By Shana Sobel
On January 1, 2020, the Board of Registered Nursing (BRN or Board) submitted its progress report to the legislature on the Implementation of the Comprehensive Continuing Education Plan for Approving and Disapproving Continuing Education Opportunities. BRN submitted this report pursuant to section 2811.5 of the Business and Professions Code, added by SB 799 (Hill) (Chapter 520, Statutes of 2017), which requires the Board to update the legislative policy committees about its progress implementing its comprehensive plan for approving and disapproving continuing education opportunities on January 1, 2019, and again on January 1, 2020. See [23:1 CRLR 92–93; 24:2 CRLR 72–73]
The Board reported that staff met on a monthly basis throughout 2019 to work on the implementation of the continuing education plan and was working with the Office of Information Services to develop a technological platform to collect and analyze continuing education data. They also met with Enforcement Division staff to develop a plan to recruit, onboard, and support content evaluators for the Continuing Education Unit. BRN will use current staff, specifically the Supervising Nursing Education Consultant and Nursing Education Consultant to evaluate, approve, or disapprove continuing education opportunities while the Board evaluates the appropriate way to hire content evaluators given the recent passage of AB 5 (Gonzalez) (Chapter 296, Statutes of 2019) which governs the hiring and classification of independent contractors.
BRN also reported that it is working with the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) to revise its regulations for continuing education, specifically sections 1450–1459.1, Title 16 of the California Code of Regulations (CCR), which are 30 years old. The report did not provide specifics as to the precise changes the Board is proposing to these regulations in order to implement the comprehensive continuing education plan. BRN did specify, however, that it was also moving forward with proposed amendments to sections 1450 and 1451.2 to incorporate examples of implicit bias, and strategies to address these biases, into all continuing education courses pursuant to AB 241 (Kamlager-Dove) (Chapter 417, Statutes of 2019). Finally, as a separate rulemaking process, the Board reported that it was working with DCA regulatory counsel to address continuing education courses covering content that the Board considers “experimental medical procedures.” The Board provided proposed language in the report indicating that the Board would consider such courses “not relevant to the practice of nursing,” unless the efficacy of the procedure or treatment is supported by two peer-reviewed, publicly available, scientific journals or studies, published in medical and scientific literature, and the treatment is generally accepted as effective by the medical community.
The next step in the continuing education plan is to present the proposed draft of regulations in 2020 to the Education & Licensing Committee (ELC). The ELC will then provide their recommendation for the proposed regulations to the full Board, who will vote to determine whether the regulations will be submitted to the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) to commence the rulemaking process.
Finally, BRN reported that staff had created a new continuing education provider application, which requires the prospective provider to conduct a needs assessment, including a summary of course content, and provide references used to develop the report. Board staff is working with a contracted vendor to assess the work required to approve individual courses and instructors as well as to conduct the required autos the continuing education provider, and to align the appropriate fees. The Board expects the results of this fee audit to be available early this year.