Applying for and maintaining state licensure is one of the not-so-fun parts of being a nurse practitioner. But, it’s necessary in order to practice. If you’re a new grad nurse practitioner or an NP relocating to another state, chances are you’re facing the challenge of obtaining a new license to practice. Jumping through these paperwork hoops is not only an inconvenience, it can delay your ability to start working and receiving a paycheck.
While NPs don’t have much control over state boards of nursing and their licensure processing speeds, there are a few things savvy nurse practitioners can do to expedite receiving a certificate of licensure in their mailbox.
1. Manage expectations
State boards of nursing vary significantly in the speed by which they process applications for NP licensure. Some states are known to be efficient and NP friendly while others like California are notoriously slow taking months to process applications. Talk with nurse practitioners practicing in the state where you plan to apply. How long did it take these NPs to receive a license? Managing your expectations as far as licensure will help you get a timeline in place for your job search or new employer.
Given the bureaucracy of the licensing process, completeness on your licensure application is a must. Follow the steps for submission exactly. Ensure that any outside parties such as your university submit necessary documents in a timely manner. Neglecting to complete part of the licensure process or doing so in a half-hearted manner may land your application at the bottom of the processing pile.
3. Submit RN and NP licensure applications simultaneously
If you’re relocating for a nurse practitioner job, or graduating from an accelerated NP program, you may find yourself in a situation where you’re in need of both nursing and nurse practitioner licenses. If this is the case, in most states, you can apply for these credentials simultaneously. This speeds up the licensure process preventing you from waiting on your RN license before applying for licensure as an advanced practice nurse. If you are applying for both your RN and NP licenses, pay close attention to submission guidelines. You may need to submit certain materials or pay fees separately to avoid confusing the process.
4. Follow up
As in working with any government entity, there’s a lot that can go wrong or hold up your licensure application with the board of nursing. You may have missed a form, your payment may have been misplaced, a computer system could have gone glitchy, or your NP program may have overlooked your request to send transcripts. Avoid delays in the licensing process with regular follow up. Check any online systems supplied by your state regularly to make sure your application to progressing. Alternately, give the board of nursing a call to be sure your application is complete. It may take some digging to find the BON’s contact information, but the more persistent you are the more assured you can be that your app is approved as quickly as possible.
5. Pay the board of nursing a visit
Several nurse practitioners I have talked with recently have become so frustrated with cumbersome licensing processes that they’ve thrown their hands up and made the several hours long drive to their state board of nursing offices for an in-person visit. And, guess what? They left with answers. While to BON isn’t accustomed to house calls, this may be the best way to check on a lagging licensure application. Don’t leave your visit without the direct contact information, phone and email, for a real, live staffer who can answer any additional questions that come up when you leave the office.
How long did it take to receive your nurse practitioner license?
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