Professional & Continuing Studies

RN Refresher Online Course

Update your nursing knowledge and skills

Course starts June 5—Register now!

  • Reinstate your nursing license
  • Receive the latest updates in nursing care and management presented by experts in the field
  • Learn anywhere, anytime through a totally online format and self-paced activities
  • Gain preceptored clinical experience in your home community

Fast RN Refresher Qualification and Enrollment!

  1. Ensure you meet the program’s prerequisites. Read the prerequisites and requirements for enrolling in the RN Refresher program presented below.
  2. Submit the RN Refresher Pre-Advisement Questionnaire. Take 3 minutes to complete and submit the required RN Refresher Pre-Advisement Questionnaire, which allows us to confirm your eligibility and offer you individualized advisement.
  3. Enroll in the program. After submitting the RN Refresher Pre-Advisement Questionnaire, you will receive enrollment instructions via email.

If you’ve already completed the questionnaire and haven’t received enrollment instructions, please write to continuing-ed@udel.edu or call 302-831-7600.


Program Details


Enrollment Prerequisites

All of the following are required to enroll in this program

  1. NCLEX-RN—Participants must have taken and passed the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN).
  2. U.S. licensed RN—All participants must be a previously or currently U.S. licensed registered nurse (RN). A copy of the current or expired license must be provided to the Division of Professional and Continuing Studies within 2 weeks of registration.
  3. U.S. hospital experience
    • All participants must have prior U.S. hospital experience working as a registered nurse (RN). Length of practice and time elapsed since active nursing practice will be a determinant in eligibility. Please complete the required RN Refresher Pre-Advisement Questionnaire to determine eligibility.
    • Recent U.S. nursing graduates may be able to count the hospital nursing experience associated with their nursing program.
    • Participants will be asked to provide the name and contact information for their most recent hospital or acute care employer.
    • Non-U.S.-trained participants must have a minimum of 3 months’ previous practice as a registered nurse (RN) in a U.S. hospital.
  4. Pre-advisement questionnaireComplete the RN Refresher Pre-Advisement Questionnaire to confirm that you meet all relevant enrollment requirements.

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Relicensure in Your State

This course is open to licensed registered nurses who are presently ineligible for endorsement or reinstatement of licensure in Delaware or elsewhere because they do not currently meet the state nursing board requirements.

  • Contact your state’s Board of Nursing—Registered nurses from states other than Delaware should contact their respective boards of nursing to determine if the University of Delaware RN Refresher course meets that state’s requirements for an RN refresher course.
  • Additional requirements in your state—An RN refresher course may not be the only requirement for relicensure in your state. Contact your local board of nursing for possible additional requirements.

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Computer Skills and Technology Requirements

In order to successfully complete this course, participants must have access to a computer with a high-speed Internet connection, RealPlayer, and Adobe Reader; as well as basic computer knowledge such as how to use email, the Internet, and Microsoft Word.

  • REQUIRED: laptop or desktop computer
    • Required: a PC or Mac, laptop or desktop computer must be used to complete course activities like tests, quizzes, homework, or chats
    • Required: high-speed Internet access
    • Required: Mozilla Firefox browser, version 10 or newer
    • Required: if not already installed on your computer, you may need to install these free plugins:  Adobe Flash Player | Adobe Reader
  • OPTIONAL: mobile device
    • Optional: most course video content can be viewed on a mobile device like a tablet, iPad or smart phone
    • Mobile devices cannot be used to complete required course components like homework, tests, quizzes, chats
      Click here for details about mobile device compatibility

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Course Overview

The RN Refresher Course was created to update and enhance the nursing knowledge and clinical skills of inactive registered nurses preparing for reentry into active practice, addressing foundational competencies for medical-surgical nursing in today’s increasingly complex practice settings.

The RN Refresher Course is a six-month program comprised of didactic and clinical components:

  • Didactic component
    • Designed to be completed within an academic semester and takes approximately 15 weeks.
    • Self-paced format allows flexibility within the course timeline.
    • Proctored final exam is taken at the end of the 15-week semester.
    • Didactic-only option: Those with active licenses may choose to enroll in the didactic component only.
  • Clinical component
    • Follows successful completion of the didactic component, and requires 80 hours in an acute care setting on an adult medical surgical unit with the schedule determined by the assigned preceptor.
    • The student should be prepared to work 8-12 hours on any shift, which could include days, nights and weekends.
  • Six-month completion time
    • If both the didactic and clinical components are being completed, the total required timeline for completion is six months, which includes the 15-week didactic coursework and the 80-hour clinical component. All must be completed within six months of the course start date.

