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Tips for Keeping Track of Licenses and Certifications

Posted on: January 28, 2020

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To be a travel nurse you have, to well, travel. The multi-state enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) allows nurses to be licensed in 26 states. There are still many states not involved and separate licenses need to be obtained and managed. It would be a bad thing to get a job and find out your license in that state had expired.

There are probably as many ways to keep track of licenses as people needing to be notified that renewal time is near. The one you use is a personal decision and don’t be shy in designing your own method you can understand and work with.

Any system you use should be able to keep track of licensing/certification information. At minimum, they should include the state, license number, and when the license expires. It also would be useful to include notes about how many continuing education units (CEU) are needed and state-specific educational requirements. Finally, some method must be present that notifies you when your renewal date is coming up, giving you time to gather paperwork for submission.

A Low-Tech Solution

One low-tech method is to use a three-ring binder and plastic sheets. Licenses are put in the sheets and placed in the binder. You put dividers in to separate the licenses by state or month of renewal.

This can also help keep track of CEUs earned and certifications obtained by putting the paperwork in their own sheets. Not only does it make it easy to track renewals, but also simplifies the process of making copies.

Calendar Programs

A slightly higher tech solution is using the calendar program on your computer or your favorite search engine such as Google or Yahoo. Simply choose a date when you want a reminder and the calendar will send it to you.

This has the advantage of being automatic with little time or effort needed for maintenance after the first entry is made. If you are using an internet or cloud-based solution, there are protection services in place to keep you from losing your information in the event of a system crash.

However, you probably will have to devise a second method to handle CEUs and certifications. Even if you scan them into a specific folder on your computer, copies are harder to make and submit to either the Board of Nursing or the compliance department of an employer.

There Are Apps for That

As with many other things in life, there is an app for that. In addition to keeping you updated on renewing your license, many have the advantage of helping track required CEUs needed in many states for renewal.

JobDocs is an iPhone and Android app that was designed by a registered nurse (RN). It not only tracks licenses, but also has sections for contact hours, certifications, and vaccine compliance. You can take pictures and store photos of certificates to be printed or emailed as needed. There is a free version that can be used for five documents. A premium version is available for an annual or monthly subscription. This gives you unlimited storage. More information is available at www.jobdocs.net.

RN Docs is a free app for iPhone and Android that will message you when something is expiring. It lets you take photos of licenses and certificates for storage. Written by a RN, documents can be bundled for sending to compliance departments or the Board of Nursing if audited. It is available for both iPhone and Android phones. Their website is http://rndocs.com.

Spreadsheets Can be Another Option

Excel, Google Spreadsheets, Numbers, or similar programs are other options. These have the advantage of being completely customizable and easy to make changes as needed. They can be sorted by different variables if needed. Some can also be linked to a calendar or you can sort on dates.

As a disclaimer, I have not used any of the methods suggested. The programs and apps mentioned have been recommended on various threads on travel-related Facebook pages or other related areas.

Kurt Ullman, RN, BSPA, MHA
About Kurt Ullman, RN, BSPA, MHA

Kurt Ullman is a long-time RN and medical writer. He holds an associate degree in nursing from Purdue University as well as a bachelor's degree in public affairs-mass communications media and a master's in health administration, both from Indiana University.

He has 10 years of experience as an RN, mostly in psychiatry. He has also worked for six years as a staff writer and editor in radio, television, magazines, and newspapers. Since beginning as a freelance medical writer in 1985, he has had well over 1000 articles published in numerous magazines and other publications for both professional and consumer audiences.

He has earned the APEX Award for excellence in news-writing twice and received a Bronze Award and three Merit Awards from the Health Information Resource Center’s National Health Information Awards program. He also has won the Media Orthopaedic Reporting Excellence Award from The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.