Florida nurses renewing their licenses will now instantly learn if they have completed the required continuing education credits and be able to self-report for free any additional credits earned through the Florida Department of Healths [email protected] initiative.
Everybody is now being audited, said Darlene Titus, RN-BC, MSN, clinical education coordinator at Holy Cross Hospital in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., which automatically reports CE hours taken to CE Broker, the system the Board of Nursing uses. When it comes time for renewal, the nursing board will go to CE Broker, look at their record and make sure everything is there. If so, they are done, and if not, they are notified.
The Florida legislature passed a law in 2001 requiring the Florida Department of Health to implement an electronic CE tracking system for biennial renewal cycles and to integrate that system into the licensure and renewal.
We entered into a relationship with CE Broker to develop a system to support that, and once it was in place, we started the integration component, said Lola Pouncey, chief of the Bureau of Operations at the Florida Department of Health.
Phasing in the program
The board will phase in the [email protected] program. An optional phase, during which nurses can renew even if they do not have all of their credits, is now functioning. The mandatory phase will begin in early 2015. At that time, if the system shows the nurse lacks the necessary hours, the licensee will not be able to renew.
RNs are required to take 24 hours of live or home study courses, including medical errors and a laws and rules course, beginning for licenses expiring in 2015. A two-hour domestic violence course every third renewal cycle also is required.
The department has embarked on an educational campaign to educate nurses about required CE credits. Representatives are visiting hospitals and other large employers to spread the word and help practitioners use the online tool. Information is available about the requirements and approved courses at the boards website and at CEBroker.com.
Its not the system causing the issues, but [nurses] understanding of the continuing education requirement, Pouncey said. There are resources to go to learn about the requirements.
For more information, visit http://www.floridahealth.gov/licensing-and-regulation/ce.html.