How can a nurse keep her skills sharp and license active as a stay-at-home mom?

By | 2015-09-04T17:15:54-04:00 September 7th, 2015|2 Comments

Dear Donna,

I want to be a stay-at-home mom. My daughter is 1, and we are planning to have two more babies. I don’t want to abandon the workforce forever, but I don’t know how to go about doing that. What should I be doing to keep my skills and license?

Wants to be a Stay-at-Home Mom


Dear Wants to be a Stay-at-Home Mom,

For starters, keep up your membership or join the American Nurses Association and any specialty association you wish to stay connected to, such as the Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses. It would be ideal if you could get out to periodic meetings and events. This will help keep you connected to the profession, stay current with information and trends, and keep your professional network active. Even if you can’t get to meetings, you will get the publications and information in the mail and via email and feel like part of the nursing community.
Consider doing occasional volunteer work as a nurse. This might be through your a public health department, faith community nursing program, blood bank, the American Red Cross, etc. Volunteer work of this type helps keep your skills and knowledge up to date, continues your contribution to the community, and expands your professional network.
You can also keep up with continuing education online.
Regarding your RN license, check with your state board of nursing to see what they require to keep it current. Every state has different regulations. Some states allow you to keep it current just for paying the renewal fees and possibly taking some CE courses. Other states require that you do a certain number of clinical hours each year to maintain active status. Volunteer work usually doesn’t count toward these hours. If your state requires clinical hours and you do not work as a nurse for a period of time, your license may become inactive while you are home. You would then probably have to take a refresher course to re-activate it.

Best wishes,


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About the Author:

Donna Cardillo
Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, CSP, is president of Known as The Inspiration Nurse, she is a keynote speaker, retreat and seminar leader, and author of "Your First Year as a Nurse: Making the Transition from Total Novice to Successful Professional" and "The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses: Practical Advice for Thriving at Every Stage of Your Career." She brings more than 25 years of clinical, management and business experience to her role as career guru.


  1. Avatar
    Sherry Soroka October 16, 2017 at 9:37 am - Reply


    My husband got a job with the DoD in germany so we have relocated. There is a large civilian hospital here at landstuhl military base. I have tried to contact HR through email and calling and leaving a message. I have had no luck getting in touch with a nurse recruiter. I also have looked on usajobs daily. I want to maintain my nursing license and am willing to work but can’t seem to get a job. I contacted the azbn to see if going to school for my BSN would keep my license active until I graduate but haven’t received a response. I just renewed my license and worked this year until mid August. I have been a nurse for 14 years specializing in PACU for 7 years. Any or all suggesting on keeping my license while pursuing a job would be helpful.

  2. Avatar
    Lanna Hawkey January 20, 2018 at 9:04 pm - Reply

    How do I keep my certification for LPN while joining active duty in the military?

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