Guidelines and Strategies for CNE Faculty

Faculty: Claire M. Maguire, EdM, BSN, RN, NPD-BC, CNOR
President and Education Specialist
Educational Dimensions
Clermont, Florida

Guidelines and Strategies for CNE Faculty was designed by Educational Dimensions, a certified provider of continuing education. Educational Dimensions is an education consulting business, specializing in nursing continuing education, but also offering a wide range of services in instructional design, educational media, and professional development. Educational Dimensions and its partners have been developing and delivering quality continuing education programs related to scientific knowledge, technical skills, patient care and the soft skills found in successful executives since 1991.


eLearning Activity

Guidelines and Strategies for CNE Faculty


When speakers first begin to present educational programs, most will teach as they have been taught, following the example of role models. For many, the primary example is from the schooling they experienced as children. But adults and children learn in different ways. If you attempt to present your program in the same style you were taught as a child, you will not be successful with your audience. There are even specific terms given to the different theories of learning methods: pedagogy refers to children’s style, while andragogy refers to adult learning.


Children are taught through a system of formal education. External controls determine content and method for learning. Children are dependent on the experience of others. Learning is content-oriented, enabling children to progress through the system. Memorization is encouraged.


In contrast, adult learners are self-directed and independent. Adults require some control over their learning experience. Learning is problem-centered rather than content-centered. The adult learner views the “teacher” as a facilitator rather than the source of knowledge.

In order to effectively communicate with your healthcare audience, you must recognize and apply principles of adult learning. The following section contains some adult learning principles which will enhance your classroom experience, along with some suggestions for application.

Adult Learning Principles

When presenting a CNE activity, the principles of adult learning will enhance your presentation and contribute to a successful learning experience. Incorporating the values of time, motivation, experience, relevance, comfort and relaxed atmosphere will better ensure receipt of your important content. Select each section listed to view details of each value.


Adults hate to have their time wasted.

Adults really want to be productive employees. They see themselves as achievers and want to be treated with respect. They view wasted time as disrespectful and obstructive to goal achievement. If you plan ahead for your presentation, you will convey respect for the audience and enhance the learning process.

  • Arrange with your contact person for any audiovisual equipment. Your contact person may not be an experienced educator, so you should be prepared to ask for what you need. Don’t assume (s)he will know what is needed.
  • Find out how many attendees are expected; have enough handouts, evaluations, etc.
  • On the day of the presentation, allow sufficient time to arrive and park at the hospital.
  • Follow expected protocol for visitor check-in. Some hospitals require you to check-in at a particular place to obtain a visitor badge.
  • Locate your assigned meeting room, arrange furniture and equipment to your liking.
  • Display registration form(s) in a convenient location. Bring extra pens.
  • Test the a/v equipment and prepare handouts for distribution.
  • Be ready to start and stop on time.

Adults are motivated to learn when they identify they have a need to learn.

Adult learners can accurately assess their own learning need, which is the gap between present performance level and the ultimate goal. Adults also recognize the learning method which will best help bridge that gap. It is the desire to improve performance through increased knowledge or new behaviors that will drive adult learners. The challenge to faculty comes when learners don’t recognize or agree there is a need to learn. This may occur when they are not aware of the goal or when the goal has been changed.

  • Provide a reason for learning to occur. If learners don’t know the goal, they don’t know what they don’t know. Sounds silly, but it is all too true.
  • If your presentation is a result of a management decision to introduce new equipment, recognize that the decision may not have been communicated to everyone at the staff level. Share that information with participants, so they will realize there is a new goal.
  • If there has been an industry-driven change, you might wish to describe what drove the change. People will appreciate knowing there is a quality improvement process associated with your product and be more open to learning.

Tip: What's in it for me (WIFM)?
WIFM is the radio station playing in your learners’ heads. You will need to answer this question in your presentation.

Adults draw their knowledge from years of experience and don't change readily.

Experience has special meaning to the adult learner and it is related to self-concept. Mature individuals define themselves through a bank of accumulated experiences which they draw on. Asking adults to change practices, procedures or expectations essentially requires them to re-define themselves and it may be a challenge.

