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Is there a time limit in which one has to take their state boards after receiving a degree?

Monday April 7, 2014
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Dear Donna,

I completed my MSN-FNP more than two years ago. Due to some family issues, I never took my state boards. I have continued to work as an RN throughout this time. I would like to take my boards and continue my career after working so hard for my degree, but I don't know if it's even possible at this point or where to start. I have tried to find out if there's a time limit but cannot get a straight answer. Do you know if there’s a time limit in which one has to take their state boards after receiving a degree?

Dear Wants to Take FNP Boards,

Dear Donna replies:

Wants to Take FNP Boards

It is absolutely possible, and necessary, to finish what you started. Usually there is no time limit but some states may have varying policies. Without knowing which state you reside in, I can't give you a definitive answer. But if you have already tried contacting your state board of nursing without getting a straight answer, I would suggest that you contact your state chapter of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (www.aanp.org) for information. They should be able to help.

You also should get out to local chapter meetings of AANP, even as a guest for now. When there's something you want to do, it makes sense to rub elbows with those who are successful in the field. This is where you will get support, advice and help to transition into your advanced practice role.

You may find this article helpful once you pass your boards: “New credentials, new role” (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/New-Credentials).

Best wishes,

Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, well-known career guru, is Nurse.com’s “Dear Donna” and author of “Your First Year as a Nurse: Making the Transition from Total Novice to Successful Professional” and “The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses: Practical Advice for Thriving at Every Stage of Your Career.” Information about the books is available at www.Nurse.com/CE/7010 and www.Nurse.com/CE/7250, respectively. To ask Donna your question, go to www.Nurse.com/Asktheexperts/Deardonna. Find a “Dear Donna” seminar near you: Call 800-866-0919 or visit http://www. Nurse.com/Events.