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Refresher Course - LPN

Refresh your knowledge

This self-study refresher course was developed to assist the inactive nurse in updating knowledge and skills. It allows one to move with confidence into a nurse orientation program and return to practice.

The independent study refresher course is offered as a nursing continuing professional development distance education program and may be completed in one's home community at a pace and time that best meets the individual’s needs. The refresher course is not a college credit-granting program. The course is taken to pursue professional re-certification of a nursing license.

"This was a very good and challenging course. It has been 27 years since I first attended nursing school, completing this course has given me the confidence that I need to continue my nursing career."

- Former LPN Refresher Course participant, Louisiana

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number of theory hours (completed online)

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maximum time for course completion

12 months
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minimum Number of clinical hours

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program fee


Course Structure

The objectives of the course are to provide an opportunity for participants to:

  • Recognize current philosophy, social and economic trends and objectives in nursing today.
  • Review previously acquired nursing skills and identify their evidence base for practice.
  • Recognize the functions of the LPN/LVN in assessing patient needs and in implementing individualized care.
  • Review and identify therapies, procedures, current diagnostic and treatment measures and patient care needs for selected medical and surgical conditions.
  • Demonstrate dosage calculation to selected client situations.

The program is ongoing. Participants may enroll at any time.

A desktop or laptop computer is required when taking exams. A Chromebook is not recommended. iPads, iPhones, Tablets, etc. are not permissible. Chromebook are not recommended. The system requirements are:

  • Windows 10, 11
  • Mac OS 10.12 or higher

It may not be possible to access exams when using a computer operating system that is not listed above.

All course materials and theory module exams are delivered online through Desire2Learn (D2L) and Assessment Technologies Institute (ATI) supported modules. The participant will complete course review and exams at a time and location of their choosing. Participants are required to have camera access on their computer when taking a module exam in D2L. This webcam may be included in the participant’s computer or an added accessory. A webcam is not provided by SDSU and will be an additional cost to the participant. When logging in to take an exam in the course delivery system D2L, the participant will initially download the safe and free software application Respondus Monitor and LockDown Browser. This application will provide participant verification and testing security measures and video the participant while an exam is taken. Once an exam is accessed, the participant’s browser will be locked to prevent other software applications or web pages to run or be accessed.

Theory Component

The online theory component of the LPN independent study refresher course utilizes a textbook and online interactive ATI products. The theory portion is arranged into 10 major modules in D2L, with an examination at the end of each module. ATI activities are assigned in modules five through 10 to augment the textbook learning. Three ATI products included with the course will focus on skills, pharmacology and dosage calculation. Completion of theory involves successful completion of all D2L and ATI module tests

Theory Overview

Module 1 – Foundations and Settings

Module 2 – Personal, Environmental Health and Safety

Module 3 – Development Throughout the Life Cycle

Module 4 – The Nursing Process and Focus Studies

Module 5 – Adult Care Nursing (Part 1) and selected ATI pharmacology

Module 6 – Adult Care Nursing (Part 2) and selected ATI pharmacology

Module 7 – Adult Care Nursing (Part 3) and selected ATI pharmacology

Module 8 – ATI Skills/Client Care (Part 1)

Module 9 – ATI Skills/Client Care (Part 2)

Module 10 – ATI Pharmacology and Dosage Calculation and Safe Medication Administration

Module Tests: A reading outline is provided for the participant to use to guide learning, for test preparation and may be used for testing. Modules one through nine contain multiple choice examinations. Each examination contains 25 questions in varying formats such as true/false, multiple choice or multiple select. Participants get two opportunities to successfully complete each module post-test with a score of 76% or greater. If a score of less than 76%is attained on post-test A, the participant will re-enter the test A submission to review incorrect answers, refer to textbook content as noted in rationale and review the module material again before completing post-test B. If a score of 76% or greater is not obtained on either post-test A or B, the participant will be dismissed from the program.

ATI Pharmacology Made Easy: There are eleven pharmacology modules are assigned in modules 5 through 7. Each pharmacology module includes a welcome/introductory, lessons, activities and case study. The post-test contains twenty-five NCLEX-style questions to assess knowledge acquisition.