  • Be prepared to meet resistance and respect the experience that fuels it.
  • If possible, build on learners’ past experience, linking it to the new expectation or behavior.
  • When appropriate, ask questions related to past experience. This involves the learner in the change process.

Adult interest can be raised through effective use of presentation techniques. Asking provocative questions or incorporating comments and problems from the employees’ own workplace can stimulate interest. You should also know that adults learn through various channels: visual (what they see), auditory (what they hear) and kinesthetic (what they touch or experience). Most people are a combination of learning styles, so using a variety of audiovisuals, providing illustrated handouts and having actual items to handle will appeal to participants. Even if you have a “captive audience”, you still need to exercise your marketing (not sales!) skills.

TIPS: The three channels through which adults learn

Adult learners benefit by relating the assigned tasks to their own learning goals.

If it is clear that the activities they are engaged into, directly contribute to achieving their personal learning objectives, then they will be inspired to engage in projects and successfully complete them. Be prepared to market three things: your CNE activity message, yourself and your product through knowledge.

  • Market your CNE activity through advance advertising. Use the flyers provided by Educational Dimensions to inform audience of the upcoming presentation.
  • Market yourself through presentation of a professional image. Appropriate business attire, neat grooming and a ready smile (yes, even at 0630!) say a lot about you as a professional. Your professional appearance also demonstrates a measure of respect for your audience.
  • Market your product through knowledge, once the CNE program has concluded. Review product information and anticipate questions. Nurses have come to expect written information to back up verbal information. Have the written information available and be sure you are on the same page verbally.

Adults like to be comfortable.

Physical discomfort is a major learning obstacle. In fact, condition of lecture environment is an item that is graded on the program evaluation. Preoccupation with uncomfortable seats, temperature changes or inappropriate lighting will guarantee loss of attention. These factors are frequently beyond your control, but advance planning will help.

  • Ask ahead of time for someone to act as your liaison with the system. This should be someone with good knowledge of the facility.
  • Ask participants for feedback on temperature level. Remember, better too cold than too hot. Get feedback on lighting level. Ask your liaison for assistance. They can run interference by calling about the room temperature or adjusting lights.
  • If changes cannot be made, acknowledge the discomfort rather than ignoring it. Voice your appreciation for their attention despite an uncomfortable situation. Promise to make the education session worthwhile, and then keep your promise.

A relaxed atmosphere facilitates learning.

A relaxed atmosphere puts participants at ease, facilitating learning by creating a feeling of freedom and assurance. When planning the presentation with your contact person, ask if refreshments will be provided by the facility. You may wish to provide them yourself as a marketing strategy. Some facilities do not allow food or beverages in certain meeting spaces; be sure to ask if food is permitted in the CNE room.

  • Ask what kind of food would be appreciated by the group. Refreshments should be simple and should not disrupt or overshadow the presentation.
  • Get an estimate of the number of participants.
  • Allow additional time on the day of the presentation if you need to pick up food. Allow additional time to set up food.
  • Remember to bring necessary napkins, plates or serving utensils.
  • Do your part in helping with clean up afterwards.

Presentations Skills

Presentation skills are as important as content when it comes to ensuring that your message is received. If you have taken a class in presentation skills, you already know this. In this segment, you will examine five categories of presentation skills to guide your development as a speaker or to refresh what you already know.

These skills are:

  • Communication
  • Audiovisual
  • Time management
  • Group dynamics
  • Credibility


We begin at the beginning, with basic public speaking skills such as diction, pacing and grammar.

  • Speak slowly with a round, open sound. Enunciate all vowels and consonants.
  • Pause while speaking. It will keep you from speaking too quickly and give you a chance to take a deep breath, which will enhance projection.
  • Practice your presentation to eliminate ums and ers. You will also want to avoid frequent filler words or phrases like OK, kinda, like, and ya know. Keep your participants focused on your message, rather than on the number of times you say ya know.
  • Avoid use of colloquialism, abbreviations and technical lingo, unless you are sure the entire group is at the same learning level.
  • Use professional language. “Oops, my bad!” is not an acceptable substitute for “I forgot to mention that. I do apologize.”
  • Do a sound check with the people in the back of the room. Project your voice using your diaphragm, not your vocal cords. Better yet, use a microphone if one is available.

