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Continuing Competency Definitions and Examples

Definition of Active Practice (RCW 18.79.040)

Active practice includes paid or volunteer activities that require the nursing skills listed in law. (RCW 18.79.040) This may include working as a nurse administrator, nurse quality manager, nurse policy officer, public health nurse, home health nurse, nurse educator, nurse consultant, volunteer nurse, or a nurse regulator.

Examples of Documenting Proof of Active Practice:

  • Pay stubs showing hours worked.
  • A statement from an employer.
  • A log book documenting hours with a signature from a supervisor.
  • Verification documenting the number of hours of home care for a friend or family member.

Definition of Continuing Nursing Education (WAC 246-840-202)

Continuing education is knowledge obtained after initial licensure designed to expand and enrich the knowledge, skills, and judgment of nurses. The education hours should relate to the nurse’s area of practice or areas identified through self-reflection.

Examples of Documenting Proof of Continuing Education:

  • Certificates of course completion.
  • A current certificate from a nationally recognized certifying body.
  • Meeting minutes or meeting attendance rosters showing participation in professional nursing organizations or employer sponsored committees.
  • A transcript of classes documenting current progress towards an advanced degree in a field related to nursing practice.
  • Documentation of completion of a nursing research project such as summary of findings, thesis, dissertation, abstract, or granting agency summary.
  • Publication or submission for publication of a health care related article, book chapter.
  • Presentations on a health care or health care system related topic with documentation such as a program brochure, agenda, course syllabi or a letter from the offering provider identifying the nurse’s participation.
  • Documentation of independent study.

Definition of Self-assessment and Reflection (WAC 246-840-202)

Self-assessment and reflection allows a nurse to evaluate his or her nursing practice to determine strengths and opportunities for new learning. The purpose of this process is for the nurse to assess and reflect on:

  1.  Making patient safety a priority.
  2. Familiarity with current laws and rules related to nursing practice.
  3. Existing knowledge and skills (e.g., infection prevention techniques, open communication, and clinical competency).

Nurses should use the self-assessment and reflection process when selecting education and training opportunities in his or her nursing career.