Nursing Contact Hours

This continuing nursing education activity was approved for 90 contact hours by the Delaware Nurses Association, an accredited approver by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation. Effective June 5, 2019.

This course is not supported by commercial funding. 

No real or apparent conflicts of interest related to the content planning or presentation exist.

Upon successful completion of all RN Refresher course activities, participants receive a certificate of completion.

Learning outcomes

At the completion of this course the participant will be able to:

  • Demonstrate integration of knowledge, skills and professional attitudes through the use of clinical evidence and reasoning.
  • Assimilate comprehensive knowledge to secure quality, safety, and equality in healthcare systems.
  • Demonstrate professional behaviors in the practice of nursing.
  • Demonstrate team-building and collaboration strategies in health systems, guided by nursing values and standards.
  • Employ critical thinking skills to determine the effectiveness of medication administration on client care outcomes.
  •  Use information and technology to provide care, communicate, educate, manage knowledge, prevent errors, and make critical decisions that optimize patient outcomes.
  • Provide population focused care incorporating concepts of health promotion, disease and injury prevention.
  • Function effectively within nursing and interprofessional teams to foster open communication, collaboration, mutual respect, and shared decision-making.
  • Provide patient-centered care which represents the patients’ preferences, values, and needs within the context of their families, communities and the health care delivery system.
  • Demonstrate understanding of culturally relevant diversity in healthcare

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Didactic Component

The theoretical component of the RN Refresher Online is comprised of online reading assignments, case studies, discussion forums and learning activities designed to guide and reinforce participant learning. All coursework takes place using online learning technologies.

Successful completion of the theoretical component is a prerequisite for enrollment in the clinical component of the course. Highlights of course content include:

  • Nursing Trends of the 21st Century
  • Cultural Competence
  • Medical/Surgical and Specialty Updates
  • Pharmacology Update
  • Legal Considerations
  • End-of-Life
  • Health History and Physical Assessment
  • Geriatric Considerations
  • Clinical Laboratory Update
  • Nutrition Update

Final exam required—To successfully complete the didactic component, participants must pass the proctored final exam. Participants living within 125 miles of the University of Delaware’s Newark Campus will be required to take the exam in Newark, Delaware. Participants living more than 125 miles from Newark, Delaware, will complete the final exam remotely via ProctorU, a secure, online proctoring service.

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Clinical Component

The clinical component of this course requires 80 hours of supervised clinical practice to take place in the participant’s state of licensure. Participants identify an acute care clinical setting in their local area in which to complete their practice hours. The healthcare institution will identify and approve a nurse preceptor within that institution. Both the institution and preceptor are subject to approval by the RN Refresher Program Director at least 6 weeks prior to starting clinical hours.

  • Successful completion of the theoretical (didactic) component is a prerequisite for participation in the clinical component of the course.
  • The clinical component must be completed by the course end date, which is 6 months from the course start date.
  • The University of Delaware coordinator will do everything possible to help the participant secure a preceptored clinical experience, however clinical placement is not a guaranteed component of this course.

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Program, Participant, and Preceptor Responsibilities

The Learner shall:

  • assume accountability for identifying own clinical site and preceptor based on established criteria (including timely submission of required clinical data forms).
  • complete required drug test and background check prior to starting the clinical component of the course.
  • complete and return all required clinical documentation to the RN Refresher Program Director. If the institution requires additional information, please refer all questions about these requirements to that institution. The results of any additional information, must be received by the RN Refresher Program Director before approval can be given to begin clinical hours.
  • assume an active role in planning the clinical experience.
  • complete all assignments.
  • be knowledgeable of the expectations delineated in the clinical evaluation tool.
  • complete all evaluation forms (didactic, preceptor, outcomes).
  • be prepared to work 8-12 hours on any shift which could include days, nights and weekends, as part of the clinical practice component.

The Healthcare Institution shall:

  • approve an appropriate staff member to act as the clinical preceptor.
  • promote a desirable learning climate.
  • provide information to faculty (course coordinator) about the agency’s policies and procedures.
  • approve a letter of agreement/contract between the institution and the University of Delaware for the provision of the clinical learning experience.

The Preceptor shall:

  • have a minimum of a BS in nursing.
  • serve as a role model for the learner (RN Refresher student) in the clinical area (hours to be arranged between preceptor and student; preceptor must be present at all times student is in the clinical area).
  • provide the learner with guidance for meeting clinical objectives.
  • provide evaluation of the learner’s progress to the faculty.
  • be present whenever the student is delivering nursing care.
  • agree to be evaluated on the preceptorship by the learner.

