You may notice that I spend a lot of time discussing NP credentialing in my articles and video content. I recently shared a couple of posts and videos that help explain NP credentialing, and today we’re going to talk about tracking. your nurse practitioner renewals. If you’re note clear on what NP credentialing entails, first check out out the basics of nurse practitioner credentialing.
The reason why I’m spending so much time going over the details of credentialing for NPs is because it is incredibly important, and it’s also widely confusing for NP students and new grad NPs. It’s something that is absolutely essential for you to be employed, and it’s also something that can be a nightmare if you don’t keep up with your nurse practitioner renewals and requirements.
Here I’m talking all about strategies you can use to keep up with tracking your nurse practitioner renewals (for your certifications and licenses).
In the video and article below, you’ll learn:
- The different things that will need renewal as a nurse practitioner
- Why you don’t want to miss a renewal date
- How to keep track of your renewal dates regardless of whether you’re a digital or pen & paper person
- An easy way to keep everything “at-a-glance”
- How this will save you time when starting a new NP job
How To Organize The Requirements For Your Renewal Cycles For Your Different NP Credentials
This is a pretty hot topic, because once you are newly licensed and certified as a nurse practitioner, the last thing you want to do is miss the renewal cycles. It’s critical that stay licensed and stay certified, so you can keep practicing!
It can seem like a daunting task to keep track of these things. And yes, there are actually a lot of balls in the air to juggle. But I’m going to show you a way that I think is pretty simple, so that you never miss a deadline.
1. Make a List
The first thing I recommend that you do is make a list of all the different things that will require updating and renewal. And those things usually fall under the umbrella of certifications and also licenses.
So to talk about certifications. We’ve talked about them a little bit before. But the first thing to keep track of is your board certifications. So me personally, I have two: I’m an adult nurse practitioner, and I’m also a women’s health nurse practitioner.
Conveniently, those are both given to me by two different certifying bodies. So the cycle is different, and the renewal requirements are different. Meaning it’d be easy to lose track of what to renew!
What I recommend doing first is making a list of all your certifications. This may include: board certifications, CPR certifications, any additional RN, or specialty certifications that you’d like to keep up with.
2. Get Clear on Requirements
hen mark down the important things like:
- How often do you have to recertify those certifications?
- Is there a fee involved?
- What are the requirements?
Everything will have its own requirements. For some, it may be continuing education, for others it may be continuing ed plus a certain amount of practice hours.
You’ll want to go to each of those organizations that issue your credentials to figure out exactly what those pieces are, and then mark them down on your list.
Repeat this process for every certification that you have. So your board certifications, certainly, but also your things like your CPR, ACLS, BLS. You don’t want to let any of these lapse, because then you’ll have to go through the class all over again! That takes time and money, and we don’t want to do that.
Then, you’ll go the same process for your licenses. Depending on your state, you may have multiple licenses. For example, I practice in New York. So in New York, I have an APRN, advanced practice registered nurse license. I also have an RN, a registered nurse license. These aren’t combined in New York, and while I do need the RN in order to have the APRN license, they’re on different renewal cycles and have different requirements for both.
So you want to make sure that you’re marking down all the licenses required by your state, and also marking down what the renewal requirements are for each one, as well as the fees and the dates. Some of them go by the date of your last renewal. Some of them renew on a set timeline, like every third year, or during your birth month. Every state is different, so be sure to refer to your State Board of Nursing for that information.
The other license that falls in this domain – although its federally issued – is your DEA license. That’s your prescriber license for scheduled medications and substances. And that, at least as of 2020, is $731 every three years. Fortunately, it’s very easily renewable online.
3. Organize and Track It
You’ll feel lighter the instant you have your credential requirements and renewal dates listed out. But next you might wonder what’s the best system for figuring out how to keep on top of everything? I have another post that shows my exact paper system for using a binder that’s separated by different credential.
But what I usually recommend doing is keeping a file folder (or a digital file folder). You can separate all of your information by credential and by organization. Then, add a cover sheet or some sort of tracking system to have an at a glance view. This way you can to keep track of the requirement, the dates that you will need renewal, the fees involved, and anything that’s miscellaneous that you’ll need to keep track of, quickly, and at a glance. You can even add details on your cover sheets such as the website that you need to go to, or how you need to submit your renewals! This helps avoid scrambling for information at the time of renewal.
The best time to set up this system is when you are new out of school and freshly licensed and certified! This may seem like a lot of work to set up. But I promise if you just do this one time to set up a solid tracking system, then it should be easy to keep up with things as they go by.
You’ll find that some of the organizations send you courtesy emails when your renewal cycles are due, but I strongly discourage you from relying on those emails, because sometimes they’re sent out too late. The last thing you want is to find out that you have two months left and 50 continuing ed requirements to complete. So if you can be proactive, it’s really the best way to be.
There are a few other digital ways and digital apps that you can use for this as well. It’s worth figuring out what works for you. What’s something that you will check in with often? Which system will give you the type and frequency of reminders that you need? And if you’re not confident that you’ll actively look through your system every couple months to see what’s coming up, then you may want to set reminders on your phone, or have some sort of automated reminders so that you don’t miss these deadlines.
How you organize and track your nurse practitioner renewals doesn’t matter much, as long as you do it! And bonus: your system comes in handy for more than just tracking renewal dates. It also saves you time and headache when you are looking to update your resume or submit job applications! Often application processes want to know specific information such as dates issued, or certification numbers, and referencing your renewal tracking system makes this super fast and stress free.
Now that you know why it’s important to be a credential organization rockstar, be sure to downloaded my free Nurse Practitioner Graduation Survival Kit, which includes an outline and glossary of all the different credentialing elements as well as a graduation timeline!