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How to Reinstate a Nursing License After a Voluntary Surrender

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If you voluntarily agreed to surrender your nursing license due to allegations or proof of unprofessional conduct, getting it back can be a long and winding road. State regulations differ, so check with your state Board of Nursing (BON) for the particulars in your area. All nurses looking to have their licenses reinstated will have to complete certain criteria before applying to the BON for reinstatement. The appeal can be denied even if you've met the requirements. Hiring a lawyer versed in nursing law could help you navigate the waters.


Every state BON has its own regulations on how long you must wait to ask for reinstatement of a voluntarily surrendered license. The minimum amount of time is one year, but the paperwork you received from your BON will state whether you must wait a longer period. Generally, the more severe the offense, the longer the time period you must wait.

Conditions and Costs

Your paperwork from the BON at the time of your voluntary surrender will state the conditions you must meet before you can apply for reinstatement. These might include psychiatric evaluation, proof of substance abuse treatment and results of substance abuse testing or completing classes related to your offense. Some states, such as Iowa, will also request that you send a set of fingerprints that they can check against criminal records. Once you have all the written documentation to satisfy the board's demands in your case, you will send the documentation plus the fee for the application to your BON. Don't send partially completed paperwork in; the BON most likely will not consider it and you might be labeled non-compliant.


If the BON agrees that you've completed the necessary requirements for reinstatement, they will schedule a hearing on your case. If you have a lawyer, let him organize your case, complete any additional documentation and help you present the evidence in your behalf. After the hearing, the board will decide whether or not to reinstate your nursing license by a vote. Even if the BON votes to return your license, you may have to work under certain conditions, such as mandatory and regular drug testing.


If you lose your case for reinstatement, or if the BON doesn't grant you a hearing when you apply for reinstatement, you may be able apply again in the future. You might need to meet additional conditions set forth by the BON or simply wait a certain amount of time; paperwork you receive from the BON should supply the details you need to reapply at a later date.


A registered nurse with more than 25 years of experience in oncology, labor/delivery, neonatal intensive care, infertility and ophthalmology, Sharon Perkins has also coauthored and edited numerous health books for the Wiley "Dummies" series. Perkins also has extensive experience working in home health with medically fragile pediatric patients.

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