rn refresher course

Who Do RN Refresher Courses Target?
Registered Nurse (RN) refresher courses are not only meant for inactive registered nurses who have not been practicing, but also for active Registered Nurses who want to acquire continuing education. For nurses who work in states that demand contact hours for license renewal, RN refresher courses are a great option.

RN refresher courses also targets RNs who wish to expand their nursing scope in the search of better paying jobs. Such can be the case when a RN is seeking employment from a state different from where they received their initial nurse training.

Objectives of a Typical RN Refresher Course

Refresher courses, just like the name suggests, are meant to re-introduce an already learnt skill to a registered nurse. This means that it is a kind of ignition for nurses who are re-entering the nursing profession having stopped to practice for a while. The refresher course aims at bringing back into light the skills that were trained during a Bachelors or Associate degree in nursing.

RN refresher courses are also used to train the re-emerging nurses with new nursing concepts and practices that might have come up during their nursing inactivity. Such includes the use of hospital equipment, new medications, new technologies that will help a nurse re-enter the field with confidence.

Course Information for RN Refreshers

i)        Didactic Portion

Usually, RN fresher courses start with standard theoretical classes on all nursing concepts. This part of refreshing, also known as didactic portion ensure nurse students engage in group discussions, instructed lectures and submission of individual assignments. These lessons have great emphasis on novel therapeutic approaches in the health care system and developments in general medical knowledge. For RNs who are taking the refresher course to fulfill the contact hours for license renewal, the refresher course will cover any new state laws governing the nursing profession.

Lecture Topics For the Didactic Portion

Refreshing RNs take lecture sessions from the following nursing topics:


  • Novel Medications and Terminology

This is meant to keep the nurse abreast with any new medications that have come to the market and how they are used in treatment. The course also informs the RN of new approaches to disease management and any drugs whose use have been banned.

  • Diagnostic methods

The refreshing of how to use medical laboratory equipment and how to carry out diagnosis is a must for the inactive RN. Training on how to use new medical equipment, and digitized medical technologies is done.

  • Patient care and management

This includes nursing units ranging from the advanced care of patients to new medical ethics in medical care. RNs may be informed of new medical approaches and new strategies and decision making processes in health care.

  • Documentation and charting of patient records

RN refresher courses must re-instill to the inactive RN the trending methods of medical documentation, billing and medical coding collection of patient records.

ii)      Clinical practicum portion

This part of the RN fresher involves re-assessing the hands-on-skills of the nurse. RNs must have a supervising instructor who leads them into the clinical sessions. This forms the great disparity between RN refresher courses from other forms of nursing continuing education units; which usually do not require direct patient contact.

Just like in normal nursing school, students are expected to show their abilities of working in a real hospital or clinical setting. It is important to note that RNs are only allowed to undertake the clinical practicum lessons only after successfully passing the didactic course. In short, theses two parts of refresher course do not go hand-in hand like normal nurse training.

Duration for RN Refreshers Courses

For RNs who have been completely inactive in nursing, the refresher course takes a relatively long time as compared to those who take the RN refresher course to get contact hours. In the former case, it takes between 3 to 6 months for a nurse to have the ability to re-enter nursing. For those who only require contact hours, 3days to a week is ideal for a particular refresher topic.

The usual requirement to complete the course is to have a minimum of 120 classroom/ didactic hours and an additional 100 hours for the clinical portion. This brings it a total of about 220 hours with variants on both sides depending on the nursing school and the state.