CE Writer's Guidelines

We are looking for courses that are timely, relevant, and compelling for practicing healthcare professions, including nurses, physicians, pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, dietitians, occupational therapists, physical therapists, respiratory therapists, social workers, EMTs/paramedics, laboratory technologists, radiologic technologists, certified surgical technologists, audiologists/speech-language pathologists, fitness professionals, athletic trainers, certified health educators, psychologists and certified medical assistants. Prospective authors should be able to demonstrate their expertise in the subject matter through experience, education, or both. To understand the tone, style, and format of our CE courses, go to our courses page or https://www.continuingeducation.com/ and review a few of them.

The Manuscript

To be considered for continuing education, a transcript must include the following items:

  • An abstract. (150-200 words)
  • A one-sentence goal statement for the module, separate from the narrative. For example: "The goal of this program is to provide nurses with information about the incidence, etiology, identification and treatment of abdominal trauma."
  • When the target audience is the interprofessional team (two or more disciplines), the content should address one or more of the core competencies for interprofessional collaborative practice. (see Tips for Writing Interprofessional Continuing Education Activities):
    • Values/ethics for interprofessional practice
    • Roles/responsibilities for collaborative practice
    • Interprofessional communication
    • Interprofessional teamwork and team-based care
  • Three measurable objectives, using action verbs that require readers to demonstrate their understanding of the topic by completing an online exam. For example:
    • Identify three factors that…
    • Discuss four nursing interventions…
    • Describe two ways patients…
  • A clinical vignette (See "Tips for Writing a Clinical Vignette")
  • An introduction (lead) that packs a punch and captures the reader's attention. If you use a case study as a lead, make it succinct and directly related to the topic. If possible, use a case study (or studies) involving an actual patient scenario, but do not use real names.
  • An original, researched, referenced manuscript of about 6,000 words, written in a conversational style. (The word count is for the main text and clinical vignette only. Do not include the objectives, references or exam in the word count.) The clinical vignette should be from 400 to 450 words. The text must provide current, advanced, testable information on clinical or professional topics relevant for practicing healthcare professionals. Manuscripts must be in the Relias writing template provided.
  • A complete reference list, including book or journal titles, dates, and page numbers, with in text citations in American Psychological Association (APA) style (6th edition). An average number of references in a 1.0 contact hour course is 25, however, use the number of references necessary to support the course. The reference list should contain at least five sources published within the last 5 years. Generally, 75% of the references should not be more than 3 to 5 years old. If a digital identifier (doi) number is available, include it. Any specific drug-related information (doses, adverse effects, etc.) should be taken directly from the package insert and a disclaimer in language similar to the example provided must be inserted at the start of the program. This disclaimer must contain the date the package inserts were accessed. Example: All drug-specific information cited in this program is standard from the manufacturer package inserts accessed (Date package insert was accessed).
  • A test: At least 12 multiple-choice questions with four responses each with the correct answers indicated. Test questions should cover the learning objectives and concepts covered in the course. Emphasize the correct answer, not incorrect, i.e. Do not use: Except, Which is false, etc. Provide one to five succinct points of explanation for the correct answer of each of the 12 exam questions. (See "Tips for Writing Test Questions")

NOTE: Authors must guard against plagiarism. All transcripts are reviewed with a robust plagiarism checker program. The dictionary defines plagiarism as, “an act or instance of plagiarizing” and plagiarize as, “To steal and pass off (ideas or words of another) as one’s own; use (another’s production) without crediting the source.”* To avoid plagiarizing, you must credit the journal articles, books, websites, and any other sources you drew information from by citing them in the reference list. Even if you reword/paraphrase, a citation and reference are still needed. Changing 2-3 words in a sentence is not enough to qualify as paraphrasing. The idea must be explained in your own words. If you use someone else’s exact words, put quotation marks around the quoted information, list a page number if available (books, pdf sources), and list the source in your reference list.

*Plagiarism. Merriam-Webster.com Web site. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/plagiarism. Accessed December 17, 2019. Plagiarize. Merriam-Webster.com Web site. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/plagiarizing. Accessed December 17, 2019.

