Accreditation Planning Process

The Ingram School of Nursing’s Continuing Nursing Education (CNE) Office is committed to supporting high quality, pedagogically sound nursing education activities.

Planning Process for a CNE Accredited Learning Activity


Accreditation Quick Tips

Definition of Nurse or Healthcare Organization

A not-for-profit group of health professionals with a formal governance structure, accountable to and serving its nurse members; they may offer continuing nursing education, provide healthcare services, or conduct nurse-relevant research.

Examples include: hospital departments, units or divisions; nursing associations; clinics; healthcare research organizations.

Selection of Scientific Planning Committee (SPC)

The SPC should be representative of your target audience. In general, we expect that at least half of the SPC be comprised of nurses. This will help you meet the learning needs of your target audience. Some exceptions may be accepted (e.g., a complex inter-professional conference where accreditation is sought from multiple bodies).

The SPC chair (or co-chairs) have the following responsibilities:

Ensuring the committee is representative of the target audience;

Accountable for the planning, developing, implementing, and delivery of the CNE activity (including ensuring completion of all accreditation documentation);

Assuring that the educational content is relevant for the target audience, accurate, and evidence-based;

Ensuring the potential conflict of interest forms are collected from all SPC members and presenters in a timely manner and that any reported potential conflict is mitigated; also ensuring that a declaration is made at the beginning of presentations (in writing and verbally).

Needs Assessment

To make high quality continuing education for nurses in practice, start by assessing their learning needs. This will guide your learning objectives and content development and will ensure the relevance of your activity and increase the potential for knowledge uptake.

Some possible strategies for establishing learning needs of your target audience include:

Perceived Learning Needs (they know what they need/want to learn) Unperceived Learning Needs (they don't know what they don't know)
Surveys of target audience Knowledge/self-assessment tests
Focus group interviews Chart audience
Evaluations from previous CNE Direct observations of practice performance
Consensus among SCP members and other experts in the field Quality assurance data from healthcare facility
  Patient feedback
  Published literature / databases

Education Goals & Learning Objectives

Clear learning objectives state what the learner will be able to do upon completion of the CNE. To be useful, learning objectives must be linked to the needs assessment. They should be SMART (specific, measurable, action-oriented, realistic, and tap into knowledge, attitudes, and skills). We highly encourage you to refer to Bloom’s Taxonomy:


By the end of this activity, participants will be able to identify the four pillars of strengths-based nursing.

By the end of this activity, participants will be able to develop an education plan for a family with a child with atopic dermatitis.

Content Development & Content Experts

The SPC is responsible for topic, content, and presenter selection; as well as appropriateness of the learning format, activities, and environment.

Active learning is important! Consider how you can incorporate active, authentic learning activities that combine practice with feedback; learning by doing is important for adult learners.

Consider varying your teaching methods; adults have different learning styles.

The content must support the learning objectives.

The content must include key references to support claims.

Presentation tips:

Include a potential conflict of interest disclosure slide;

Include learning objectives (At the end of this activity, participants should be able to...);

Do not use company logos or product/device names on your slides. Use generic drug names (if brand names must be used, place the name in parentheses after the generic name);

We suggest that at least 25 percent of your presentation time be for interactivity;

Be copyright compliant

Avoid copying images, etc. - if you must, fully reference the source;

Only use patient images if you have written consent and/or if the patient cannot be identified;

Reference material from other sources (not made by you).

Accreditation Review Submission

First timers:

Complete and sign the Accreditation Form, including the checklist, and attach all supporting documents (for detailed instructions, see: How to Apply)

Resubmission of an ongoing activity:

The CNE accreditation cycle lasts for a maximum of one year. This is relevant for activities that are ongoing (e.g., eLearning), that are repeated, or that are a series (for detailed instructions, see: How to Apply).


An evaluation must be conducted following the educational activity (for individual sessions and the overall program).

The evaluation must include:

 How will you measure the success of your activity? Consider different levels of evaluation (Kirkpatrick, 1996):

Reaction: Participants’ satisfaction with the activity (done immediately after activity); this will capture information about the appropriateness of the speakers, the environment, etc.

Learning: Any changes in participants' knowledge, attitude, or skill (can use a self-assessment, immediately following activity; e.g., retrospective pre-post questionnaire)

Behaviour: Any real changes in behavior (can ask about intent to change following the activity; then ask them to reflect on their behavior 6 months following the activity)

Results: Ultimately, were there patient outcomes? This is very difficult to capture.

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