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Nurse relicensing program helps meet acute need in hospitals

Registered nurse
Registered nurses with lapsed licenses can complete the needed courses to relaunch their careers and join the fight against COVID-19.

Registered nurses whose licenses have lapsed have been able to take the re-entry courses mandated by the Texas Board of Nursing at University of Houston-Clear Lake since last summer. Just as the demand for highly skilled, licensed nurses has risen sharply due to the COVID-19 pandemic, eight nurses have completed UH-Clear Lake’s Continuing Education program and are ready to join the workforce immediately.

“These courses are designed to give registered nurses the updated knowledge in theory and practice to meet the Texas Board of Nursing’s requirements for license reactivation, or for re-entry into practice” said Assistant Professor of Nursing and Nursing Program Director Karen Alexander. “These courses reactivate the license and return qualified nurses back into the workforce. It’s not possible to reactivate a lapsed license without these courses.”

Falesha Leblanc, a registered nurse whose license lapsed for 14 years while she raised her five children, just completed her coursework and hours. “I had been a nurse for four years and then I left the profession to take care of my family,” she said. “When I spoke with Dr. Alexander about relaunching my career, that set everything in place for me. She told me I hadn’t forgotten my nursing, it was all still there.”

Leblanc said the refresher courses gave her confidence. “They reignited what was already in me,” she said. “The study sessions and the recommended books were not overwhelming at all. I’m thankful because I think the program built me back up from the inside out.”

Alexander said the program has two parts. “The first course begins with refresher information in areas of adult medical-surgical care, pharmacology, medication administration, standards of practice and ethics,” she said. “The second course begins with simulation and culminates in completing 80 hours of direct clinical care delivery, with a nurse preceptor in one of the area hospitals that is in partnership with us.”

Leblanc said that Alexander had streamlined contracts with area hospitals to ensure students in the program had all they needed. “They worked closely with us, respected our previous experience and did not treat us as pre-license nursing students but as mentors and colleagues guiding us back into the field,” she said. “The clinical portion went very smoothly because of the work Dr. Alexander did in the background. The preceptor that I worked with was great and I felt welcome.”

She completed her hours in the intensive care unit at HCA Pearland Medical Center. “My confidence was rebuilt and I felt prepared,” she said. “Dr. Alexander and her team made sure we went in the hospital with current information and practices. I feel I could handle a COVID-19 patient because I was working in the ICU with patients who were suspected of having it. I feel I could come in knowing I am well prepared and able to see a patient through.”

“Nurses who are re-entering the profession having completed these courses have so many opportunities right now,” Alexander said. “We have prepared these nurses to deliver safe and effective care in this crisis by giving them up-to-date skills and the hands-on training they need.”

Get more information about UHCL’s RN-BSN program online.