Nursing refresher courses are offered by colleges and hospitals to help registered nurses and licensed practical nurses who have not worked in their fields for three or more years. Some state boards of nursing require enrollment in a refresher course before a nurse can become active again.
Refresher courses can help provide nurses with computer skills and training that they might not have had before. Because duties such as charting and dispensing medication are now often computerized, returning to active nursing can be stressful for those unfamiliar with these new methods. Refresher courses also offer networking opportunities for nurses who may end up as part of a learning cohort with other nurses taking the course.
While most refresher courses are offered in traditional classrooms, some colleges and hospitals offer courses that can be completed at home. As of May 2015, these include Beaufort Memorial Hospital in South Carolina, the University of Delaware, and Michigan State University. MSU's program is ongoing and self-paced, allowing students to finish in as few as five weeks or as much as six months.
Some hospitals use short refresher courses to recruit RNs and LPNs to work there. This includes the Maui Memorial Medical Center, which helps retain existing nurses and recruit new staff through a week-long refresher.