Continuing Education for the Nurse
Continuing education in nursing, as defined by the State of Texas, is "programs beyond the basic preparation that are designed to promote and enrich knowledge, improve skills, and develop attitudes for the enhancement of nursing practice, thus improving health care to the public" (BON, Rule 216.1(9)).
In 1991, rules were adopted by the Texas Board of Nurse Examiners (now named the Texas Board of Nursing) requiring nurses to acquire 20 contact hours of continuing education (CE) every two years as part of their relicensure process. At that time, CE was classified as either Type I (a program that had been approved by one of the Board's credentialing agencies) or Type II (a program that had not been pre-approved by one of the credentialing agencies).
The 80th Texas Legislature mandated some changes in Rule 216 of the Board's Rules and Regulations. Nurses are still required to acquire 20 contact hours of continuing education every two years as part of the relicensure process. However, Type I and Type II were eliminated in favor of "acceptable" and "unacceptable". Acceptable CE, that which will be recognized by the Board to meet the 20 contact hour requirements, are programs approved by one of the Board's credentialing agencies or an academic course that leads to an academic degree in nursing.
More information on Rule 216 and a list of the Board's approved credentialing agencies, other than the Texas Nurses Association, can be accessed at www.bon.state.tx.us.
The Auditing Process for the Nurse
The Texas Board of Nursing (BON) randomly audits nurses to monitor compliance with Rule 216.
A nurse who is selected for audit will be notified 90 days prior to his/her license renewal month. Within 30 days of the notification, the selected nurse must submit his/her documentation of CE compliance to the BON for review.
Failure to satisfactorily complete the audit or falsification of records is considered unprofessional conduct, and the nurse can be subject to disciplinary action.