ATI Skills: Nineteen required ATI Skills provide learning opportunities related to the requirements of a nurse in various clinical settings and are assigned in modules 8 through 10. The ATI Skills provide in-depth information and visual cues for each learning experience. ATI Skills are designed with a pre-test, completion of learning modules, then followed by a post-test. Case studies in the form of practice challenges are included with each module. The modules will support the participant’s skill-building, apply the theoretical and evidence-based information and instill confidence in the understanding of skills. Participants will also complete four virtual ATI Skill scenarios: HIPAA, nutrition, pain assessment and vital signs.

ATI Dosage Calculation and Safe Medication Administration: This ATI product is an interactive, media-rich, online tutorial that is designed to help the participant learn the basics of safe medication administration. The dosage calculation series improves comprehension and critical thinking skills in relation to safely calculating medication dosages. The 7 assigned modules include activity questions interspersed throughout the material to provide practice problems, in which the participant receives immediate feedback with rationales provided for both correct and incorrect answer choices along with equations to reinforce learning.

For all ATI exams, the participant must receive a score of 76% or greater. If a 76% is not attained on the first attempt, participants will re-take the test as often as needed until a passing score of 76% or greater is achieved.

Final Medication Calculation Test: The participant will take a medication calculation test in D2L at the end of theory in module ten, and before proceeding to clinical. The test includes ten questions that require the participant to calculate and document their answer. A practice medication calculation test is available for participants to help prepare for the final test and may be utilized as many times as needed.

Three opportunities are allowed to successfully complete the medication calculation test with a score of 100%. The participant will take test A. If a score of less than 100% is attained on test A, the participant will reenter the submission, review questions answered incorrectly noting their rationale, and review ATI modules as needed. After review, the participant will take test B. If a score of less than 100% is attained on test B, the participant will reenter the submission, review questions answered incorrectly noting their rationale and review ATI modules as needed. When participant is ready for the final attempt, test C, the participant will email instructor the date and time they request to take test C. The instructor will open test C for participant completion. If a score of less than 100% is attained on medication calculation tests A, B and C, the participant will be dismissed from the program.

Clinical Component

Arranging for the clinical experience is the responsibility of each prospective participant. Work to secure a verbal commitment from a clinical site is required prior to requesting enrollment in the course. The prospective participant must employ professionalism in all phone or email communication with the healthcare site.

Prospective participants will make the initial contact to request and secure that the facility can provide a clinical experience. After a verbal commitment is achieved, enrollment in the course can begin. SDSU staff will contact the clinical site to establish the required affiliation agreement after participant enrollment.

Hours Required

A minimum of 80 clinical hours is required for course completion. If the respective state board of nursing requirement is more than 80 hours, this requirement will be adhered to during the clinical experience.


Where required, a limited license must be obtained from the state board of nursing during the clinical component of the refresher course. The limited license allows nursing practice under the direct personal supervision of a licensed registered nurse identified as the clinical preceptor. The limited license is only valid for a specific time period and may not be used for gainful employment.

Clinical Plan and Pre-Clinical Requirements

When preparing for clinical, the participant will submit a completed clinical plan to SDSU. This one-page form will be reviewed and may be approved after the following pre-clinical requirements are uploaded and approved in the participant’s CastleBranch account. When all pre-clinical requirements are met, the clinical plan is approved and a date range for clinical hours will be set. The start date for clinical will be a minimum of 10 business days after approval, or longer if work to complete a required affiliation agreement with the site is still underway.

Pre-Clinical Requirements

  1. Copy of Government issued photo identification card (submitted with enrollment)
  2. FBI Background Check with Fingerprinting (completed with enrollment application)
  3. Online Background Check (completed with enrollment application)
  4. Multi-Waiver Release Form
  5. Measles (Rubeola) Immunity
  6. Mumps Immunity
  7. Rubella (German Measles) Immunity
  8. Varicella Immunity
  9. Hepatitis B Immunity or Waiver
  10. TB skin test
  11. Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis Immunity
  12. Influenza Vaccination – required during flu season October - March
  13. CPR Certification for the Professional Rescuer / Health Care Provider
  14. Proof of Personal Health Insurance Coverage
  15. Professional Liability Insurance
  16. Drug Screening (10 panel – current within three months of beginning clinical)
  17. Temporary Permit or Limited License (where required)

Participants that elect to complete only the theory portion of the course will not open a CastleBranch account to obtain the above pre-admission or pre-clinical requirement (ie 2-17 above). A copy of a government issued identification card may be submitted with the enrollment application.

