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What is the process for changing the name on my nursing license?

Wednesday October 10, 2012
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Dear Nancy,

Is it possible to change the name on my nursing license? It should be MaryAnne, but they put my name as MariAnne. When I got my license two years ago, I was told it wasn’t a problem — but now I am concerned. How do I take care of this?


Nancy Brent replies:

Dear MaryAnne,

It is essential the name on your license reflects your name accurately, so the name on the license is actually yours. Also, it is important to have your name accurately on your license so no allegations are made that you are using a different or incorrect name to defraud the public or the board. One must consistently use the name one is licensed under when practicing nursing.

Licensees can change their names on their license. An example, other than the one you raise, is when the licensee gets married or divorced and decides to use the spouse's name, or maiden name on the license. Any changes must be done in accordance with the board's requirements.

Go to the nursing board's website and look for a "name change" tab or similar link. The instructions will tell you what you need to do to change the name on your license. You may need to submit an affidavit attesting to the mistake and indicating the correct spelling of your name, in addition to other information.

Also remember you must notify the board when there is a change of address. This is essential so that the board has your current address in case they need to contact you (e.g., license renewal, notice of a complaint against you).

You can probably make the change on your own. If you are uncomfortable doing so, ask a trusted colleague to help you with the process or seek help from a nurse attorney or attorney in your state.


Nancy J. Brent, RN, MS, JD, is an attorney in private practice in Wilmette, Ill. This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as legal or any other advice. The reader is encouraged to seek the advice of an attorney or other professional when an opinion is needed.