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Who Needs a Minnesota Nursing License?

The state laws determine whether or not a Minnesota nursing license is required.
  • Every person who practices professional nursing in Minnesota must hold a Minnesota registered nurse (RN) license or temporary permit and every person who practices practical nursing must hold a licensed practical nurse (LPN) license or temporary permit.
  • Only licensed nurses (RNs and LPNs) may use any abbreviation or other designation such as "nurse" which implies licensure.

  • The description of what constitutes violations of the nurse practice act is found in Minnesota Statutes Section 148.281 subdivision 1.

What is the penalty for practicing nursing without a current, valid Minnesota license or temporary permit?

Except for the exemptions described above, Minnesota law classifies violation of the mandatory nurse licensure laws as a gross misdemeanor which shall be punished according to legal requirements by the criminal justice system.

If you have a question about registered nurse or licensed practical nurse license requirements, contact nursing.board@state.mn.us.

Are there exceptions to the mandatory nurse licensure laws?

Yes, the Nurse Practice Act includes eight exemptions. Board rules contain further elaboration in Minnesota Rules Part 6305.0300.

A Minnesota nursing license is not needed when a person is

  • furnishing nursing assistance in an emergency.
  • practicing nursing in a United States government bureau, division or agency as long as the nurse holds a current, valid license in another state.
  • holding a license and practicing another occupation or profession, and performing acts properly coming within the scope of the occupation, profession or license.
  • performing nursing or nursing-related services as a nursing assistant, has been delegated the specific function and is supervised by a registered nurse or monitored by a licensed practical nurse. Supervision and monitoring are defined in MN Rule Part 6321.0100 subparts 2 and 3.
  • caring for the sick in a nursing home which purpose is to provide care and treatment by spiritual means in lieu of medical care. See MN Statutes Section 144A.09.
  • practicing nursing in Minnesota as part of a course while enrolled in a formal, structured course of study if the nurse is currently licensed in another state.
  • practicing nursing as part of a course to prepare the student for licensure as a registered nurse or licensed practical nurse.