Frequently Asked Questions:
CONTINUING EDUCATION | DISCIPLINE | LIST OF NURSING SCHOOLS
Twelve (12) contact hours are required to renew annually.
All licenses expire October 31 of each year.
(1) Will I continue to renew my RN license annually?
Yes. You will continue to renew your license annually by October 31st. However, you only report your continuing education (CE) activities at the time you RENEW your license.
(2) What is a contact hour? Is it the same as a CEU?
A contact hour is equivalent to 50 consecutive minutes of instruction. A CEU (continuing education unit) equals 10 contact hours or 500 minutes of instruction. The official unit of measure for CE in West Virginia is the contact hour. If you are in doubt about how many contact hours an offering is, count the number of actual instructional minutes, NOT including lunch, breaks, introductory activities or business portion of the meeting, and divide by 50.
(3) Where can I find approved continuing education activities?
You may contact the inservice departments of hospitals and nursing homes, as well as the CE departments of colleges and universities in your area to find out what is available. You should also watch for announcements in nursing journals, the mail, newspapers and other forms of media.
Associations such as the West Virginia Nurses Association or any other provider accredited by American Nurses Credentialing Center, are recognized as approved providers of continuing education programs for purposes of meeting the CE requirements. In addition, the Board will maintain a list of registered CE providers.
(4) Can I use the education credit which can be earned through professional magazines?
Yes. Programmed instruction, presented in nursing or in other appropriate professional journals, and approved through a national accrediting organization can be used to fulfill the CE requirement.
(5) Will college credit be accepted to meet CE requirements?
Yes. Courses provided by an accredited institution of higher learning for which academic credit is awarded can be used to satisfy the CE requirements, providing they are relevant to your nursing practice. The following formula is used to calculate contact hours from credit hours:
1 Quarter hour = 10 contact hours
1 Semester hour = 15 contact hours
(6) Can I use courses taken to fulfill CE requirements for a nursing certification to fulfill the Board CE requirements?
Yes. Continuing Education courses completed to meet requirements for a nursing certification may also be used to meet the 12 hour Board requirement.
(7) What are the various ways I can earn CE hours?
1. Attend approved CE activities, workshops, seminars and conferences dealing with issues related to your nursing practice;
2. Enroll at a college or university in courses relevant to your nursing practice;
3. Take home study/correspondence courses or complete the continuing education offerings in professional nursing journals, and/or;
4. Read professional journals and other available nursing literature. (You may identify 2 of the 12 contact hours required in each reporting period as learner designed. This means that a total of 2 hours of reading or other programmed instruction may be claimed although it has not been approved for CE for nurses and a certificate was not received.
You should be certain that you can identify the contributions of the learning activity as they relate to your professional growth. You must keep a record of the hours claimed which includes name of the article or instructional unit, publisher/author and date of the publication. You will need this information if you are audited.
With the new legislative rules beginning in 2008, completion of 12 contact hours of CE may be accomplished by:
1. Completing 12 contact hours of CE from an approved CE provider; or
2. Completing 6 contact hours of CE from an approved CE provider which may include 2 contact hours of self-study and one of the following completed during the reporting period:
A. National certification initially earned or in effect the entire reporting period;
B. Completion of a nursing research project as principal investigator, co-investigator or project director;
C. Published a nursing related article in a national nursing or healthcare journal;
D. Developed and presented a professional nursing education presentation;
E. Participated as a clinical preceptor for at least one student or one new employee undergoing orientation and have one hundred-twenty hours of one-on-one relationship as a clinical preceptor during the reporting period;
F. Evidence of satisfactory evaluation of employment that covers at least six months of the reporting period; or
G. Completion of an approved nursing refresher or re-entry course.
(8) What if I want to take a CE activity not targeted to nurses? Will it satisfy the CE requirement?
CE activities targeted at health care professionals other than nursing may be acceptable if the activity meets the minimum standards of the board for CE activities, and you provide a statement regarding how the activity is relevant to your nursing practice. That statement should be maintained with the certificate of completion of the activity. You will also be required to justify relevance of that activity to your nursing practice if you are audited.
(9) Do I have to take CE classes each year?
Yes. You may take 12 contact hours all at one time through one class or spread the hours over the reporting period by taking several classes.
If I accumulate more than the required number of contact hours in a reporting period can I use them during the next reporting period?
