Class A Credits
Class A CEs must be pre-approved by the AANA, which requires a fee. The fee is paid by the meeting organizer or the author of the online course. That’s why you are frequently charged for these types of credits. These pre-approved, Class A credits will be advertised as such, and usually the credits are directly reported to AANA for you. There are many places to obtain these credits, including AANA and IANA meetings and workshops. A convenient place for online credits is AANA Learn (https://shop.aana.com). As a member of the AANA, you have 6 free learning credits to redeem every year by entering a code when checking out with your courses. This is at least a $210 benefit, so don’t forget to use these online credits! All Class A credits count toward the state 50 hour requirement also. Depending on the content, the Class A credits might also meet the pharm and opioid requirements too.
To renew the CRNA credential every 4 years, you will need at least 60 Class A credits, and 100 total credits (Class A + Class B). You can have more than 60 Class A credits and reduce the number of Class B credits, but you must at least meet the minimum Class A requirement.
Class B Credits: Class B credits do NOT require pre-approval by the AANA, but they do require some sort of documentation. The AANA offers a portal for reporting of these credits and the ability to upload documentation to support the claim. For example, if a CRNA wanted to claim time precepting student nurse anesthetists in the clinical area, that CRNA would attest to the number of days being claimed by providing dates that the precepting occured and the contact information for their chief or the program director who can confirm that the CRNA did actually precept students. The portal even provides the document in pdf form to be filled out by the CRNA claiming the credit. Many activities fall under the Class B heading. The NBCRNA offers a comprehensive document to assist the CRNA in making their claims for Class B credits. These professional development credits may also be applied to the additional 30 hours required by the state since many of the categories overlap for the AANA and IL.
ACLS/BLS/PALS/NALS/ATLS: if offered by a generic provider, you can count these as Class B credits. Use the process outlined above through the portal. If you attend a nurse anesthesia conference, like the spring IANA conference that offers these classes, you can receive Class A credit for them if the meeting received prior approval as part of their meeting application.
When registering for courses online or in person, any offering that is approved for pharm credit will be noted with a separate credit designation. For example, on the AANA lists online courses for 1 Class A credit and 1.0 pharm credit. Sometimes only a portion of the course will be approved for pharm credit. Since this particular example doesn’t include opioid treatment or dosing, it would not be eligible to be counted for opioid credit.
Opioid CEs are not designated in the credit statement (only the pharm credit will be stated). However, any CEs that involve opioid education or substance abuse can count towards the opioid requirement from the state of IL. You may obtain these from Class A approved courses that discuss opioid topics or substance abuse lectures at a meeting (counts for Class A, IL CE, pharm credit, and opioid credit). You can also obtain these from free credits in a nursing print journal without prior approval of the AANA (counts for IL CE and opioid credit). Another option would be to present a lecture on substance abuse (counts for 3 Class B credits and IL CE).
The rules are continuing to be written in Springfield. Right now, there are no Illinois state rules on what counts and what does not for opioid credit. Look at the title of the educational offering, read the abstract or learning objectives. If they deal with opioid prescribing or substance abuse education, it should count. You are encouraged to keep an outline of content from any meeting or course for which you are claiming opioid credit in case of an audit.
Why are we doing this?
Every two years, when all CRNAs renew their RN and APN licenses in IL, they must ATTEST (affirm to be true) that they have completed the number and type of CEs required by the state. At that point you are “on your honor”. However, if you are AUDITED, the APN must be able to provide proof that they obtained all 80 credits with 20 pharm and 10 opioid credits within the 2-year period.
Obviously, there is a gap between the state requirements (160 every 4 years) and NBCRNA requirements (100 every 4 years). When attempting to account for “additional credits” required for the state license (30 out of 80 every 2 years that do not have to be CE offerings), you are encouraged to keep written documentation of the activity and the time spent on it. Identify a person that can be contacted to confirm the time spent and activity. If the activity you are counting for IL would also count as Class B credit with the NBCRNA, register it there. You can log as many Class B credits as you would like, well in excess of the requirement. The AANA offers a very nice accounting tool for your CE credits. If you do not want to keep a virtual or paper folder of courses and meetings, use what the AANA is providing already. If you are ever audited by the state, you can easily retrieve the documentation from the AANA CE portal for the dates needed.
Where to get credits?
Get the most bang for your buck and look for educational programs that can check more than one “box.” Class A credits give you the most flexibility because they are required by the state and the NBCRNA, and they might contain pharm and opioid content. Use the free credits given to you by the AANA. Attend IANA meetings. Attend weekend lecture seminars conducted by the nurse anesthesia programs in IL. They offer Class A credits several times per year. Keep track of the professional development activities you already do and enter them in the portal.
Be proactive. This is not a small task, but it is a condition of your licensure and professional credential, so do not ignore it. Your frontline staff and board of directors are here to answer your questions as well.