The Faculty (Course Coordinator) shall:

  • clarify educational objectives to be achieved during the practicum.
  • communicate with the preceptor as needed to discuss the clinical learning experiences.
  • discuss the progress of the learner with the preceptor as needed.
  • provide preceptor and health agency with appropriate contact information.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How fast can I complete this program?

The didactic portion of the program takes approximately 15 weeks to complete, ending with a final exam administered to all students on the same set date and time. The clinical component follows successful completion of the didactic component and requires 80 hours in an acute care setting with the schedule determined by the participant and preceptor. Clinical hours can begin upon successful completion of the didactic component, and must be completed within six months of the course start date.

Are nursing contact hours awarded upon completion of this course?

This continuing nursing education activity was approved for 90 contact hours by the Delaware Nurses Association, an accredited approver by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation. Effective June 5, 2019.

Can I start my clinical hours early, while completing the didactic component?

Clinical hours cannot begin until 1) successful completion of the didactic component; and 2) all required pre-clinical documentation is completed and permission is given by the RN Refresher Program Director.

Is there a list of clinical competencies to be achieved during the clinical experience?

Yes. These will be the basis for clinical evaluation. This information is available to registered students on the password-protected course website.

Is there a comprehensive written exam?

Yes. Mastery of the online self-assessment quizzes associated with each content topic will provide a strong foundation for success on the comprehensive didactic exam. A proctored final exam is taken at the end of the semester. The final exam is taken on the same set date/time by all participants approximately 16 weeks from the start of the course. Participants living within 125 miles of the University of Delaware’s Newark Campus will be required to take the exam in Newark, Delaware. Participants living more than 125 miles from Newark, Delaware, will complete the final exam remotely via ProctorU, a secure, online proctoring service.

Is it possible to take the didactic component without the clinical component?

This would be your choice, and it would not meet licensure reactivation requirements in Delaware.

Is there a prescribed schedule for the 80 clinical hours?

No. Hours are to be arranged with the preceptor who must be present whenever you are on the unit. A schedule must be shared with the course instructor with completed hours verified by the preceptor. Clinical hours must be completed within six months of the course start date.

How do I contact the course instructor if I have a question about lecture materials or assignments?

Email, fax, and phone contact information is provided on the secure course website.

Where do I find information about the course assignments?

The password-protected course home page will provide links to assignments and other course components.

Where do I purchase the required text and any associated materials?

Purchase information for the required textbook will be sent to you via e-mail shortly after registration.

Once I register and pay the fee, how do I get access to the password-protected website?

Access information is distributed by e-mail a few days before the course start date.

How do I locate a preceptor for the clinical component?

Please notify the RN Refresher Program Manager with the name of your preferred local hospital to complete the clinical experience. If the University of Delaware does not already have a contract with your preferred hospital, it is the student’s responsibility to make the initial contacts.

Can the clinical component be arranged in a long-term care or pediatric facility?

No. The clinical component must be arranged to take place on an adult medical-surgical unit in an acute care facility. However, the didactic component of the course provides updates in the specialty areas including maternal/child, mental health, oncology, gerontology, etc.

Is it possible to repeat the clinical component if I am not successful the first time?

Unsuccessful completion of the clinical component will result in student failure of the RN Refresher Course. If you wish to repeat the course, a new registration form must be completed and accompanied by the required fee.

Would a person who graduated from a nursing program but has not yet taken or has failed the NCLEX exam be eligible for the course?

No. The course is designed for nurses who previously held active RN licenses but have been inactive for a specified period of time. Someone who is preparing to take or retake the NCLEX exam should seek a review course specifically developed for that purpose.

Where are the forms that must be submitted to gain approval for the clinical component?

All forms related to the clinical component are posted on the password-protected course Web site.

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General Information

Registration and Program Cost

Next course start date is June 5, 2019

The RN Refresher course fee covers the theoretical/didactic component of the course. The nonrefundable clinical administration fee applies to all RN Refresher participants registering for the clinical component. All fees are subject to change.

  • RN Refresher course fee:   $950
  • 10% early bird discounted fee (deadline: April 22, 2019):    $855
  • Clinical administration fee (nonrefundable):   $200
  • Additional fees: Additional costs to the participant include the required textbook, as well as any fees imposed by the clinical agency for background checks, drug testing, immunizations, etc. If participant must complete final exam remotely, there is an online exam proctoring fee.
  • Final registration and payment deadline: June 3, 2019
  • Refund policy

Ready to register? First, please complete the RN Refresher Pre-Advisement Questionnaire (required) if you haven’t already. After successfully completing the RN Refresher Pre-Advisement Questionnaire, you will receive enrollment instructions via email. If you’ve already completed the questionnaire and haven’t received enrollment instructions, please write to continuing-ed@udel.edu or call 302-831-7600.

