RNs will be required to complete 30 hours of CE (Continuing Education) for licensure renewal. New regulations can be found in the PA Bulletin. Frequently asked questions about nursing continuing education are available on the Board of Nursing web site.
The first group that will be required to complete the 30 hours of CE will be RNs whose license expires beginning October 31, 2010. The 30 hours of CE must be obtained between 11/1/2008 - 10/31/2010. Any CE done prior to the renewal period will not count.
All RNs must track their own CE hours. The State Board of Nursing is not expecting hospitals or facilities to keep track of CE hours for each nurse. We recommend that you keep all certificates, transcripts, etc. for up to 5 years. Each certificate should have the following:
- your name
- the course title
- the number of CE hours awarded
- the date(s) of the activity (*date counted is date completed)
- the provider of the activity
- the name of the organization which approved the activity
Upon renewing the RN license, whether on paper or online, the RN will check Yes or No that they have fulfilled their 30 hours of Continuing Education hours. DO NOT submit your CE certificates with your renewal. Within a few months after renewal, a random audit will be performed on a percentage of nurses, determined by the Bureau, to show completion of 30 hours of CE. (Instructions will be given with the audit announcement to send only certificates of hours completed.)
Approved Continuing Education Activities include: (not all inclusive)
- Activities sponsored by accredited hospitals and health care facilities accredited by Joint Commission or Department of Health
- Activities sponsored by national nursing, medical, osteopathic and other health care professional organizations and their state and regional affiliates
- Activities approved by a Board in another jurisdiction (ex., another state)
- Board-approved professional nursing, CRNP, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist, CNS, or Nurse Midwifery educational programs
- Board may approve other sources of CE on a case-by-case basis (ex., if you publish an article, if you repeat the same approved course twice in 2-year renewal time)
- Taking tests after reading articles that offer CE
- Self Study Packets (pre & post tests)
- ACLS / PALS acceptable
- Basic Arrhythmia and Critical Care Classes acceptable
- Patient Safety, Restraint, Phlebotomy education acceptable
- Academics coursework: (submit transcript if requested)
- 15 CE hours per 3 credit course (2 semester year)
- 12 CE hours (3 semester year)
- 10 CE hours (4 semester year)
- If also meeting CE for National Certification Organization - make sure CE meets both State and National requirements and timeframes (to use same for both)
Unacceptable CE Course Content (includes nonprofessional course content)
- Self improvement (time management, stress management)
- Changes in attitude
- Financial gain (retirement planning)
- Courses designed for lay people
- BLS (Basic Life Support - including Health Care Provider)
- Mandatory annual education on facility specific policies
- Employment orientation programs (Fire Safety, Infection Control, etc)
- Teaching a class
Hospital Product Vendors / Drug Companies / Seminars are approved if related to patient care, nursing in general or specialty area (ex., Nursing administration, Stroke, Trauma, Specialty Education)
If you are setting up a program - determine how many hours and who will sign the certificates. If you participate in the same program that you set up, have a supervisor sign your certificate. If you are a lecturer, adjunct professor or teaching program - that statute does not speak to receiving CE hours for your own RN license.
AMA Credits - nurse can use 1:1 ratio
If you would like to check if a course would be approved - course can be submitted for a charge of $75 per CE hour
1 continuing education hour = 50 minutes of continuing education activity.
.5 CE = 30 minutes of continuing education activity.
If 30 CE hours are not completed by renewal date:
- A 6-month period will be given to complete CE hours, then a fine will be assessed.
- 1 - 10 CEs not completed = $250 fine
- 11 - 20 CEs not completed = $500 fine
- 21 - 30 CEs not completed = $1,000 fine
- A 6-month period will be given to complete CE hours
- If still incomplete after 6 months - case goes to professional compliance office
- It is up to the disciplinary board as to revoking the RN license
- To be added to the distribution list for licenses being revoked - email Mmarshall@HAPonline.org
21.31f waiver of continuing education (Illness, Military, etc) - submit 90 days prior to approval
At this time there is no projection of a law for LPN to get CE.
Records should be kept for 5 years. It is better to have more than 30 hours in case they question certain ones.
Web Sites That Provide Free CEs
The Web sites listed below are just a few of the many sites you may find on the Internet. You can use the addresses listed below or decide to find other sites on your own.
You can click on a Web address and view the programs that are available for CE credit. Some sites may ask you to create a login and a password to access the programs. Remember to print a certificate when you complete a course and keep all your certificates together in a safe place.