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Washington State University

RN Refresher Course FAQs

General program questions

What is the RN refresher program?

  • The WSU College of Nursing, Office of Professional Development, provides support and training for nurses who are returning to nursing or making a change in their practice area so that each nurse can enhance the health and quality of life for themselves and those they serve.
  • The RN Refresher program is designed for licensed nurses that have no kept active in the profession. The inactivity may be for several reasons, including personal, family needs, or health-related issues. The inactivity has caused their RN license to become inactive or expired.
  • The course has also been helpful to individuals who have maintained a current nursing license and wish to return to nursing without recent nursing experience.
  • Course completion meets the State of Washington requirement for reactivation of a lapsed or inactive nursing license. Each state determines the requirements for nurses who wish to return to nursing. If you are unsure if your state will accept this course for reentry into nursing practice, you should contact your state nursing commission and, upon request, the Office of Professional Development will discuss the course and/or provide written material for review to make a determination of meeting other state requirements.

Is the content of the program up-to-date?

Yes, the curriculum is reviewed every two years, last reviewed in May 2020.

How do I “attend” class?

  • The program is a hybrid model, meaning certain sections are online, and others are face to face.
  • Theory section—40 hours of med-surg instruction is 100% online. This is an asynchronous program with no set class times to meet. You can work on the program at your own pace at any time of the day or night.
  • Skills Review Immersion —15 hours of skills lab, is a 2-day immersive experience on the WSU Spokane campus.
  • Clinical Section—all pre-clinical work is done through online portals. Bedside clinical is completed at a facility working as a nurse with a nurse preceptor. **We now offer virtual simulation to augment the 160hours of required bedside clinical. For an additional cost, you can earn up to 80hours of clinical experience through virtual simulation (online program).

Will I need a computer for this program?

  • Yes, you will need a computer, internet access, and an active email address to complete the program.
  • Tablets and iPads using an app for Blackboard do not allow all for all functions of the learning platform.

How do I know if I qualify for the program?
To be eligible for this program, the learner:

  • Must have taken NCLEX and passed.
  • Have an Active, Inactive, Retired, or Expired US RN License and/or those with orders/disciplinary requirements from the state that mandate a refresher course.
  • Worked as a registered nurse for at least 6 months
  • For those that were educated outside of the US, have approval from the WA DOH to enroll in the program
  • An online application needs to be completed to initiate a telephone/Zoom interview. The application does not commit the learner to enroll in the program.*** An applicant with a suspended/revoked RN license in any state will not be eligible for the program unless they have orders from the state of Washington that mandate a refresher course. Must have taken NCLEX and passed.

What is the cost of the program?

  • The current total cost of the program is $2400.00 plus fees.
  • You pay only $800 for each section, and you pay as you go.
  • You must register and pay for the Theory section (after acceptance), which will be 800.00.
  • At a later date, you can then register for a skills review course with a $100 non-refundable deposit to hold your seat. The remaining 700 is due 10 days before the class date.
  • The clinical section requires a $100 non-refundable deposit to begin the search for a placement, and the remaining balance of $700 will be due prior to starting your first clinical shift.
  • A breakdown of costs:
    • Theory self-study $800
    • Skills Review Immersion $800
    • Clinical experience $800
    • Liability insurance company payment to WSU (adjusted each Sept.) – $15
    • background check – $80.75 (fee subject to change)
    • Clinical Placements Northwest – $75-$100
    • Limited Education Authorization (LEA) – Cost determined by the WA DOH
    • Books – See list for Med/Surg, Pharmacology books, and suggested textbooks
      ** All prices listed subject to change

What other expenses should I expect?

  • Personal fees before clinical experience will vary depending on the specific requirement for uniforms, shoes, and equipment. This is site-specific, and the learner must follow the organization policy for the dress code. Please keep in mind that the facility may not provide PPE, and this could be an extra cost.
  • Basic Life Support, Healthcare Provider Course – American Heart Association
  • Immunizations (specified by affiliation agreement with the agency)
  • Textbooks will cost $200 to $300, depending on whether you buy the optional titles. If you purchase used textbooks, be sure to get the correct edition of the book.

How long is the RN Refresher program?

