Continuing education is part of the renewal of registration requirements and may be required for nurses who apply for licensure by endorsement or reregistration.
Continuing education participation period usually means the 24 month interval of time immediately before the renewal application deadline during which a licensee must fulfill the continuing education requirements for registration renewal. The length varies for a licensee's first registration period after licensure or reregistration, beginning with the date of licensure or reregistration and ending on the renewal application deadline date.
Number of contact hours required
During a typical continuing education participation period (24 months) an RN must participate in 24 contact hours of continuing education and an LPN must participate in 12 contact hours.
Activities which may meet continuing education requirements
Continuing education requirements may be fulfilled in one of three ways:
- obtain a current nursing specialty certificate
- participate in continuing education activities offered by providers of continuing education
- participate in certain professional activities
It is the licensee's responsibility to determine whether a current nursing certificate, a continuing education activity, or a professional activity meets the continuing education requirements.
Audits and retaining continuing education records
A licensee must keep continuing education documents for two years after using the continuing education for renewal. The Board of Nursing randomly selects licensees for an audit of continuing education records. If audited, a licensee must submit proof of having met the continuing education requirements. If the licensee is unable to submit the required written information, the unverified contact hours will automatically be assigned to the next reporting period. If the licensee fails to respond to an audit, the Board may consider this as grounds for disciplinary action.
Current Nursing Specialty Certificate
The certificate must be issued by a national nursing or medical organization and must be current at the time you renew. The certifying organization must have standards that include a method for determining you have the knowledge and skill to practice in the specialty. The certificate must be issued after you demonstrate that you meet the organization's standards. The certification can be at the generalist level or the advanced practice level. Recertification must be required. Recertification must be based on meeting periodic continuing education requirements or other competency requirements. A list of certifying organizations is listed below. This list may not be inclusive.
Continuing Education Offered by Providers of Continuing Education
The continuing education must:
- Be designed to enhance your ability to practice nursing.
- Last at least one contact hour (50 minutes). Every additional five minutes is one-tenth of a contact hour. An academic course can be converted to contact hours. A quarter credit is equivalent to 10 contact hours. A semester credit is equivalent to 15 contact hours.
- Be approved by a health licensing board or association or the provider of the continuing education must identify the objectives of the continuing education.
- Be taught by an individual qualified to teach the subject matter of the continuing education.
- Complete the continuing education during your participation period.
- Obtain and keep the evidence of attending the continuing education for two years after reporting the continuing education.
The provider of continuing education must provide in writing:
- The objectives of the continuing education (objectives are not necessary if the continuing education has been approved by a health licensing board or association).
- The name of the instructor.
- The qualification of the instructor.
- The number of contact hours.
- The date of the continuing education.
- A statement of attendance at the continuing education.
Acceptable activities are:
- Publication of an article or book on nursing or health related issues.
- Delivery of a professional paper related to nursing or health care.
- Participation on a professional panel that addressed nursing or health related issues.
- Participation in quality assurance or risk management studies.
- Participation in nursing or health care research.
- Claim no more than 10 contact hours for professional activities.
- Complete the professional activity during your participation period.
- Maintain a copy of the evidence of the professional activity for two years after using the activity for renewal.