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Approval by state boards of nursing

If the Board of Nursing in the state of licensure requires an RN Refresher course in order to reactivate licensure in that state, it is the student’s responsibility to verify that this course meets those requirements and will be acceptable to that board in meeting those requirements. It is also the student’s responsibility to be aware of any additional requirements for reactivation.

To contact your state Board of Nursing please visit the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.

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Program Timeline

Semester Program start date Didactic component end date / Final exam Clinical component start date Program completion / Completion of clinical hours
Spring 2019 Feb. 6, 2019 *May 23, 2019 *After May 23, 2019 *Aug. 6, 2019
Summer 2019 June 5, 2019 *Sept. 18, 2019 *After Sept. 18, 2019 *Dec. 5, 2019

* Final exam and clinical component start dates for upcoming semesters is estimated and shown here for planning purposes only. Actual dates to be determined.

Online learning format

The didactic component of the RN Refresher program takes place through online learning. Participants view content presentations online, complete assignments and self-assessment quizzes, and communicate with the course coordinator via the course Web site and e-mail. Online learning offers many benefits…

  • Anywhere, anytime accessibility
  • Increased computer competency, a necessity in today’s technological practice setting
  • No scheduling conflicts
  • No transportation or child care costs

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Personal computer skills

Minimal computer skills are required to successfully navigate the RN Refresher course website. If you are not familiar with any of the terms below and/or do not have the knowledge or skills listed below, we recommend you update your computer skills prior to registering for this course. If you are familiar with the following skills and terms, you should be able to complete this online course:

  • Terms: browser, URL, address bar, icon, link, download, scroll bar, menu
  • Skills: navigating the web, use email (including how to send/receive attachments), mouse usage (right/left click, double-click), and working with basic documents in Microsoft Word

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Financial assistance

  • UD alumni and student discount—A 15% discount available to graduates of UD undergraduate and graduate degrees, UD certificate programs and Professional and Continuing Studies noncredit programs; as well as current matriculated UD students (part-time or full-time). To apply discount, call 302-831-7600.
  • Military discount—A 15% discount available to active members of the military as well as veterans. Please provide appropriate ID when registering. To apply discount, call 302-831-7600.
  • Group discount—Enroll two or more individuals from one business or organization in a noncredit professional development program and benefit from a 15% reduction in the total cost of registration. Individuals must register at the same time. To apply discount, call 302-831-7600.
  • Continuing Education Scholarships—Partial funding for a limited number of qualified applicants with financial need. Transcript and proof of income required. For details, write to access-advise@udel.edu. Download the application with instructions.
  • Economic Competitiveness for Delawareans Scholarship—Applicant must be a high school graduate, a currently unemployed Delaware resident collecting unemployment insurance, and financially able to pay half of program cost. Download further details with application.
  • Delaware Workforce Investment Board—Individual Training Account (ITA) grants for continuing education noncredit courses for unemployed or dislocated workers and other eligible applicants. Learn more by contacting your local Delaware Department of Labor One Stop Service Center.
  • Department of Labor One Stop Service Center—After grant approval, contact the UD noncredit registrar at 302-831-7600.
  • Veterans benefits—This program is approved by the Delaware State Approving Agency for the training of veterans. Contact the Veterans Affairs regional office at 1-888-442-4551 to determine your individual eligibility. When eligibility is determined, please submit a copy of your DD-214 (if discharged, VA 22-1990 (if active), or NOBE (if active Reserve or National Guard) when you register for this program.
  • Private loans—Private loans may be an option to pay for noncredit programs, for example, obtaining a loan from your bank or credit union. One option may be the Sallie Mae Smart Option Student Loan (select University of Delaware Noncredit, code 00143198 from the drop-down menu).
  • Tax credits—Taxpayers who pay qualified tuition and related expenses to an eligible educational institution may be able to claim tax credits or deductions on their federal income tax. Call 302-831-1138 for a “Confirmation of Tuition” letter, which can be provided by the University of Delaware noncredit registrar. Please note the registrar’s office does not supply a Form 1098-T, as the Confirmation of Tuition represents accepted documentation.

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Disability accommodations

Disability accommodations at the University of Delaware are designed to provide equal educational opportunities for all Continuing Education students. Reasonable accommodations are provided on a case-by-case basis. Click here for details about requesting disability accommodations.

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