RN Refresher Course FAQs

General program questions

What is the RN refresher program?

The WSU College of Nursing’s Office of Professional Development provides support and training for nurses who are returning to nursing or making a change in their practice area.

The RN Refresher program is designed for licensed nurses whose RN license has expired or become inactive because of personal needs or health-related issues.

The course has also been helpful to nurses who have maintained a current license and want to return to nursing, but who lack recent nursing experience.

Course completion meets the Washington requirement for reactivation of a lapsed or inactive nursing license. Each state determines such requirements separately. To see whether your state will accept this course for reentry into nursing practice, contact your state nursing commission. 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; it was 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.

The Theory section‘s 40 hours of med-surg instruction is 100% online. You can work on the program at your own pace at any time of the day or night.

Skills Review Immersion provides 15 hours of skills practice in a 2-day immersive experience on the WSU Spokane campus.

The Clinical Section is hybrid, with all pre-clinical work done through online portals. Bedside clinical is completed at a facility working as a nurse with a nurse preceptor. For an additional cost, students can earn up to 80 hours of the required 160 hours of bedside clinical experience through simulation via an 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 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 who were educated outside of the US, have approval from the Washington Department of Health 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 $3,600 plus fees.

You pay for each section, and you pay as you go.

You must register and pay the charge for the Theory section after acceptance.

At a later date, you can register for the skills review course with a $100 non-refundable deposit to hold your seat. The remaining amount 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 will be due prior to starting your first clinical shift.

A breakdown of costs:

  • Theory self-study $1,600
  • Skills Review Immersion $1,000
  • Clinical experience $1,000
  • Liability insurance company payment to WSU (adjusted each Sept.) – $15
  • CastleBranch.com background check – $80.75 (fee subject to change)
  • Clinical Placements Northwest – $75-$100
  • Limited Education Authorization (LEA) – Cost determined by the Washington Department of Health
  • 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 nursing.profdev@wsu.edu, or you may call 509-324-7311.
  • If you are enrolled in the program, please refer to your Blackboard site for specific contact information.


Program Coordinator
(509) 324-7311

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 Washington, many organizations use 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 Department of Health 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.

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 satisfy up to 80 hours of the required 160 clinical hours, with the remainder being completed as bedside clinical hours.

Am I guaranteed a clinical placement?

Clinical placement is an active partnership between the learner and the program’s clinical placement coordinator.

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.

The phone interview is a determining factor for clinical placement availability, and options will be discussed with the applicant during the phone interview.

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 work
  • Learner providing accurate information
  • Complete payment

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).