Commonly Asked Questions Related to Earning "Points"

CRRNs may earn "points" through professional development activites. These activities include continuing education, presentation, academic coursework, professional publication, and community service.

Continuing Education1person left100

Continuing education is defined as learning activities intended to build upon the educational bases of the professional nurse for the enhancement of practice, education, administration, research, or theory development and that have the goal of improving the health of the public.

Examples of continuing education include conferences, workshops, seminars, or independent-study activities such as journal articles, videotape, audiotape, or CD-ROM programs. Please note: 

  • One contact hour equals 1 point of credit.
  • There is no limit on the number of points that can be earned through independent study.
  • There are two requirements for continuing education points of credit:
    • Two-thirds of the contact hours must be approved by a national or state nursing organization.
    • All of the contact hours must be related to rehabilitation nursing.
Nursing Organization Approval

The nursing education approval system can seem complex. Most organizations that meet our definition of a national or state nursing organization have the words "nurse" or "nursing" in their titles. In most cases, the name of the organization that approved the program will be listed on the certificate.

The following definitions might be helpful in preparing your points-of-credit renewal application:

  • Provider: An agency that offers a continuing education activity. It can be a hospital, private company, or local chapter. In some cases the provider can be a national or state nursing organization.
  • Approver: An agency that has reviewed the program and determined that it meets standards for continuing education for nurses. For CRRN renewal, a national or state nursing organization must approve two-thirds of contact hours you submit.
  • Accreditor: An agency that, by following defined standards, reviews another agency and grants it the authority to approve or provide continuing education contact hours for nurses. The most common accreditors are state boards of nursing and the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation (ANCC-COA).

American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation
ANCC-COA is the accrediting arm of the American Nurses Association. ANCC-COA sets voluntary standards for continuing education for nurses and accredits other organizations (including professional associations, private companies, and hospitals) to approve or provide continuing education activities for nurses. While accreditation by ANCC-COA is not required for CRRN renewal, many organizations do use its provider and approval systems. We receive many calls from CRRNs regarding ANCC-COA, and the following information is provided to help CRRNs determine the "approver" of various programs.

If the program provider is accredited as a provider by ANCC-COA, the program's certificate of attendance will contain wording to that effect. One example might be, "Pine Valley General Hospital is accredited as a provider of continuing education in nursing by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation." These hours are acceptable as approved by a state or national nursing organization for CRRN renewal. If you attend a program in which the accredited provider is a nursing organization, that nursing organization is considered to be the approver, and the hours are acceptable for CRRN renewal.

Consider the following scenarios:

You decide to attend a workshop on diabetes management at Midwest Regional Hospital. After you complete the workshop and receive your certificate of attendance, you notice the wording, "Approved by the Generic Nurses Association, which is accredited as an approver of continuing education in nursing by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation." This means that a national or state nursing association has approved the program; "Generic Nurses Association" is the approver, and Midwest General Hospital is the provider.

You decide to attend a workshop on managed care at North Valley General Hospital. In the promotional literature for the workshop, you notice the wording, "North Valley General Hospital is accredited as a provider of continuing education in nursing by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation." This means that North Valley General Hospital is accredited as a provider and "American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation" should be considered the approver; North Valley General Hospital is the provider.

You decide to attend the Generic Nurses Association's national conference. When you receive your certificate of attendance you notice the wording, "Generic Nurses Association is accredited as a provider of continuing education in nursing by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation." This means that the Generic Nurses Association is accredited as an approver and a provider. Please note that in this case, the provider of the program is a national or state nursing organization. Thus, the organization, not ANCC-COA, is both the approver and the provider.

Remember that renewal criteria for continuing education require that two-thirds of the contact hours submitted must be approved by a national or state nursing organization; ANCC-COA accreditation is not specifically required. Not all nursing organizations are accredited by ANCC-COA. Many state boards of nursing have their own approval systems for educational programming. If you attend a program that is approved by a state board of nursing, such approval should be noted on the certificate of attendance, and the state board of nursing should be considered the national or state nursing organization that approved the program. Often, certificates of attendance for programs that have been approved by state boards of nursing will list the acronym, "BRN," which stands for board of registered nursing, followed by a provider number.

National and State Nursing Organizations
(This list is not all-inclusive.)

  • American Association of Critical-Care Nurses
  • American Association of Neuroscience Nurses
  • American Association of Occupational Health Nurses
  • American Holistic Nurses’ Association
  • American Nurses Association
  • American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation (ANCC)
  • Association of Rehabilitation Nurses
  • State boards of nursing (e.g., California Board of Nursing)
  • State nursing associations (e.g., Illinois Nurses’ Association)
  • Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses Society

Non-Nursing Organizations
(This list is not all-inclusive.)

  • American Management Association
  • American Medical Association
  • Certification of Disability Management Specialist Commission
  • Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification
  • Commission on Case Management Certification
  • Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO)
  • National Association of Boards of Examiners for Nursing Home Administrators
  • National Association of Rehabilitation Professionals in the Private Sector
  • The Rehabilitation Accreditation Commission (CARF)
  • Local chapters of national or state nursing organizations
  • Colleges or universities

If the contact hours earned through these organizations were not approved by a nursing organization, the contact hours cannot be considered "approved by a national or state nursing organization."

Programs that are designed to meet the continuing education requirements of a board of nursing but are not specifically provided, approved, or accredited by a national or state nursing organization are not considered nursing-approved.