Successful Course Completion

The participant must successfully pass both the theory and clinical components to complete the refresher course. Upon successful completion, a certificate will be mailed to the participant. A copy of the certificate will be sent to the participant’s Board of Nursing to document successful completion of the course.

If a participant is unable to successfully complete either the theory or the clinical portion, this will result in failure of the refresher course. Appeals to have the opportunity to retake course exams or the clinical experience are not guaranteed and will be handled on a case-by-case basis. No participant will be allowed more than two opportunities to successfully complete clinical. Any dismissal from the course for academic reasons is appealable pursuant to University Policy 2:4.

Completion Time Frame

The participant is permitted one year to successfully pass both the theory and clinical components to complete the refresher course. If the course is not completed within the one-year deadline, participants may purchase a one-time extension for $500. The extension adds three months for course completion. A request to extend must be received within 30 days of the course end date. After this period of time, re-enrollment with payment of the program fee and background check is required.

Course Enrollment and Cost

Admission Criteria

The refresher course considers enrollment from prospective participants in the following circumstances:

  • Formerly licensed LPNs who wish to reactivate their nursing licensure.
  • Currently licensed LPNs who desire to refresh their knowledge or skills in the profession, due to time away from practice.
  • Unlicensed LPNs who have successfully completed an LPN education program however have not yet successfully completed the NCLEX-LPN exam. Admission for this participant is accompanied by the requirement that s/he must successfully complete the NCLEX-LPN exam prior to receiving approval to begin the clinical component of the course.

Conditional Admission

Admission to the clinical portion of the refresher course is conditioned on the results of the background checks completed through CastleBranch and acceptance into clinical placement determined by a health care agency.

If a prospective participant has been convicted, pled guilty or no contest to, or received a suspended imposition of sentence for a felony or other criminal offense, or is under disciplinary action with their current or former Board of Nursing, the participant is advised it may not be possible to be accepted into the refresher course at SDSU. Participants may be denied reinstatement from their state Board of Nursing, from taking the required licensure exam, and/or may be prevented from gaining employment in the field of nursing.

Participants that elect to complete only the theory portion of the refresher course are not required to open a CastleBranch account to complete the background checks.

Technical Standards

CNE program participants must be able to independently, with or without reasonable accommodation, meet identified technical standards for enrollment in and successful progression through the refresher course program. These requirements pertain to participant conduct regardless of the setting (ie didactic, clinical, phone or email communication, etc). Please review the identified technical standards.

See the enrollment page for details.

Item Cost
Program fee $1700
CastleBranch pre-enrollment$148.75
CastleBranch post-enrollment$85.75
TextbookPurchase locally or online
Clinical PreparationVaries per participant
  • Full payment of the program fee is due when the participant is accepted for enrollment. Payment plans are not available. Payment may be made via check, money order or credit card. The accepted credit cards are MasterCard, VISA, American Express and Discover.
  • Program fee includes: access to all course material within D2L and ATI, supervision and coordination of the course, correction of exams, record keeping and Board of Nursing reporting, program advising to course participant, postage and handling for initial and regular course communication and certificate of completion.
  • All refresher course participants must establish an account with CastleBranch, the chosen vendor for document management. CastleBranch is endorsed by the AACN – American Association of Colleges of Nursing, and is the source to submit program pre-admission and the aforementioned clinical requirements. The pre-enrollment package price for CastleBranch covers the two background checks. The post-enrollment package is required for clinical preparation. These are additional costs to the participant and will be paid directly to CastleBranch. The participant will experience variable expenses as they prepare for clinical. Participants that elect to complete only the theory portion of the course are not required to open a CastleBranch account to submit the background checks or pre-clinical requirements.
  • Participants will purchase the textbook "Rosdahl's Textbook of Basic Nursing" 12th edition by Caroline Rosdahl, ISBN 978-1975171339. The textbook may be purchased locally or online.
  • If the participant receives the course materials and decides against continuing, s/he is allowed 30 days from the date of enrollment to notify the CNE office of their intent to withdraw and receive a refund of 70%. After 30 days, no refund will be granted. No refund will be extended to the participant if s/he is dismissed from the refresher course.
  • Participants in this course will not be issued a 1098T from SDSU for qualified educational expenses.

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