The Submission Process

  • Potential SMEs work with our vendor coordinators to contract writing CE courses.
  • Continuing education accrediting requirements require a signed disclosure statement and CV or resume be reviewed before development of the activity. Additional signed forms include an independent contractor agreement, statement of work, and W-9.
  • You would work with an assigned Relias member throughout the writing process to keep the project on task. Several revisions of the draft course may be required.
  • Paid peer reviewers (experts in your subject matter) may be used to rigorously review your transcript. Additionally, the transcript will be reviewed and edited several times to ensure accuracy of content and adherence to course requirements.


Honoraria for work completed is determined by each individual project.

For More Information

Vendor Coordinator

Tips for Writing Interprofessional Continuing Education (IPCE) Activities

Interprofessional Continuing Eduation (IPCE) should be designed to address gaps in the healthcare team's collaborative practice. Collaborative competencies are those needed in addition to individual profession competencies and are needed to provide quality patient care in the current practice environment. Collaborative practice competencies include:

  • Values/ethics for interprofessional practice
  • Roles/responsibilities for collaborative practice
  • Interprofessional communication
  • Interprofessional teamwork and team-based care


  • Determine the change needed in the healthcare team's current collaborative practice (skill, strategy or performance) to achieve the desired patient outcome(s) related to the educational activity topic.
    • What is the desired healthcare team best practice related to the topic?
    • How is the team currently interacting/performing related to that best practice?
    • What change is needed to bridge the gap between current and best practice?
    • What knowledge, skill or attitude related to the healthcare team function will you address to close that gap?
    • What barriers exist to achieving the needed change? These may be organizational/system, personal or professional in nature.
  • Identify goals/objectives that include how the interprofessional team should collaboratively deliver care after completing the learning activity.
  • If one of the barriers relates to role confusion or misunderstanding, consider including a discussion to clarify roles and the desired best practice.
    • How do roles/individual professional competencies overlap, differ or complement each other?
    • When is it appropriate to make a referral to another team member?
    • What model of communication would benefit team functioning and achievement of patient centered goals?
  • How would you approach delivery of the content to enhance understanding of the team roles and joint functioning if you were teaching the content face to face to an interprofessional audience? Can you adapt that to a written format?
  • Consider using case scenarios and a clinical vignette to model the desired collaborative practice competency.
  • Include test questions that require critical thinking and application of collaborative competencies. A minimum of two questions must be directly related to the interprofessional content.


Interprofessional Education Collaborative. (2016). Core competencies for interprofessional collaborative practice: 2016 update. Washington, DC: Interprofessional Education Collaborative. https://www.tamhsc.edu/ipe/research/ipec-2016-core-competencies.pdf. February 23, 2018.

Owen JA, Schmitt JH. Integrating interprofessional education into continuing education: a planning process for continuing interprofessional education programs. J Contin Educ Health Prof. 2013;33(2):109-117. doi:10.1002/chp.21173.


Tips for Writing a Clinical Vignette

Create a clinical vignette of 400 to 450 words reflecting information in the module and testing the reader's knowledge. Include four multiple-choice questions with a rationale for the correct answer. Below is an example.

Clinical Vignette

Mr. King arrives in the ED at 2 a.m. with SOB. Vital signs are 154/92; 98-112-30. Lungs have bibasilar crackles up ½ posteriorly. Oxygen saturation by pulse oximetry is 90%, and his heart reveals an S3. The monitor shows sinus tachycardia. An initial B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) assay is 1,650 pg/mL. He receives furosemide (Lasix) 40 mg IVP and O2 at 3 L/min via nasal cannula. He diureses 500 mL of urine. At 6 a.m., he goes to telemetry with a diagnosis of heart failure. Admission vital signs are 122/74; 98-102-24. Lungs have bibasilar crackles. The monitor shows sinus tachycardia. He receives enalapril (Vasotec) 2.5 mg PO. At 10 a.m., BP is 106/60. He diureses 600 mL of urine. A repeat BNP assay is 1,100 pg/mL.

1. In telemetry, the initial nursing assessment of Mr. King should include:
a. Chest X-ray
b. Oxygen saturation
c. ECG
d. Echocardiogram
Answer: B.
On admission, O2 sat is only 90%.

