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 professional nursing or medical organization and must be current at the time the continuing education report is submitted. Certification to meet reregistration requirements for any previously deferred contact hours is not acceptable. The certifying organization must have standards that include periodic continuing education or other competency certification requirements. The certification may be for initial certification or for recertification. Certification may be for advanced practice registered nursing or for generalist professional nursing practice. A list of certifying organizations is provided 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 0.25 contact hours (15 minutes). A contact hour is equal to 60 minutes. Academic credit may be converted to contact hours. Each quarter academic credit is equivalent to 10 contact hours; one semester academic 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 activity.
- Be taught by an individual qualified by education or experience to teach the content.
- 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 learning objectives for the activity. If the activity is approved by a health licensing board or health-related professional association, it is not necessary to provide the written objectives to participants.
- The name and qualifications of the instructor.
- The number of contact hours.
- The date of the activity.
- The title of the activity
- A statement that verifies participation or certificate of completion. A provider may elect to cluster learning activities that are less than one full contact hour under one set of learning objectives. The provider must provide in writing:
- The objectives
- The list of learning activities that are less than 60 minutes and linked to these learning objectives
- The qualifications of the instructor
- The amount of a partial contact hour for each specific learning activity.
The following professional activities are accepted as continuing education activities:
- Publication of an article in a peer-reviewed journal or book on nursing or health care related issues.
- Delivering a professional paper related to nursing or health care.
- Serving as a member of a national panel that addresses nursing or health care related issues
- Serving as the principal investigator or coinvestigator for a nursing or health care related research study
- Complete this activity during your participation period.
- Maintain a copy of the evidence of the professional activity for two years after using the activity for renewal.