Continuing education (CE) is a required part of being a licensed nurse. These courses aren’t just good to have to expand and deepen your base of knowledge. They’re required to keep your license.
The California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN) mandates 30 contact hours of CE every two years for license renewal, and courses must be taken through a CE provider recognized by the board. Anyone who doesn’t meet the CE criteria can face disciplinary action.
Let’s look at some issues related to CE that could result in disciplinary action and the potential loss of your license.
Lying about meeting the requirements
This could result in charges of unprofessional conduct that are punishable by a fine, censure, reprimand, probation and/or denial of license renewal.
Obviously, intentionally falsifying information on your license renewal application is a serious offense. Some nurses, however, unintentionally run afoul of the renewal requirements.
Not including required topics
How seriously the board takes this oversight will depend on how it happened. A nurse can face disciplinary action as well as a fine. If a nurse fails to include a required topic in their CE, any license renewed as a result is considered invalid.
Taking an unapproved course
This, too, can be an honest mistake. However, it makes any license renewal that followed invalid if they didn’t meet the required hours. If the board determines that there was no intention to deceive it, the nurse could still face a fine and be required to take additional CE hours.
Remember that nursing boards can audit nurses’ CE records. That’s how they can learn about a nurse’s failure to take the required CE hours and courses. It’s also possible for someone to file a complaint to the board about a nurse’s failure to adhere to the CE requirements to remain licensed.
It’s essential to make sure that your courses meet the requirements and ask questions if you’re not sure. If you find yourself facing possible disciplinary action by the BRN related to your CE requirements for license renewal, you may be wise to seek legal guidance.