New CCNS Renewal Requirements Provide Additional Opportunities to Earn CE Points

Category I – Acute Care Education Programs

Continuing Education Programs not granting contact hours (AACN chapter programs, hospital inservices, workshops, study modules, etc.) may account for 25 of the 75 required continuing education CE points. (This is a new option for CE points in Category I.)

Category II – Optional Activities

A. Professional Publications – This category was previously available.

Items listed under “New” were not previously awarded points. Items listed under “Additional Points” were previously available but had fewer points assigned.


  • Article in a local newsletter or AACN chapter newsletter (15 points)
  • Unpublished master’s thesis or equivalent final project (30 points)
  • Service on editorial boards (5 points per board)

Additional Points:

  • Original, peer-reviewed research article (30 points, previously 15)
  • Textbook or chapter editor (2 points per 10 pages for max of 30 points, previously 15)
  • Research abstract (5 points, previously 2)
  • Journal article – peer reviewed (20 points, previously 10)
  • Journal reviewer – articles or book chapters (5 points, previously 3)

Sections B and C under Optional Activities were added with the new requirements. Previously, CCNSs were not awarded CE points for any of these activities.

B. Professional Presentations

Encompasses the certificant’s participation as an instructor delivering content related to the acutely ill adult population to nurses, other healthcare professionals or the public. See the CCNS Test Plan, found in the CCNS Exam Handbook, for acceptable topics. The presentation must be delivered within a structured framework of teaching/learning.

A presentation includes a seminar, in-service, clinical conference, patient/family education program, consumer education program, AACN chapter educational activities and/or presenting an original paper or poster. The participation may be as a primary instructor, member of a team, guest lecturer, panel participant, etc. No credit is given for repeat presentations of the same content — 6 pts per hour of lecture given

If the program is co-taught, the number of points to be awarded is determined by dividing points by the number of instructors.

Activities regularly completed as the focus of employment may not be counted. For example, if you regularly teach in your hospital’s orientation program, you may not count those presentations; however, you may count presentations given on a newly researched topic for NTI or for your chapter, etc.

C. Preceptorship or Volunteer Activities

Participating in activities/teams/committees that solve or prevent complex problems or improve care, across multiple departments, settings, facilities or regions, such as spearheading a major patient care improvement; and leading an interdisciplinary team to solve a problem — 10 pts per year

Activities regularly completed as the focus of employment may not be counted. For example, as your hospital’s acute care CNS you are automatically assigned to the hospital’s quality improvement committee; you may not count this participation.

Participation in leadership responsibilities or committee involvement on a chapter/regional level — 10 pts per committee per year

Leadership responsibilities or committee involvement in professional, governmental or health-related organizations — 10 pts per committee per year

Preceptorship/mentorship – a minimum of 80 hours per year of preceptorship activity must be obtained in order for points to be granted — 10 pts per year

Activities regularly completed as the focus of employment may not be counted. For example, if you regularly precept new employees to a unit as a function of your job as a unit-based CNS, you may not count these hours. However, if you are precepting an APRN student from a graduate program, you may count those hours. You may not count hours for precepting or teaching undergraduate students.

For complete details, refer to the CCNS Renewal Handbook.

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