You don't just need a valid Licensed Practical Nurse, or LPN, license to find work as an LPN; you need one to keep working as one too. This means that you occasionally must renew your license. Technically, then, it also means that the status of your LPN license can change. From time to time, it is smart to verify the status of your LPN license to ensure that everything is in order. Find out how to do so and why it's so important by reading on below.
Step 1: Understand Why Verification Matters
First, why bother verifying an LPN license in the first place? There are times when it is especially important to do so. For example, after obtaining it for the first time, but before applying for LPN jobs, you should verify the status of your license. Prospective employers aren't just going to take your word for it. They will take steps to verify its validity too. By checking yourself first, you can avoid unpleasant surprises during the hiring process. You should also check its status anytime it is up for renewal. Finally, it's smart to occasionally verify your LPN license "just because," to ensure that everything is okay and that your record contains no errors.
Step 2: Know When to Verify Your LPN License
Technically speaking, LPNs aren't required to check the status of their LPN licenses at any particular time. Considering how easy it is to do, however, LPNs are wise to do so on a fairly regular basis. As mentioned above, you always want to verify an LPN license right after receiving one for the first time and any time that it is up for renewal. If you reenter the job market, verify your LPN license before submitting applications. Finally, try to check the status of your license at least every few months just to be safe.
Step 3: Choose a Verification Option
Unlike a few decades ago, there are now multiple ways to confirm the validity of an LPN license. Employers and LPNs alike have access to several options, and all of them work perfectly well. How are you supposed to know which one is right for you? Essentially, whichever one is easiest for you to complete is the best one, so it helps to be aware of all of the verification options. The three most popular are:
- By Phone or Mail - Traditionally, this was the option of choice for LPNs who wanted to verify their licenses. This option is still available in most states, and it is usually free of charge. You can find out which number to call or which mailing address to use by checking with your state board of nursing. Mail is by far the slowest way to check the status of an LPN license, as the request must first be made and processed before the report is mailed. Phone verification is often quicker, but you still might have to wait for information to arrive in the mail.
- Nursys - Nursys, the comprehensive online database of nurse licensing information, can often be used to check the status of an LPN license. As long as your license is held in a participating state – and most states participate – you should be good to go. You can even verify licenses across multiple states through this tool.
- Online - Finally, most state boards of nursing maintain useful websites where nursing professionals can get all kinds of information. In most cases, LPNs can verify their licenses through online portals in just a few clicks of the mouse button. To verify your license online, you need only two pieces of information: your name and your LPN license number. In turn, you can confirm the validity of your LPN license on the spot. Most states include information about disciplinary actions that have been taken as well as information about probation, if applicable. There is usually no charge for this service.
Step 4: Know How to Handle a Lost LPN License
What happens if you try to verify your LPN license but are unable to find it at all? Just because you have a physical copy of your license doesn't mean that it is still valid. Sometimes, LPNs' licensing information fails to make it into the database for whatever reason. Needless to say, it is far better to find out that your LPN license is missing yourself than to have a prospective employer discover this.
If you discover that your LPN license is missing when you go to verify it, you will have to contact your state board of nursing for assistance. Chances are that your information just somehow didn't make it into the database, and this can usually be remedied quickly.
Step 5: Know How to Correct Errors on an LPN License
People don't just verify LPN licenses to confirm that they are valid. They also confirm them to make sure that they don't contain any errors. When you pull up an LPN license, you can check the expiration date to confirm its validity. At the same time, if any disciplinary actions have been made, they will be noted in the record. When verifying your license, confirm that your name and other personal information is correct. Make sure that any disciplinary actions that are noted are valid. If they aren't, you will want to have them removed. This involves contacting the state board of nursing. In most states, correcting these errors is easy.
As an LPN, the importance of maintaining your license can't be emphasized enough. By knowing how to quickly verify the status of your license, you shouldn't have any trouble keeping yours in good order. Verify your LPN license from time to time to catch potential issues early and to avoid any problems.