  • The program is designed to be completed within one year.
  • Depending on your availability and flexibility with scheduling, the course can be completed in as little as eight months.

Would this be a good program to help study for NCLEX?
No. To qualify for the RN Refresher program, you must have already passed NCLEX and had an active US license.

After I finish the program, will I need to retake NCLEX?
No. WSU Professional Development office will help guide you to fill out the appropriate application and other required documents to regain an active status on your license.

Who do I contact regarding the content of the program?

  • Prior to registration, all questions should be emailed to, or you may call 509-324-7311.
  • If you are enrolled in the program, please refer to your Blackboard site for specific contact information.

Skills Review Immersion Questions

Is there a way to complete the skills review online instead of coming to campus?
No. Every learner is required to attend the 2-day on-campus skills review and evaluation.

Are there hotels within walking distance to the campus for skills review?

  • Yes, there are several hotels within walking distance from the campus at varying price ranges.
  • Information and any discount options are sent to the registered learners for each class offered.

Clinical Questions

Do I have to find my own clinical placement?

  • No. As a part of the tuition cost for the Refresher program, WSU professional development places learners in clinical locations. We ask that you do not try to find your placement. In WA state, many organizations us a consortium to contract for placements of nursing students, and we must follow the rules and regulations of the consortium.
  • Upon completion of the skills review and theory sections, you are eligible for clinical placement services with a $100 non-refundable deposit. The remaining balance of the clinical section is due before the learner’s first shift at the assigned clinical location.
  • Our clinical coordinator will work with you based on several factors to find a WSU affiliate close to your home location.

How long does it take to get a placement?

  • An active, expired, retired, inactive license holder should expect a clinical placement to be found within 1-2 months. Many individuals are placed well before two months. If there are extenuating circumstances, the clinical coordinator and the director will work with the learner to identify alternatives.
  • A learner that has DOH requirements can expect a longer clinical placement timeline. Many factors will determine the ease of finding a placement and should be discussed with the clinical coordinator for the RN Refresher program before ending the theory section of the program. Placement can take 1-4 months.
  • Factors that may increase the time for clinical placement include but are not limited to: years out of practice, nature of current licensure, organizations ability to accept students, availability of preceptors, affiliation agreements, and the learner’s flexibility in locations/dates/shifts
  • The learner is responsible for providing (uploaded to the learning management system, Blackboard) all required documentation for clinical placement. Without the required documentation, the on-boarding of a learner to an organization can be halted, resulting in loss of placement.

How many hours are required for clinical?

  • 160 total bedside hours are required by WAC 246-840-534
  • WSU has been approved by the WA nursing commission to offer virtual simulation to gain up to 80hours of the required 160 clinical hours.
  • 80 must be completed with bedside clinical hours

Am I guaranteed a clinical placement?

  • Determination of the clinical setting involves the participant’s past work experience, goals related to nursing practice, the rules and regulations of the clinical agency, availability of a preceptor in the clinical agency, agency contracts with WSU, and geographic location.
  • WSU cannot guarantee placements based on several factors (but not limited to the following list):
    • Nature of learners’ licensure
    • Learner’s inflexibility regarding site placement, commute, schedule
    • The geographic location of the learner
    • Background check results
    • Preceptor/Agency availability
    • Learner’s years out of practice
    • Diploma vs. ADN/BSN degree
    • Appropriate documentation of all pre-clinical documentation
    • Learner providing accurate information
    • Complete payment
  • Clinical placement is an active partnership between the learner and the program’s clinical placement coordinator.
  • The phone interview is a determining factor for clinical placements availability, and options will be discussed with the applicant during the phone interview.
  • Clinical placement is at the discretion of the Director of Professional Development and completed under an affiliation agreement between the agency and WSU.

What if I can only work a day shift?

  • We cannot guarantee a particular shift or schedule. The accepting agency and the preceptor’s availability will determine your schedule.
  • Once you are in contact with your preceptor, we encourage you to work with them in setting up your personal schedule.

Do I have to buy specific WSU scrubs for clinicals?
No. You are required to be a professional representation of Washington State University. Your placement determines what kind of scrubs or business attire, and you are expected to follow the regulations of the facility and abide by the WSU dress code (provided in the student handbook).


Program Coordinator
(509) 324-7311

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