CONTINUING EDUCATION


§ 21.131. Continuing education.

 (a)  Requirement of continuing education. A registered nurse seeking licensure renewal shall complete 30 hours of continuing education approved by the Board during the biennial renewal period immediately preceding the application for renewal in accordance with section 12.1 of the act (63 P.S. §  222) and this subchapter. The Board will not renew a license of a registered nurse who fails to verify compliance with the continuing education requirement. A registered nurse whose license is not renewed by the expiration of the biennial renewal period may not engage in the practice of professional nursing until the continuing education requirements are satisfied and the license has been renewed, reinstated or reactivated.

 (b)  Exception. An applicant applying for initial licensure in this Commonwealth will not be required to meet the continuing education requirement on the first renewal immediately following licensure.

 (c)  Board audits; proof of completion. The Board may perform audits on registered nurses to determine compliance with the continuing education requirements. A registered nurse shall retain documentation of the registered nurse’s completion of continuing education for at least 5 years. A registered nurse shall comply with a request for submission of documents verifying the registered nurse’s completion of continuing education. The following documents shall be retained and submitted upon request:

   (1)  For attendance at continuing education programs or courses, the registered nurse shall retain the certificate of attendance provided by the program or course provider.

   (2)  For academic courses taken from an accredited college or university, the registered nurse shall retain the transcript issued by the educational institution.

   (3)  For publication of a textbook or article, the registered nurse shall retain a copy of the published item, including the date of publication.

   (4)  For a research project, the registered nurse shall retain a copy of the research abstract, letter from the institutional review board granting approval for the research project and list of primary and co-investigators.

   (5)  For school nurses, evidence that the nurse’s certification by the Department of Education is current.

 (d)  Reinstatement of lapsed license or reactivation of inactive license. A registered nurse seeking to reinstate a lapsed license or reactivate an inactive license shall file an application for reinstatement or reactivation and submit documentation to demonstrate that the registered nurse completed 30 hours of continuing education within the biennial period immediately preceding application.

 (e)  Reinstatement of suspended license. A registered nurse seeking to reinstate a suspended license shall submit documentation to demonstrate that the registered nurse completed 30 hours of continuing education within the biennial period immediately preceding application for reinstatement.

 (f)  Carry over. Continuing education hours may not be carried over from one biennial renewal period to the next.

 (g)  Waiver. A registered nurse may request a waiver of the continuing education requirement because of serious illness, military service or other demonstrated hardship. The registered nurse shall submit the request and any supporting documentation to the Board in writing at least 90 days prior to the registered nurse’s license expiration date unless an emergency or hardship occurs within the 90-day period. The Board will grant, deny or grant in part the request for waiver.

 (h)  Disciplinary action authorized.

   (1)  Failure to complete a minimum of 30 hours of continuing education in a biennial period in accordance with subsection (a) will subject the registered nurse to discipline under section 13(b) of the act (63 P.S. §  223(b)) in accordance with the schedule of civil penalties in §  43b.18a (relating to schedule of civil penalties—nurses). A second or subsequent violation will subject the registered nurse to discipline under section 14(a)(3) of the act (63 P.S. §  224(a)(3)).

   (2)  A registered nurse who has not completed a minimum of 30 hours of continuing education shall make up the deficiency within 6 months of receiving notice of the deficiency.

   (3)  Notwithstanding any civil penalty assessed under paragraph (1), failure to provide the Board with documentation demonstrating the completion of 30 hours of approved continuing education within 6 months after receiving notice of a deficiency will subject the registered nurse to discipline under section 14(a)(3) of the act.

   (4)  Failure to comply with an audit request for continuing education documentation may subject a registered nurse to additional discipline under section 14(a)(4)(i) of the act.

Authority

   The provisions of this §  21.131 issued under sections 2.1(k) and 12.1 of The Professional Nursing Law (63 P.S. § §  212.1(k) and 222); amended under sections 2.1(k) and 12.1(a) of The Professional Nursing Law (63 P.S. § §  212.1(k) and 222(a)).

Source

   The provisions of this §  21.131 adopted July 11, 2008, effective July 12, 2008, 38 Pa.B. 3796; amended October 16, 2015, effective October 17, 2015, 45 Pa.B. 6196. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (342918) and (351277) to (351278).

Cross References

   This section cited in 49 Pa. Code §  21.29 (relating to expiration and renewal of license).



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