No. Contact hours or other credits may not be carried forward to the next reporting period.
(10) How will I know if a CE activity is approved?
The Board issues a WVBRN provider registration number to those who agree to maintain minimum standards as approved providers. Registered providers are then required to include their WVBRN provider registration number on program announcements and on certificates issued to RNs who complete an approved CE activity. The Board recognizes the West Virginia Nurses Association or any other provider accredited by the American Nurses Credentialing Center as an approved provider of continuing education programs for purposes of meeting the requirements of this rule. The Board shall consider written requests to designate other individuals, local, state or national agencies, organizations and associates as approved providers.
A CE activity should meet the definition of continuing education and the provider standards that are in the CE legislative rule (Title 19 Series 11). As an example, if you initially take an ACLS or PALS course and are awarded contact hours from an approved provider, you may use this for purposes of licensure renewal. If you attended a course that renews your ACLS/PALS certification and there is no new information, this would not meet the definition of continuing education and you would not use this CE for purposes of licensure renewal. However, if you attended a course that renews your ACLS/PALS certification and there is new information, you may use the portions of the CE activity that are new and meet the definition of CE and provider standards. Remember that one contact hour is equivalent to 50 minutes of instruction. Also, you may only count the activity in the year that the CE is completed. Also, the CE rule changed and removed the restriction on CE courses required by the employer. So, even if the employer requires the CE courses (from an CE approved provider), they can be counted.
(11) How will I know if an activity meets the minimum requirements?
Most of the requirements can be evaluated by carefully reading the published brochure for the activity. If you require further clarification, you should contact the activity provider.
(12) Are there any exemptions to the requirement?
1. A licensee obtaining a license for the first time in West Virginia during the reporting period is exempt from the CE.
2. A licensee who is a government employee assigned to duty outside the United States or serving on active duty in the military for more than three months of any reporting period is exempt from the continuing education requirements for the entire reporting period.
3. Licensees who qualify for a medical exemption due to personal or family illness or disability will be permitted to apply for exemption. (This exemption may not extend beyond a single reporting period and may be prorated based on the length of illness or disability.)
(13) What if I place my license on the inactive status or allow it to lapse?
1. There will be no CE requirements if you place your license on the non-practicing (inactive, retired) list, prior to the expiration date of a current license, or if the license expires and becomes lapsed.
2. To reinstate a lapsed or non-practicing (inactive, retired) license you will be required to complete a reinstatement application, pay the current fee based on your status and meet CE requirements.
(14) What records will I have to keep?
For CE: You must keep all certificates received after completion of a CE activity as well as transcripts or other proof of completion.
(15) How long should I keep CE records?
All evidence to support completion of CE offerings you attended must be retained for 2 years after the date it is reported to the Board. You may be audited on this information at any time during that 2 year period.
(16) When do I send in CE information?
DO NOT SEND CERTIFICATES OF ATTENDANCE FOR CE WITH YOUR RENEWAL APPLICATION. The Board will not retain or return the certificates. You will only send certificates, transcripts or other proof of CE if you receive notice that you are being audited.
(17) What is an audit?
An audit is an official review by the Board of CE offerings you attended. Each year a random sampling of licensees will be audited to verify CE activities. If you are audited you will be required to submit legible photocopies of certificates, transcripts or other documentation of completed CE activities.
(18) What are the minimum standards for CE activities?
Continuing Education Compliance Checklist:
1. The activity must be at least 50 minutes/1 contact hour in length.
2. CE programs shall reflect the educational needs of the nurse in order to meet the health care needs of the consumer and may consist of one or more of the following subject areas:
a. Professional nursing practice and special health care problems;
b. The biological, physical, social and behavioral sciences;
c. The legal aspects of professional nursing practice;
d. Management of health care personnel and patient care;
e. Teaching and learning process for health care personnel or for patients; and
f. Subjects relating to professional nursing practice which are required as part of a formal nursing program and which are more advanced than those completed for original licensure.
3. Written objectives, in measurable terms, are prepared and made available to participants.
4. Content relates to the program objectives and nursing or health care.
5. Instructor qualifications are provided in writing to participants.
6. A written schedule is provided to participants which indicates content and corresponding time frames.
7. Activity announcements contain the WVBRN provider registration number or other indication that it is approved for CE credit.
8. A written method is established to determine whether the participant has achieved stated objectives of the activity.
9. A certificate of completion is provided to participants.