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RN Refresher Course

This course meets the State of Washington’s requirements for re-entry into practice for nurses who have allowed their license to lapse or become inactive for longer than 3 years and/or are required by the state board of nursing. This course is also for nurses who have an active license, wishing to return to a clinical position and would like a review of nursing theory and the opportunity to practice and refresh their nursing skills.

Course Overview

  • Self-directed online review of medical/surgical nursing theory & pharmacology
  • 2-day live session of health assessment & skills review (HASR) located on the Spokane campus
  • 160 hours of clinical experience with a facility in your area
  • Total cost for all 3 sections is $2,400 ($800 per section)
  • Eligible for 240 continuing competency hours for license renewal
  • To start the registration process, please complete the online application. You will be contacted by the professional development office.

Apply online

Health Assessment and Skill Review Class Dates:

  • October 3-4, 2020
  • October 31-November 1, 2020

For additional information, please contact our office at 509-324-7219.

Course Description

The RN Refresher Course provides you with a self-directed review of medical-surgical nursing theory and pharmacology in a three-part series. The theory portion of the course can be started any time throughout the year. A two-day Health Assessment & Skills Review will be conducted at the WSU College of Nursing in Spokane and promotes application of principles as participants practice nursing skills in a simulated learning environment. Upon successful completion of those two sections, a nurse-precepted clinical experience is completed in a health care facility. The clinical setting is determined by your past work experience, your goals related to nursing practice and the availability of a preceptor in the clinical agency and geographic location.

Course completion meets Washington requirements for reactivation of a lapsed or inactive nursing license. The course has also been helpful to people who’ve maintained a nursing license and want to return to nursing without recent nursing experience. Other states, including Idaho and Oregon, have approved the course offered by WSU and refer nurses to our program. If you’re unsure if your state will accept the course for reentry into nursing practice, contact your state nursing commission.

Philosophy statement

The RN Refresher Course aligns its philosophy and purpose with the WSU College of Nursing. Information on the college’s mission, vision, values, goals and program outcomes, and student expectations and responsibilities, can be found in the Undergraduate Student Handbook and the Strategic Plan, both located at The 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.


We’ll conduct a telephone interview with you to ensure that the timing and logistics of the course meets your needs, either prior to registration or when we receive your application. As part of the interview we’ll schedule a time for you to attend Health Assessment & Skills Review, and get information to help us in arranging your clinical experience. We have many affiliation agreements already in place with clinical agencies in Washington, but if you want to fulfill the clinical experience in a site without an agreement in place, we’ll work to obtain an agreement while you complete the theory portion of the course. Note: students aren’t guaranteed placement in high-demand agencies and units.


  • Registration including information related to your nursing license
  • Payment of $800 fee (course total is $2,400 for three sections)

Clinical Experience

In some cases, proof of meeting these clinical prerequisites may be requested by the clinical agency.

  • Professional license, Limited Education Authorization (LEA), or permit to practice nursing depending on the requirement of the state in which you live. The forms to obtain an LEA in Washington are found on the Department of Health website:
    An LEA is valid for nine months from the time it is issued, and can take up to six weeks to receive. You must have this document prior to starting the clinical portion of the course.
  • Basic Life Support, Healthcare Provider Course, completed in your home community and approved by the American Heart Association.
  • Immunizations as required by the clinical site and outlined in the affiliation agreement.
  • For Washington license only, an approved seven-hour HIV/AIDS Course for Healthcare Providers. Some employers will ask to see a copy of your certificate for completion of the course prior to employment. If your Washington license lapsed prior to 1989, when this became a state requirement, you’ll need to take an approved course and provide a copy of the certificate to our office prior to your clinical experience. Courses may be available either in-person or online near your home community, but be sure it meets the criteria of the Washington Nursing Quality Assurance Commission.
  • Payment to WSU of approximately $15 liability insurance coverage. The insurance application form will be distributed at the Health Assessment and Skills Review session. If you have personal liability insurance and don’t want to buy WSU insurance coverage, a copy of your liability policy must be on file with the Office of Professional Development prior to the beginning of the clinical experience.
  • Pay for a national background check through at a cost of $80.75. Information will be provided to participants at the time of enrollment and results must be available prior to setting up a clinical experience for course participants.

Course requirements

Each of the three components of the course (theory, skills review and clinical) must be successfully completed to meet the requirements for reactivation of a lapsed/inactive RN license, or to satisfy disciplinary requirements. The entire course must be completed within one year from the time the theory component is begun, though nurses who are satisfying disciplinary requirements will observe the completion date stipulated in their disciplinary orders. Students will receive a certificate of completion for each component of the course, with a final certificate upon completion of all course requirements. In addition, the student’s state quality assurance commission or board of nursing will be notified of successful completion.


