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Where to Find the Best RN Refresher Courses

Higher Education Articles September 26, 2013

Introduction & Definition

As nursing salaries continue to rise and work schedules become more flexible, more and more nurses are returning to the field for necessary income, insurance benefits or as planned once their children reached a certain age. Even though the medical field is changing so swiftly, even a year away from the field can leave a nurse fumbling with a new IV pump or unfamiliar with a new medication. In order to make the transition smoother, less stressful and safer for patients, many organizations have developed an RN refresher course.

Where Are the Best RN Refresher Courses? Major Medical Centers

Many large hospitals, and major medical centers, offer regular RN refresher courses to new employees, who are RNs, returning to the field after an absence of months or years. Some institutions also offer specialized RN refresher courses for returning critical care, emergency department or surgical nurses, for instance.

Community Colleges

Many community colleges offer RN refresher courses, depending upon the needs of the community and student demands. These specific community colleges almost always offer an associate degree in nursing to regular students. These courses are often taught by members of the same ADN nursing faculty, and may last up to a semester in order to cover changes in nursing law, pharmacology, new procedures and new protocols.

Schools of Nursing at Area Colleges & Universities

Some college-level schools of nursing offer refresher courses to nurses interested in returning to the workforce. These courses are taught by members of the same nursing school faculty and may last up to a semester, in order to cover changes in nursing law, pharmacology, new procedures and new protocols.

Online Only Courses

Temporarily unavailable to update the course information, the organization, Nursing Knowledge International, operates a seven-unit, 60-hour online program known as the Return to Nursing Refresher Program. However, there are many other online options available, including programs associated with traditional nursing schools and hospitals.

Professional Accreditation Schools & Organizations

Schools that offer classes and required certifications for some occupations in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), basic life support (BLS), advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) and pediatric advanced life support (PALS) are often excellent places to take refresher courses. In addition to basic refresher courses, nurses can also take classes and receive applicable certifications for the field of nursing in which they are most interested. Although these courses cannot be taken online in their entirety, they provide the support of seasoned instructors and a peer group.

Private Businesses

The organization,, offers a program said to have been created over three decades ago by nurse educators in Idaho. The program consists of self-study modules combined with a clinical preceptorship. The program is well known and accepted by Idaho, Nevada, Tennessee and Utah and these states offer easily located hospitals and medical centers for the clinical preceptorship program aspect.

While other states are considering the organization’s benefits, potential customers and students are explicitly warned against paying tuition until an institution and responsible party can be located in these other states for the clinical preceptorship.

Your State Board of Nursing

Depending upon your state and its Board of Nursing, they may be able to formally suggest programs in your area or simply provide a list of providers known to provide refresher courses within your state. When registered nurses fail to pay their license renewal fees, they must literally apply to the Board for a reinstatement.

Depending upon the state, a reinstatement application may require a criminal background check, documentation of continuing education credits or successful completion of a board-approved refresher program. The state of Delaware, for instance, requires that a returning nurse complete a board-approved refresher program and can thus provide a full list of the providers approved by the state board.

Approved State Board of Nursing Providers for States Requiring Registered Nurse Refresher Courses After a Lapse in a Nursing License

As of 2013, State Boards of Nursing requirements for a registered nurse (RN) to have a lapsed license reissued vary tremendously, from documentation of continuing education classes taken online to successful completion of a refresher class, criminal background checks and completion of day-long seminars on that state’s nurse practice act, privacy laws and professionalism.

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