In addition to mastering your communication skills, you will want to look at how the group communicates with you. This is known as “pacing the group” and it will tell you when you need to vary your presentation.

  • When faces look blank or no questions are asked, you can ask questions of the group to determine whether your message has been communicated properly.
  • When there is a lot of movement or people are looking at watches, you might have a stretch break. Lead participants in a few jumping jacks or toe touches.
  • When you feel unconnected to the group, establish and return eye contact. Walk around and ask a question: “What experience have you had with this?”

Audiovisuals, whether they are pictures, slides, video, props or even handouts, will enhance learning.

A word of caution … the best use of audiovisuals is to supplement your oral presentation, not take it over. Be wary of overuse.

  • Prepare in advance. Have sufficient handouts, assemble or pack props, load your own slides (right side up, of course!).
  • Know how to use A/V equipment, whether it is an LCD projector, overhead projector, slide projector, flip chart, VCR or microphone. If you need help, don’t be afraid to ask.
  • Allow sufficient time to obtain, set up, and test equipment. Be sure the slide projector remote is working properly, cue up videos and check the sound level. And you should know how to link your laptop to the LCD projector.
  • Adjust room lighting. The lighting should be dim enough to enhance projected visuals but bright enough to allow people to take notes.
  • PowerPoint presentations are great supplements to the lecture, but LCD projectors may not be available. Have a backup plan, like printed overheads or flip charts.
  • Be sure you can find your PowerPoint files on your laptop.
  • When using text bullet slides, don’t read them to your audience. The bullets should summarize content. Your oral presentation can provide a more expansive narrative.
  • Use a laser pointer briefly and only when necessary. Don’t use it to underline words. Turn it off immediately after use. If your hands are shaky, don’t use it at all.

Educational Dimensions CNE activities are professionally prepared, so we will not get into a discussion of slide design, which comes with its own set of rules, believe it or not. But forewarned is forearmed, so just a word of caution about inserting special transition effects and sounds into your PowerPoint presentation: Don’t. Such additions are distracting at the least. They overwhelm, rather than enhance, your presentation.

Time Management

Once you have mastered content and A/V equipment, your next challenge will be timing. When you are in the middle of your presentation, it is easy to misjudge time. The only way you can master timing is through practice.

  • Have an outline and stick to it. Practice the presentation out loud. Time each section of the outline and write it down. If the time taken exceeds the time allotted, you need to streamline the presentation. Don’t just talk faster.
  • Do a dry run with a colleague. Ask for feedback. Give them permission to be critical.
  • Start and stop presentations on time. You will lose the rest of your audience if you repeat information for latecomers, so stick to the outline. You can acknowledge their arrival and promise to catch them up after the formal presentation.
  • If you enjoy audience questions throughout your presentation, invite the group to ask. But if audience questions distract you, ask people in advance to write them down and save for the end. This gives you more control over timing.
  • If the group is large or if you are being taped, repeat questions so the entire group can hear.
  • Questions, no matter when they are handled, may get out of hand. If you allow yourself to get off on a tangent with a complicated answer for a single person, the rest of the group may get bored. A good technique for handling troublesome questions is “the parking lot”. This can be a flip chart or just a piece of paper used to write down the question for future response. Let the questioner know that you want to save the question for the end of the presentation, so you can give it your undivided attention. And be sure to do just that.
  • Some faculty like to start their presentations with a promise that they will end five minutes early. This technique sets a positive mood right from the beginning, but it is only good if you can keep the promise, so remember to practice.

TIPS: How do you discourage participants questions and interruptions during a presentation?

One idea is to distribute pencils and index cards before beginning and ask that they write down questions and comments. Set aside time at the end for discussion.

