WACs > Title 246 > Chapter 246-840 > Section 246-840-203
Agency filings affecting this section
Continuing competency requirementsâActive status.
(1) Continuing competency applies to registered nurses and practical nurses licensed in Washington state who hold an active license. To renew an active license a registered nurse or a practical nurse must complete the following continuing competency requirements every three years:
(a) Document compliance with the continuing competency requirements every three years. Beginning January 1, 2014, and every three years thereafter, each nurse must sign an attestation on a form provided by the department of health declaring completion of the required active nursing practice and continuing nursing education hours. Each nurse will have a full three years to meet the requirements. The review period begins on the first birth date after receiving the initial license. Nursing practice means the performance of acts requiring substantial specialized nursing knowledge, judgment, and skills described under RCW 18.79.040, 18.79.050, and 18.79.060. For purposes of the continuing competency requirements, the commission recognizes "nursing practice" as being performance in either a paid or unpaid position requiring a nursing license.
(i) A minimum of five hundred thirty-one hours must be in active nursing practice, which may include working as a nursing administrator, nursing quality manager, nursing policy officer, public health nurse, parish nurse, home health nurse, nursing educator, nursing consultant, nursing regulator or any practice requiring nursing knowledge and a nursing license.
(ii) A minimum of forty-five hours must be in continuing nursing education.
(iii) Compliance audit is a review of documents to determine fulfillment of requirements. A continuing competency compliance audit requires a nurse to submit documents demonstrating five hundred thirty-one hours of active nursing practice and forty-five hours of continuing nursing education over a three-year review period.
(A) Continuing nursing education is defined as systematic professional learning experiences obtained after initial licensure designed to augment the knowledge, skills, and judgment of nurses and enrich nurses' contributions to quality health care and his or her pursuit of professional career goals.
(B) Continuing nursing education hours should relate to the nurse's area of professional practice or areas identified through reflection and self-assessment for professional growth and development.
(C) Continuing nursing education hours may be obtained through mentorship, certification, presentations, and specialty certification.
(D) Complete continuing nursing education. Each nurse must complete a minimum of forty-five hours of continuing nursing education in the previous three-year review period.
(E) There are various types of continuing nursing education activities. Some involve participant attendance where the pace of the activity is determined by the provider who plans and schedules the activity. Others are designed for completion by the learner, independently, at the learner's own pace and at a time of the learner's choice.
(F) One quarter credit equals ten to thirty hours. One semester credit equals fifteen to forty-five hours, depending on documentation from the educational institution.
(b) The hours may be accumulated in a single year or spread throughout the three-year review period.
(c) Nurses are encouraged to complete the self-assessment and reflection process when selecting education and training opportunities. This assessment and reflection is for the nurses' own professional development and professional competence. The assessment and reflection is not submitted to the commission.
(2) Failure to complete the attestation every three years may be grounds to deny the license or place the license on expired status according to WAC 246-12-010 (11)(b) and chapter 34.05 RCW.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 18.79.010 and 18.79.110. WSR 10-24-047, Â§ 246-840-203, filed 11/24/10, effective 1/1/11.]