now reflects no discipline on file, although on the national database it shows these heinous allegations.

    I am trying to re-invent myself, as retired, earn enough money in a lucrative new career, and perhaps retain an attorney to investigate this crime against me, and re-instate and clear my license and reputation.
    What can I do in the meantime with a BSN in nursing, a forced retired RN license, and all the life experience I now have? I have become an excellent navigator of the legal system.

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