Group Dynamics

Take time to greet entrants before the presentation and assess learner experience level up front. Ask questions to determine specific learning needs. Give and receive feedback. Sometimes known as working the crowd, this “schmoozing” may prevent any unpleasant situations.

  • Provide accurate information quickly.
  • It’s OK not to know an answer. If you don’t know, don’t make it up. But don’t say “I don’t know.” Say instead “Good question – I’ll get back to you” and then do it. Or use the parking lot to save it for the end.
  • If things get difficult, acknowledge difficult situations. If your audience is a “tough crowd”, how will you manage them and still finish your presentation? Remember the parking lot? Use it to table uncomfortable situations and ask involved personnel to stay after the session to discuss the issue. A one-on-one venue may be sufficient to defuse the situation. If not, be prepared to listen to concerns. Just because someone is abrasive does not mean their ideas are not valuable.

Last but not least is credibility.

Establish your credibility as a content expert from the outset. Even if you are introduced by your liaison, re-introduce yourself to the group by mentioning relevant experiences. Demonstrate your knowledge… of anatomy and physiology…of safety related to product use or procedure…of patient privacy issues.

  • Reveal, through your presentation, your knowledge of the roles and particular responsibilities of health care team members. You should be aware of who does what on the team.
  • Learn from the audience with each presentation; incorporate pertinent information into future presentations.
  • Challenge yourself to improve your presentation so you don’t get bored giving the same one over and over.

Inservice and Continuing Education

It is recognized that educational activities play an important role in marketing, establishing loyalty and enhancing company image. To that end, education programs have been developed for presentation to your nurse and allied health clients. It is important that you recognize your educational activities as value-added service. Offer them to your customers in the same way you would offer to sell your other products.

You probably already know the terms inservice and continuing nursing education, but there is a difference, and you will wish to understand that difference.


Inservice Education=

activities intended to assist the professional nurse to acquire, maintain and/or increase competence in fulfilling the assigned responsibilities specific to the expectations of the employer.

Basically it means information required by a person in order to do their job properly at a specific place. An inservice can be delivered to a group or one-on-one. It can be scheduled during a dedicated time frame (e.g., monthly inservice time) or it can be quite impromptu.

In order to illustrate the concept of inservice, let’s look at an example:

“ Hey, Jim…I missed yesterday’s education program. What gives with this ‘new technology’ equipment? Can you show me?”

“Sure thing. Let’s go into the lounge.”

In the example, one staff member asks for help from another staff member: instruction on a piece of equipment owned by that institution. There is no formal process: no advance planning or published objective, no faculty credentialing, no formal evaluation. There is no minimum time frame, no documentation of attendance, and no certificate. Learning will no doubt occur. Jim will provide the information he recalls from his own learning experience. It will probably be sufficient to cover competent operation of the equipment, so it will definitely be an inservice.

Continuing education (CE) =

formal learning activities intended to build upon the educational and experiential bases of the professional nurse for the enhancement of practice, education, administration, research or theory development to the end of improving the health of the public.
It's easier to understand after a little dissection:

  • Formal learning activity implies that there is some advance planning that goes into the design of the program. The activity has to go through a formal process and meet rigid criteria in order to qualify for continuing education credit. There must be documentation that an assessment is done, objectives and content are developed, the speaker is qualified to address the topic and the provider is approved to give continuing education credit.
  • Building on the educational base means that if the RN was supposed to learn it during nursing school, it probably won’t be approved for continuing education credit. An example of this is BLS or CPR; there is no credit authorized for these classes.
  • The content has to enhance overall practice in order to achieve the ultimate goal.
  • Notice that the ultimate education goal is improvement of the health of the public, rather than employee performance.

Continuing Nursing Education (CNE)

The CE process is a dynamic, rather than stagnant, process. The process must be flexible in order to respond to (or perhaps create) changes in nursing practice. CNE can be defined as:

A systematic professional learning experience designed to augment the knowledge, skills and attitudes of nurses and therefore enrich the nurses’ contributions to quality health care and their pursuit of professional career goals.

