CNE Frequently Asked Questions

Contact hours

What content Is eligible for ANCC Continuing Nursing Education (CNE) credit?

The definition of CNE states: "Those learning activities intended to build upon the educational and experiential bases of the professional RN for the enhancement of practice, education, administration, research, or theory development, to the end of improving the health of the public and RNs' pursuit of their professional career goals" (2015 ANCC Primary Accreditation Provider Application Manual).

Providers must develop educational activities that address a gap in knowledge, skills, and/or practices for the professional registered nurse. Content chosen for educational activities must be evidence-based or based on the best-available evidence, and the educational activity must be planned independently from the influence of commercial interest organizations.

Continuing education may be awarded for content provided through orientation, skills training, BLS, ACLS, PALS, or similar if the content addresses a gap in knowledge, skills, and/or practices for the target audience.

Content developed by a commercial interest organization may NOT be used in educational activities awarding ANCC contact hours.


May previously developed content be used?

Content previously developed for an educational activity may be incorporated into educational activities for continuing nursing education credit within the following guidelines:

The Nurse Planner and Planning Committee must:

  • Conduct an independent needs assessment of the target audience.
  • Identify previously developed educational content that meets the learning needs of the target audience.
  • Develop new learning outcome(s) independent of any prior outcome(s) for the content or possess evidence why previously developed learning outcome(s) did not require modification.
  • Possess evidence the previously developed content is current, evidence-based, and meets current standards or practice guidelines.
  • Provide evidence of revisions/deletions/additions required for the previously developed content OR evidence stating why previously developed content did not require any revisions/deletions/additions.
  • Ensure the previously developed content is objective and unbiased; and excludes any promotional influence.
  • Verify that the previously developed content meets the definition of continuing education as described by the ANCC Accreditation Program.

The Nurse Planner and Planning Committee may not approve a previously developed educational activity and award continuing nursing education credit without complying with these guidelines. Failure to adhere to these guidelines may result in loss of accreditation status.


Can contact hours be awarded to participants who are not nurses?

Yes, anyone who attends may be awarded contact hours to their online transcript. However, the target audience must include RNs.

Can presenters earn contact hours for the conference at which they are presenting?

Presenters and authors can only receive contact hours for portions of the activity they attend but do not present.

Contact hour vs. CEU

The ANCC Accreditation Program does not utilize the term CEU (continuing education unit) when referring to the CNE (continuing nursing education) unit of measurement. The CEU is an educational measurement utilizing criteria of the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).

The ANCC uses “contact hour” as a unit of measurement that describes 60 minutes of an organized learning activity. One contact hour = 60 minutes.

Download the article Contact Hours Versus CEUs: What's the Difference? (PDF) by Debra P. Hastings, PhD, RN-BC, CNOR(E)

Joint providership

What is joint providership (according to ANCC)?

Jointly-providing an educational activity is an opportunity for organizations to share both expertise and workload! It is important, however, that the ANCC accredited organization understands the requirements for joint-providership to maintain adherence to the Accreditation criteria.

When two organizations joint-provide an educational activity and one is ANCC accredited, the ANCC accredited organization is responsible for ensuring adherence to the criteria. The ANCC Accredited organization is termed the provider and the other organization is termed the joint-provider. Documentation and communication including marketing materials must clearly demonstrate the joint-provider relationship.

When two organizations joint-provide an educational activity and both are ANCC accredited, one organization is designated as the provider and other organization is the joint-provider.

The provider in a joint-provider relationship is responsible for the following:

  • Determination of educational objectives and content
  • Selection of content specialist planners and activity presenters
  • Awarding of contact hours
  • Record keeping
  • Evaluation methods and categories
  • Management of any commercial support


How can I be sure that the role of the nurse planner is clearly documented in the activity file?

Documenting Nurse Planner Involvement: When planning, implementing and evaluating an educational activity, documentation must reflect the role of the Nurse Planner. The Nurse Planner must ensure that the educational activity adheres to the ANCC accreditation criteria and that the needs of the target audience, registered nurses, are addressed. This is frequently a challenge when organizations are planning an educational activity that is targeted to an inter-professional audience. Submitted documentation includes the Nurse Planner as a member of the planning committee but often fails to clearly demonstrate how the Nurse Planner has been an integral part of planning, implementing and evaluating the activity. Evidence may be strengthened by reviewing current documentation to demonstrate that Nurse Planner involvement is evident.

Source: ANCC Accreditation Program Newsletter, April 2011 Update

How do I document Assessment of Learner Needs?

Continuing nursing education activities are developed in response to, and with consideration for, the unique educational needs of the target audience - registered nurses. Activity files must contain the method and findings of the needs assessment. A variety of methods may be used to conduct a needs assessment including but not limited to surveying learners, performing literature reviews, evaluating outcomes data, soliciting or collecting requests, or review of previous activity evaluations. The findings that support the need for the educational activity must also be included in the activity file. Findings may include but are not limited to survey results, literature findings, outcomes data, documentation of requests or evaluation summary results. The needs assessment should result in an identified gap in knowledge, skills or practice that the educational activity is designed to address.

Source: ANCC Accreditation Program Newsletter, May 2011 Update

Enduring material

What are the required disclosures for print or web-based materials?

The requirement for learners to receive all required disclosures prior to the start of a learning activity is sometimes missed when the activity is provided in print or web based formats. Required disclosures must be visible to learners prior to the start of the educational activity. The purpose of providing learners with all required disclosures is to ensure that they are informed of the following:

  • The learning outcome(s) statement and requirements for successful completion of the activity.
  • Any influencing financial relationships disclosed by anyone in a position to control content of the activity or lack thereof.
  • Any joint-providership or commercial support provided for the activity.
  • Expiration of contact hours (enduring materials only).

Placing required disclosures at the end of an educational activity such as at the end of an article or webinar does not adhere to ANCC Accreditation criteria. When developing educational activities for print or web formats, organizations are encouraged to pilot test the activity to ensure that someone unfamiliar with the format can locate all required disclosures easily.

Source: ANCC Accreditation Program Newsletter, October 2011 Update

Registration fees for Dartmouth Health CNE programs

Are there guidelines for setting CNE program registration fees?

Typically, we offer our programs free of charge, such as our Nursing Grand Rounds offerings, or at a minimal cost. When we do charge a registration fee, we offer a tiered fee structure.

  • DHMC and the clinics are charged the lowest rate.
  • NEAH members are charged a reduced rate.
  • Learners external to the system are charged the full rate.

Registration fees for specialty certification review courses or programs that are held external to DHMC or the clinics, such as in a hotel setting, incur a greater cost and that is reflected in the registration fee.

Confidentiality of records

At our conference, we would like to distribute a list of participant names and contact info to all who attend. Is this permitted?

Since the names of participants and their contact info is confidential information, it is permitted only if you secure approval before the conference from the individuals whose names are on the list. The registration form might include a question asking for this approval and providing an "opt out" checkbox for those who wish to deny permission.