A student may begin theory at any time during the year and complete requirements at his or her own pace, keeping the one-year limit in mind.  The course emphasizes medical/surgical nursing concepts, pharmacology and the nursing process, managed care, evidence-based practice, critical pathways, principles of health assessment and clinical application. The materials sent to you when you begin theory include:

  • Course syllabus
  • Textbook reading assignments
  • Learning activities
  • Self-evaluation quizzes and answers
  • Assignments (4) based on case studies to be submitted for evaluation
  • Unit exams, based on medical-surgical (4) and pharmacology content (1), are submitted to the
    office of Professional Development for correction via Blackboard. A score of >73% is
    required on each test. As long as a passing score is achieved on each test the corrected test
    will be returned to you for review. If a score of <73% is scored on the test, students are
    notified that they will need to resubmit a revised test.
  • A score of >73% will be required on the final exam. The final exam may be repeated once.

Health Assessment & Skills Review

This component takes place at the WSU College of Nursing in Spokane, 103 E. Spokane Falls Blvd., and takes two days to finish. Dates available for the review will be discussed during the initial phone interview. Information on these sessions, including registration, will be mailed to those enrolled in the theory portion of the course. This requirement may be met at any time the nurse is enrolled in the theory portion of the course, though attending early in the review of theory allows nurses to network with others who are enrolled. The skills review session must be completed prior to beginning the clinical experience. Students are provided practice time to learn and regain basic assessment and nursing skills, and at the conclusion each student will be validated on the designated skills, assessment techniques, and math skills used in medication preparation and administration.

Clinical Experience

This component takes place after the successful completion of theory and health assessment and skills review. The course director will assist in arranging a 160-hour clinical experience with a healthcare facility in your area. The paperwork related to this requirement will be distributed at your skills review. WSU must have a completed liability insurance form, and the fee must be submitted to WSU in Pullman, prior to beginning the clinical experience. In addition, certified background check results must be accessible on the website prior to setting up the clinical experience. All clinical placements are at the discretion of the Director of Professional development and the clinical agency. A clinical experience can be terminated by the agency for patient-safety concerns. Please note: clinical sites are not required to grant requests for participation in the clinical rotation. Students with Nursing Commission orders must refer to those orders concerning limitations on clinical placements. Early planning will avoid delays. The phone interview is the first step to ensuring an affiliation agreement will be in place in a timely manner.


Course Fees

Theory self study$800Paid with registration
Health Assessment and Skills Review$800$100 pre-registration fee, paid at
$700 balance paid 10 days prior to class attendance
Clinical experience$800Due before start of clinical experience. Payment is made at
Liability insurance company payment to WSU (adjusted each Sept.) $15 background check$80.75
Clinical Placements Northwest (if required) $50-$100
BooksSee list for Med/Surg and Pharmacology books

Personal Fees

  • Personal fees prior to clinical experience will vary depending on the specific requirement for uniforms, shoes and equipment.
  • Limited Education Authorization or permit for state where licensure is desired unless an active license is held at the time of participation in the clinical experience.
  • Basic Life Support, Healthcare Provider Course – American Heart Association
  • Immunizations (specified by affiliation agreement with agency)
  • Textbooks will cost $200 to $300, depending on whether you buy the optional titles. If you buy used textbooks, be sure to get the correct edition of the book.
  • Books
REQUIREDBrunner and Suddarth's Textbook of Medical Surgical Nursing, 2017
14th Edition, Lippincott
One volume edition ISBN: 978-1496347992,
Two volume edition ISBN: 978-1496355157
Note: it's a matter of preference which edition you buy, the one-volume edition is large and difficult to handle; the two-volume edition may be available for purchase at the same price.
$154.40You may purchase the book on the Lippincott website and use the Promotion Code WZP01KFD, good for 20% off, plus free ground shipping. The code is good for all titles on the Lippincott retail website at Or you may buy this book from other retailers.
Pharmacology and the Nursing Process, 2017
9th edition, Mosby
ISBN: 978-0-323-35828-6$86
OPTIONALMath for Meds: Dosages and Solutions, Curren, Witt.
11th Edition
Mosby's 2020 Nursing Drug Reference, Skidmore-Roth, 33rd ed.$44.95

Accommodations and grievance procedure

Reasonable accommodations are available for students who have a documented disability. Please notify the instructor during the first week of class of any accommodations needed for the course. Late notification may cause the requested accommodations to be unavailable. If you have a disability and need accommodations to fully participate in this class, all accommodations must be approved through the WSU Spokane Student Affairs Office: Jane Summers at or (509) 358-7537. See Student Affairs website.

Student grievances may be addressed by following the same procedures listed in the Undergraduate Student Handbook, found on the College of Nursing website at


Program Coordinator
(509) 324-7219

Register online

Washington State University