The same criteria and rigorous process apply.

TIP: What's the  difference between CE and CNE? and what's CME?

CE is continuing education; CNE is more specific: continuing nursing education. CME is continuing medical education, which is not offered by Educational Dimensions.

TIP: What's the difference between a continuing education unit (CEU) and a contact hour? Are they interchangeable?

Although many people use the term CEU, they are not the same as contact hours. Most of the state boards follow the contact hour calculation. In reality, it takes 10 contact hours to make a CEU, so one contact hour equals 0.1 CEU.


It can be difficult to understand the difference between inservice and CE. Some of that difficulty stems from misuse of the terms, which can be observed in some of the following statements:

  • “We have weekly inservices. You can give your program at that time.” This actually refers to dedicated time each week or month, which is set aside for education. Some of that might be inservice (product presentation), some of it might be continuing education, some of it might be quality assurance or competency validation. Just because you give your program during that dedicated time, doesn’t change your CE program into an inservice.
  • “I have an inservice that gives contact hours.” Inservice programs are not eligible for contact hours, which can only be issued when a program has gone through the CE process.
  • “I have an inservice that gives CEUs.” CEUs are not recognized by any Board of Nursing. They are not interchangeable with contact hours. In fact, it takes ten contact hours to make a CEU, but more about that later.

As we saw earlier, inservice is an informal learning activity that delivers information required by a person in order to do their job properly at a specific place. Continuing education is a formal, planned learning activity, built on the educational and experiential bases of the professional nurse, with appropriate faculty. It has an evaluation process to ensure improvement and a tracking method to maintain participant records. It awards contact hours upon successful completion and issues a printed certificate to acknowledge that fact.

You will find many of the required continuing education elements reflected in a sample advertising flyer for Educational Dimensions’ activities, seen here.

Educational Dimensions
is pleased to present
New Concepts in Pain Management
Speaker: John Stone, BS
Field Manager

The role of healthcare in pain management is evolving at every step, from patient assessment to evaluation of effect. This one-hour CNE activity is intended for the registered nurse. It will focus on recent changes in health care policy and technological innovations involving pain management.

Upon completion of this program, participants should be able to:

Discuss recent JCAHO mandates related to pain assessment.
Describe potential complications related to pain management technology.
Provider approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing, the District of Columbia Board of Nursing, the Florida Board of Registered Nursing, the Georgia Board of Nursing and the West Virginia Board of Examiners for Registered Professional Nurses. Upon completion of the entire program, participants will be granted 1 contact hour. No partial credit will be granted.

Date: December 10 Time: 0700
Location: St. Elsewhere General Hospital Cafeteria
101 Easy Street, Sunny, California

Contact: Jane Smith @ (555) 555-5555 or

Successful completion: Participants must attend the entire program, including any resulting Q & A.

Conflict of interest: Planners disclose no conflict of interest. The speaker discloses a relationship with the commercial support entity, thereby declaring a conflict of interest.

Commercial company support: Fees are underwritten by education funding provided by XYZ Medical.

Non-commercial company support: None.

Alternative/Complementary Therapy: None.


The flyer provides evidence that some thought has gone into the education planning process. Rather than education on-the-fly, there is advance notice of the upcoming event, with a qualified speaker who has undergone a vetting process by the Provider. There’s a brief description of the program and the rationale for development, along with specific learner objectives. Although the technology may include a brief description of “how to use that…?”, the focus will be on regulatory requirements, prevention of complications and safe patient care.

The flyer will inform participants of what they must do in order to earn contact hours (not CEUs). There will be a statement describing exactly what constitutes “successful completion”, to avoid any misunderstanding. This is particularly important if a certain grade must be achieved on a post-test, or if participants are expected to demonstrate a skill.

The “provider statement” will let RNs know who accredited the provider. The importance of the provider statement is often overlooked, but it is critical. It tells nurses whether the contact hours can meet their particular need, such as re-licensure or specialty re-certification.