Related to Rehabilitation Nursing

What does "related to rehabilitation nursing" mean? This is a broader category than most people realize. Consider the following definition:

Rehabilitation nursing is a specialty practice area within the scope of professional nursing. It involves the diagnosis and treatment of human responses of individuals and groups to actual or potential health problems resulting from altered functional ability and altered lifestyle.

The goal of rehabilitation nursing is to assist individuals with disabilities and chronic illness in the restoration, maintenance, and promotion of optimal health. The rehabilitation nurse is skilled at treating alterations in functional ability and lifestyle resulting from injury, disability, and chronic illness.

Rehabilitation nurses provide comfort, therapy and education, promote health-conducive adjustments, support adaptive capabilities, and promote achievable independence. Rehabilitation nurses provide holistic, comprehensive, and compassionate end-of-life care, including promotion of comfort and relief of pain.

Rehabilitation nursing practice occurs in many settings and involves a variety of roles.


Beginning in 2014, renewing CRRNs will be required to validate that the content or topic of each professional development activity is related to rehabilitation nursing by identifying the corresponding domain. The domains are:

  1. Rehabilitation nursing models and theories
  2. Functional health patterns: Theories, physiology, assessment, standards of care, and interventions
  3. The rehabilitation team and community re-entry
  4. Legislative, economic, ethical and legal issues

These domains are based on the content outline for the CRRN examination and cover the scope of rehabilitation nursing.


 Presentations

You may earn points by participating in presentations as an instructor delivering rehabilitation nursing content to nurses and other healthcare professionals. The presentation must be delivered within a structured framework of teaching and learning for which national or state nursing organization-approved contact hours have been awarded. In other words, if the presentation was not approved by a national or state nursing organization to offer nursing contact hours, it cannot be used toward CRRN renewal.

A presentation can be used only once for points of credit. One point is granted for each contact hour (60 minutes) of presentation. A maximum of 12 points of credit will be accepted.

Participation as a presenter may be as a primary instructor, guest lecturer, or panel participant. If the program has other instructors or is a panel presentation, the number of points of credit is equal to the amount of time that you are speaking as the primary presenter.

Presentations as part of a college-level course do not generally meet these criteria and cannot be used toward CRRN renewal.

Academic Coursework

Academic coursework is defined as work for which one receives postsecondary academic credit at the college level that is related to rehabilitation nursing practice. Please refer to the definition of rehabilitation nursing to determine if a course can be consider related to rehabilitation nursing.

Coursework can be at the graduate or undergraduate level. Each credit hour is equal to 4 points of credit (e.g. a 3-credit hour course is equal to 12 points of credit). Up to 48 points will be accepted.

Publications

You will receive 12 points of credit for each original manuscript (journal article or text chapter) published or accepted for publication in a healthcare professional publication. A journal article or text chapter may only be used once for points of credit (i.e. you may not earn points for both the acceptance and publication of the same manuscript). Up to 36 points will be accepted.

Community Service

Volunteer activities in which you participate that are intended to educate the public, improve the quality of life for physically disabled or chronically ill people, or improve the practice of professional rehabilitation nursing. The following are acceptable activities and their point values:

  1. Publication of an article or chapter text: Publication of an article or chapter text on a healthcare-related topic in a general interest or consumer publication. Each original manuscript will be awarded 2 points.
  2. Presentation: Presentation of a healthcare-related topic to a public audience in a formal setting. Each original presentation will be awarded 1 point.
  3. Volunteer leadership in a healthcare organization: Leadership in a volunteer capacity of a local, state, regional, national, or international professional healthcare organization. To qualify, you must have served as an officer or board member for at least 1 year. Each leadership activity will be awarded 1 point. If serving a multi-year term, you may not receive credit for each year served.
  4. Review board participation: Serving in a formally-appointed capacity to review the original work of others as a content expert such as on an editorial board, research or program grant application review committee, continuing education approval unit review panel, or abstract review committee for a term of 1 year will be award 2 points.

    THE FOLLOWING OPTION WILL NOT BE AVAILABLE AFTER DECEMBER 31, 2014
  5. Volunteer service: Involvement with organizations that directly serve people with physical disabilities or chronic illness. The organization’s primary purpose must be to serve individuals with physical disabilities or chronic illness (a statement to this effect must be in the organization’s mission statement). If part of a larger organization, the main organization must meet this requirement. The volunteer service must involve direct contact with the client population, event planning, or volunteer training and must be limited to one specific event or activity. Activities involving fundraising are not allowed. Each event or activity will be awarded 2 points. If participating in a regular event (e.g., yearly, monthly, weekly), the volunteer service may be used only once for points.

A maximum of 10 points will be accepted. You may not receive credit for activities for which you receive payment for your services in excess of $75 or activities that are considered part of your employment.

Record-keeping

It is helpful to organize your records as you earn points, so that you know how many more points you need, as well as to save time when applying for renewal. Be sure to keep your certificates of attendance. It is an unfortunate event when, after collecting points for 5 years, a CRRN is unable to locate his or her certificates of attendance and does not know how many points he or she has accumulated!

Refer to the list of nursing organizations and categorize your certificates as being issued by nursing-approved programs or non-nursing-approved programs. Keep in mind that as you review your certificates you are looking for phrases such as "approved by," "accredited by," or "BRN provider." (Important note for CRRNs living outside of the United States: Because of differences in continuing education approval systems in other countries, you are not required to earn points that have been approved by a national or state nursing organization while you are not a U.S. resident.)