Date of Award
Dissertation - NSU Access Only
Doctor of Education
Center for the Advancement of Education
The purpose of this study was to develop a plan for mandatory continuing education for Registered Nurses in the State of Louisiana. This plan for mandatory continuing education was adopted by the Louisiana State Board of Nursing in September of 1990 as a requirement for the annual re-licensing of practicing nurses. The intent of this plan was to mandate Registered Nurses, through continuing education, to maintain their knowledge and skills in order to safely practice nursing in the State of Louisiana. Continuing education for nurses throughout their licensed careers is an issue receiving increasing attention. In most jurisdictions, licensure to practice merely assures that, at the time 0f initial licensure, the nurse is able to pass a state-approved examination affirming the attainment of a minimal degree of entry- level competency necessary to ensure that the public health, safety and welfare will be reasonable protected. Once licensed in those jurisdictions, a nurse has only to pay a fee to renew the license. Evidence of current practice and knowledge is not required. The development of this plan for mandatory continuing education for Registered Nurses involved the assessment of the following research questions: 1. What are the essential factors reflected within the literature that should be considered by a state board of nursing contemplating the establishment of mandatory continuing education requirement? 2. What are the essential element to be considered related to methods of assuring competency? 3. How can such a requirement assure the attainment of current knowledge, skills, and abilities that are necessary to re-enter the profession after a significant period of absence from the profession? 4. How can such a requirement mechanism be incorporated into the Board’s disciplinary process? 5. What should be the essential provisions of a continuing education program for Registered Nurses to assure a practical and obtainable approach for updating knowledge and skills of license? The population surveyed for this Major Applied Research Project included a 3.5 percent stratified sample of the Registered Nurses (N=29,793) licensed in the State of Louisiana. The data were obtained by using a state-wide survey of Registered Nurse in Louisiana. Separate surveys were administered to employers of Registered Nurses in Louisiana and senior student nurses enrolled in nursing programs in Louisiana. The results of this study indicated that mandatory continuing education be approved by the Louisiana State Road of Nursing as a prerequisite for licensure, re-instatement of a license or endorsement from another state into Louisiana. The results of the literature survey and the random sample survey of the Registered Nurses indicated that a regulatory process should address all practice areas, a systematic method of recording contact house, a defined number of contact hours, requirements to re-enter practice and a method of validation. Seventy-four percent of the nurses strongly supported continuing education to measure continued competency, while seventy-seven percent of the employers surveyed favored continuing education as a measure of continuing competence. The overall recommendation for the developed plan for mandatory continuing education was adopted by the Louisiana State Board of Nursing in September, 1990. There were several other recommendations from this study to the board of nursing. It was recommended that the board replicate this study two years after the first renewal period requiring evidence of continued education. It was further recommended that the board evaluate the effectiveness of this plan as it relates to the disciplinary process currently in place. The Louisiana State Board of Nursing was requested to consider in the future the utilization of computer diagnosis and individualized prescriptions for alleviating knowledge deficits in the clinically and academically inept practitioners. Finally, the results of this study were made available. To the National Council of State Boards of Nursing and the Federation of Regulatory Boards to be placed into their data banks.