Whether the contact hours are applicable in a particular circumstance, is dependent on the agency who requires the CE. For example, an RN wishing to use those contact hours for California re-licensure must be sure that any program attended in California is provided by a California Provider.

Continuing Education Process

The CNE process involves teamwork, collaboration, research, expertise, goal development, quality factors and many other behind-the-scenes activities. It is important for you to know that producing a CNE activity is a major undertaking, but you don’t have to know everything. So, for your information, here are some important points about your CNE activity.


CNE Credentialing

Credentialing refers to the process the programs undergo. In order to qualify as continuing education, your programs have already undergone a rigorous process known as CNE Credentialing. Your knowledge about the process may assist you in establishing credibility and addressing questions.

  • Objectives and content are developed. Content is related to the scientific knowledge or technical skills required for the practice of nursing, or related to direct or indirect patient care. Content topics must relate to each learning objective. So, if a learner objective calls for people to describe a certain treatment or procedure, there must be content addressing that treatment.
  • Time frame is important. There must be enough time to accomplish your teaching goal. A difficult psychomotor skill or complex concept requires more time to practice or assimilate.
  • Learning methodologies are established. Normal methodologies include lecture, handouts, overheads, video, etc. The best strategy includes a mix of techniques to prevent learner boredom.
  • A bibliography is required and it must be less than five years old, to ensure timely material.
  • Documentation to support the program (advertising flyer, registration form, evaluation) is developed.
  • Faculty credentials are validated and documented using a Faculty Biographical Data Form. You will find one at the end of the module. RN faculty are expected to have a BSN or significant documented experience with the education topic. Non-RN faculty should show evidence of specialized training in the subject area and have at least one year of teaching experience in the last two years. Presenters must have documented qualifications that demonstrate their education and experience in the content area they are presenting. Expertise in subject matter is based on education, professional achievements and credentials, work experience, etc. There is one in the back of this module. You will be required to fill it out and initial in the space provided next to the statement of vested interest. Educational Dimensions CNE activities may only be presented by faculty who are credentialed by Educational Dimensions.
  • Contact hours are assigned. Courses less than one hour (sixty minutes) in duration are not acceptable.
  • Criteria review is the final step in a “live” activity. An objective nurse planner who has not been involved in development of the activity, double-checks the work of the planning committee to ensure compliance and program quality.

Once programs are credentialed, they can be presented by credentialed faculty. CNE programs are welcomed by busy educators, so your programs may be given priority in a crowded education schedule. Use the advertising flyer to market your program and stimulate interest.

TIPS: Difference between Category I and Category II programs

In some states, the programs credentialed by that state’s credentialing body are designated differently from programs credentialed by another body. Both categories are acceptable, but there is a limit to the number of Category II (another process) contact hours acceptable for relicensure.

There is an accreditation statement on the Educational Dimensions flyer giving information on the provider’s accrediting bodies. This may answer any questions posed to you…for example, if someone asks for a provider number you can find it on the flyer. You may always feel free to contact Educational Dimensions with your CE questions (352-536-9015 or send us an email)


Certification refers to the distribution of participant certificates by the provider (Educational Dimensions). It all begins with the registration form, which is used to communicate necessary information. You should include the date of the presentation, program title and the city and state of the presentation (and all other requested information). Ask participants to legibly print name, RN license number and address. Illegible names lead to incorrect certificates and dissatisfied customers.

In addition to the registration information, participants should submit a completed evaluation. Be sure you have the right evaluation for your presentation, since the objectives are specific for each program. Save a bit of time to allow participants to complete evaluations at the end of the program and encourage participants to fill out the comments section. Evaluations are great feedback for you as a presenter so be sure to review them before submitting to Educational Dimensions. Submit the registration form and completed evaluations through the channels established by your employer. Some faculty like to make a copy of the registration form before submission, just in case. Please do this only if you have a secure place to keep the document. You should maintain document security until safely discarding. Shredding is highly recommended.

Certificates are processed within 4-6 weeks of receipt of the registration documents. If you can, personally deliver the certificates to your customers. It is an additional marketing opportunity and your customers will love it!

TIP: License number or social security required - which one should be used?

When nurses and other allied health personnel apply their contact hours to re-licensure or recertification, the body overseeing this process makes the rules. They determine which number should be used.

Your nurse participants can provide guidance on this, but unless otherwise indicated, Educational Dimensions uses the RN license number. When auditing licensees, most organizations use the license number to track RNs.

A word about security...Participants are concerned (and rightly so) about security related to license and social security numbers. As a faculty member, you should be aware of confidentiality and security issues surrounding the registration form. Keep the forms safe until turned over to Educational Dimensions. At the provider’s end, we follow stringent security guidelines to protect participant information. Name lists are not distributed or sold.

TIP: When can participants expect to receive their certificates?

A lot of this has to do with you, the speaker. Although providers are mandated to remit certificates within ninety days following program completion, if you forward documentation with all required information in a timely manner, you can normally expect a four to six-week turnaround.

Record Maintenance and Quality Assurance

You probably have heard the old adage: The job isn’t finished until the paperwork is done. There is a lot of paperwork with CE. Meticulous recordkeeping involves program documents, participant lists, statistics, summaries of evaluations, measurement of evaluation outcomes, policies, etc., etc. As faculty, you would not have to deal with many of these issues, but you would benefit from a general knowledge of these issues.

Record maintenance

Program records are maintained by Educational Dimensions for eight years following program completion. In addition to fulfilling mandated requirements, this enables rapid response in the event of audit.

What’s being audited? When registered nurses renew licenses or recertify, they submit a list of CE programs with provider information. The licensing or certifying body may contact the providers to confirm award of contact hours. Providers are required to respond with information in a timely manner.

Some states will audit the programs, requiring all the documents and records for a program. This might include flyers, Faculty Biographical Data Forms, registration lists and completed evaluations.

Quality assurance

Educational Dimensions maintains ongoing quality assurance through evaluation tracking and biennial program recredentialing.

  • Evaluation tracking involves review of program evaluations. Evaluation elements are scored using a Likert scale, with 4 = high and 1 = low. Scores are summarized and recorded. Speakers demonstrating a pattern of low scores (70% or less) are contacted to discuss strategies to improve presentation.
  • Biennial recredentialing requires review of program content, bibliography update and revision of objectives as indicated.
  • You must be sure you are using the correct documents. All current documents are dated to ensure the correct information is present. When new evaluations, flyers and registration forms are sent to you, begin to use them immediately. And be sure to discard the old ones.

TIP: Why are evaluations necessary for CNE?
Evaluations are required for CNE and their content is dictated by the approving body. They want every assurance that the end user (the participant) receives the best educational experience.


The issue of compliance is driven by the Federal Anti-Kickback Act of 1997. Myriad guidelines, recommendations and codes have been emerging on a regular basis since then, in an effort to help us all be in compliance with the law. There are penalties for non-compliant companies, those who knowingly or willfully offer anything of value to healthcare professionals with the intent to have the professionals refer patients to a service or item reimbursable by the federal healthcare program. We might imagine that the Affordable Care Act will only serve to expand the scope of federal government oversight. These standards are interpreted to apply to the field of continuing education, so it is important to “know the code”.

As the Provider, Educational Dimensions will maintain ongoing oversight of compliance issues to guide policy, while preserving its focus on creating valuable learning experiences for the professional participant. Your job, as faculty, is to ensure compliance with the law when presenting CNE activities.

Commercial Support

Commercial support received for an education activity must be appropriately used for the activity itself. The support received by Educational Dimensions covers expenses related to the CNE activity, such as program development, maintenance of participant database, management of evaluation statistics and issue of certificates of completion. Social events or meals at CNE activities are not included, and must be maintained as separate (and non-competitive) events. The commercial support is disclosed to participants through advertising flyers and other program documentation developed by Educational Dimensions. Your job, as faculty, is to post the flyer in advance (perhaps in the staff lounge) and again before the program begins (at the registration table).

Commercial Promotion

Commercial exhibits and advertisements are promotional activities and not continuing nursing education. Educational Dimensions does not solicit or administer such activities, but does require adherence to strict guidelines: product presentations or inservices are to be kept separate and distinct from CNE activities. Your job, as faculty, is to ensure that you keep exhibits or inservices separate from the CNE space (i.e. outside the CNE room).

Commercial Bias

The content and format of an Educational Dimensions’ CNE activity will promote quality in health care and not a specific proprietary business interest. Presentations must give a balanced view of therapeutic options. The use of generic names is preferred, in order to contribute to this impartiality. If trade names are used, they should not be from a single company. Your job, as faculty, is to strive for a non-biased presentation of any product mentioned. Any comparison of options should be done in an objective and professional manner.


Disclosures of relevant financial relationships concerning Educational Dimensions and faculty of live CNE presentations are done in writing. Any real or perceived conflict of interest must be disclosed. For this purpose, a real or apparent conflict of interest is defined as having a significant financial interest in a product to be discussed directly or indirectly during the presentation; being or having been an employee of a company with such financial interest and/or having had substantial research support by an industry to study the product to be discussed at the presentation.

Educational Dimensions’ faculty may be owners or employees of the company providing commercial support, or they may receive an honorarium. Having an interest in an organization does not prevent a speaker from making a presentation, but the audience must be informed of this relationship prior to the start of the activity. Educational Dimensions accomplishes this through multiple mechanisms: disclosure statements on advertising flyers, program schedules (if used), and on the first slide of all programs. Your job, as faculty, is to post the flyer prior to the activity and display the disclosure slide prior to participant entry.

When it comes to disclosure, the rule “If some is good, more is better” definitely applies. Although disclosures are in writing on the flyers and slides, making a verbal statement would also be appropriate.

TIP: Disclosures required for CNE prior to activity

  • Successful completion: Participants must attend the entire program, including any resulting Q & A.
  • Conflict of interest: Planners disclose no conflict of interest. The speaker, as an employee, hereby declares a conflict of interest.
  • Commercial company support: Fees are underwritten by education funding provided by XYZ Medical.
  • Non-commercial company support: None.
  • Alternative/complementary therapy: None


Process: Is a post-test necessary for CNE?

A post-test is not a requirement for CNE.

Process: Can contact hours be issued retroactively?

Contact hours cannot be issued retroactively. Programs must be credentialed before contact hours can be awarded.

Speaker: Can I use a physcician as a speaker if one suddenly becomes available?

Speakers must submit a Faculty Biographical Data Form to be recognized as faculty before speaking.

Speaker: Can I use a nurse as a speaker if one suddenly becomes available?

Speakers must submit a Faculty Biographical Data Form to be recognized as faculty before speaking.

Documentation: Can a certificate with a misspelled name be replaced?

The #1 reason for spelling errors on a certificate is illegibility on the sign-in sheet. You are most likely familiar with the saying “garbage in, garbage out” and this is a good example. Be sure to review the registration forms before submission. Rewrite if necessary. And yes, the certificates can certainly be replaced. There is a replacement fee.

Rules: Why did CEBroker (Florida) not list the programs I attended?

CEBroker is Florida’s electronic tracking method. The Provider enters the information online by RN license number. If the number is illegible or incorrect (the entire alpha-numeric number is required…that includes any letters before the number, like PN or ARNP or whatever).

Educational Dimensions enters all license numbers without letters as “RN”. If the number is not correct, CEBroker will not accept it and the participant will not receive electronic credit for that class.

Rules: What allied health personnel can use nursing contact hours?

Many allied health personnel are permitted to use nursing contact hours for recertification or relicensure. If you are asked about this, you will need to know the specific association or agency involved. Educational Dimensions can research this and provide a definitive answer.

Rules: Can two or more programs be combined for more contact hours?

Yes, as long as the content delivered in the combined programs is the same as in the two single programs.

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