A majority of clinical health care professions require that providers complete continuing education (CE) in order to practice. For instance, national boards require CE hours to obtain/maintain certification, and most states also require annual or biannual CEs for licensure. Some states have topic-specific requirements, which can be a powerful incentive to acquire new knowledge and skills.

Palliative care champions can use relevant state CE requirements to advance skill-building in serious illness care including in communication, symptom management, and other key aspects of palliative care. The following is a list of resources to identify discipline-specific requirements in each state.

This resource is for informational purposes only. For the most up-to-date requirements, please confirm with your relevant state board for your discipline.

Physician Continuing Medical Education (CME) Requirements

The Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) tracks CME requirements for MDs and DOs, including the number of hours and any content-specific requirements, across all 50 states and most territories. Their resources include a CME “Board-by-Board Overview” which is updated biannually. To find relevant CMEs, scroll down to your state and look for any of the following topics:

  1. Opioids/prescribing
  2. Pain management
  3. Palliative care
  4. Geriatrics
  5. Alzheimer’s Disease
  6. Ethics
  7. End of life

For more details, FSMB also provides direct links to each state’s board. Please also see the blog Leveraging CME Requirements to Improve Palliative Care Delivery for more detailed information

Nurse Continuing Professional Development Requirements

Several organizations aggregate CE requirements for APRNs, RNs, and LPN/LVNs. Nurse.org recently published a crosswalk of requirements by state; the commercial site aaaceus.com provides a similar crosswalk for RNs and LPNs, with direct links to most of the governing boards. Palliative care-relevant topic requirements include:

  1. Pain/symptom management
  2. Controlled substance prescribing
  3. Substance abuse
  4. Geriatric care
  5. Ethics
  6. Cultural competency
  7. End of life care
  8. Dependent adult abuse

Social Work Continuing Education Unit (CEU) Requirements

The Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) has several reports on social work regulations and licensure requirements across multiple license types (e.g., Clinical Social Worker, Bachelor Social Worker, Master Social Worker, etc.) in the U.S. and Canada. Click on “QUICK REPORT CE Requirements” and then select one or more jurisdictions to generate a report on local requirements. ASWB also provides direct links to members’ licensing boards, statutes, and administrative rules as available. Palliative care-relevant topic requirements include:

  1. Pain and symptom management
  2. Ethics/ethical conduct/etc.
  3. Cultural competency/cross-cultural education/etc.
  4. Dependent adult abuse

CAPC offers courses that can help clinical health professionals meet many of the requirements described above. These include:


General Pain/Symptom Management:

  • Pain Management, full curriculum of 14 courses covering comprehensive pain assessment, choosing the right treatment modality, safe opioid dosing and monitoring, assessing for risk of opioid use disorder, and managing pain in seriously ill patients with concurrent opioid use disorder.
  • Symptom Management, full curriculum including assessment and treatment of common sources of misery including shortness of breath, nausea, depression, and constipation.

Other Related Topics (Palliative Care, Geriatrics, Alzheimer’s, Ethics, End-of-Life):

CAPC’s complete online clinical training curriculum can be found here. For more information, please visit https://www.capc.org/membership/.

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