2. The BP on admission to the telemetry unit was lower because of:
a. Diuresis
b. Circulating BNP
c. Tachycardia
d. Oxygen administration
Answer: A.
Diuresis decreases excess circulating volume and lowers BP.

3. The BP decreased after administration of enalapril as the result of:
a. Excretion of excess sodium
b. Excretion of excess volume
c. Systemic vasodilatation
d. Increased contractility
Answer: C.
Ace inhibitors produce vasodilatation, lowering BP and decreasing the workload on the failing ventricle.

4. BNP levels decrease in response:
a. Vasodilatation
b. Increased contractility
c. Increased blood pressure
d. Decreased volume
Answer: D.
BNP decreases in response to diuresis and loss of excess circulating volume.


Tips for Writing Test Questions

  • Keep the questions, answers and points of explanation brief.
  • Make all questions multiple choice with four possible options, "a," "b," "c" and "d."
  • Remember that test questions should measure mastery of the objectives. After you have written the test, check that it includes questions relating to each objective.
  • Make sure the one correct option is derived from the narrative and defensible as the best answer.
  • Be certain that the three incorrect options are plausible.
  • Do not write "multiple-multiple" questions, that is, those that present a list of options, then ask the test taker to choose "a and b," "a, b and c," etc.
  • Avoid the options "None of the above" and "All of the above." Also, avoid phrasing questions in the negative, for example, using "all of the following EXCEPT" or "which of the following is NOT."
  • Try to avoid questions that require a learner to simply remember a statistic or figure which would depend on memorization instead of comprehension. Avoid examples such as, “How many cases of HIV/AIDS were recorded in the U.S. in 2018?” However, a more appropriate question might be, “The prevalance of HIV/AIDS is: (a-d) decreasing, slightly increasing, significantly increasing, remaining about the same”
  • Use the same terminology in the test as in the narrative. (For example, if the narrative refers only to "hypertension," use "hypertension," not "high blood pressure," in the test.)
  • Be sure the order of questions matches the sequence of information in the narrative, e.g., question No. 1 should correspond to the information appearing in the narrative first.
  • Avoid using words in the correct option that are also found in the stem (the first part of the question). Doing so provides "clues" to the correct answer.
  • Make sure options are not mutually exclusive. For example, if option "a" reads, "Slows the heart rate," and option "b" reads, "Increases the heart rate," these two options are mutually exclusive. The test taker can be reasonably certain that "c" and "d" are extraneous, and that either "a" or "b" is the correct answer.
  • Be sure that one or more of your options are not included in another option. For example, if option "a" reads, "Affects the heart rate," and option "b" reads, "Slows the heart rate," option "b" is actually included in option "a." Thus, if "b" is a correct response, "a" is also.
  • Provide one to five points of explanation for the correct answer of each of the 12 exam questions. The points of explanation should not be a simple restatement of the answer — rather new information and content from the module related to what the question is covering. Your explanation points should be succinct. For example:
    1. Three risk factors for suicide include:
    a. Male, alcoholism, and depression
    b. Female, married, and high income
    c. Female, living in a city, and on welfare
    d. Female, physical illness, and three children
    Answer: A
    Males complete suicide at a rate four times that of females. The risk of suicide in alcoholics is 50% to 70% higher than in the general population. A relationship exists between depression and suicide: The risk of suicide is increased by more than 50% in depressed people.
  • Include an answer key.



  • Should mostly reflect APA style formatting for references (https://apastyle.apa.org/style-grammar-guidelines/references)
  • Should be consistent with each reference
  • APA rules would usually have you list references in alphabetical order.
  • (APA Formatting) Capitalize all major words in journal titles only. For titles of books, chapters, articles, or webpages, capitalize only the first letter of the first word of a title and subtitles and proper nouns.
  • DOIs and URLs should both present as hyperlinks. All works that have a DOI should include DOI in references, regardless of print or online version being used. If a work has a DOI and URL, only include DOI.
    • Use shortDOI service (http://shortdoi.org/) to shorten complex DOIs. Shortened URLs are acceptable as long as link is verified.


Evidence-based Practice Resources: