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Nurses are trusted, compassionate, educated and skilled. Nurses are celebrated for the care they provide, their spirit and character.

If you are considering retirement stay active in nursing and maintain your Delaware nursing license. This is an opportunity to try new practice settings, share your experience and knowledge with patients and peers and work at a pace that meets your needs.


For a Delaware nursing license to stay current, nurses are required to have continuing nurse education and nursing practice hours. This guide will provide information and methods of obtaining contact hours and outlines the Standards of Nursing Competencies and Responsibilities according to Delaware’s Nurse Practice Act (Title 24). This guide is not intended to answer all questions regarding continuing education and activities that qualify as nursing practice. Contact the Delaware Board of Nursing at (302) 744-4500 for further clarification and questions.

Continuing Education

Every Delaware nurse holding an active license is required to complete 30 contact hours each biennium. A biennium is a 2 year period of licensure beginning in an odd numbered year and ending in the next odd numbered year.

There are a variety of ways that nurses can earn continuing education. Many of ways such as academic studies, conferences, extension and independent studies and in-service education are familiar to most nurses. However, did you know contact hours can be earned by authoring or presenting nursing information or working on a research project

Authoring an article, book chapter or independent study

  • Must be related to nursing
  • Proof: acceptance from editor or the published work
  • Maximum of 5 contact hours per biennium
  • Presentations
  • Excludes preparation time (if not required by job description)
  • Proof: submit brochures, course syllabi or letter by provider
  • Contact hours are equal to actual presentation time
  • Maximum of 5 contact hours per biennium

Research Project

  • Must be done during biennium
  • Submit abstract as evidence as being a researcher
  • Maximum of 5 contact hours per biennium

Nursing Practice Hours

  • Must have at least 1000 practice hours within the last 5 years
  • Or have completed at least 400 hours in the last two years
  • If have current licensure, then 400 required every biennium

How to Accumulate Nursing Practice Hours

There are many methods for obtaining hours. In addition to paid nursing positions, you may volunteer to perform professional nursing. Participating agencies provide many choices for providing service. However, any Nurse Volunteer should not serve to replace a paid nursing position. Examples of Nurse Volunteer roles may include but are not limited to

  • Nursing assessment–psycho/social/physical
  • Healthcare related calls to patients or their families.
  • Call can include assessment, emotional support and/or education
  • Bereavement support
  • Patient and/or family health education
  • Staff education
  • Research

Volunteer Nurse Responsibilities

As a nurse with an active Delaware license, you may practice professional nursing with or without financial compensation. As a nurse volunteer, you are required to follow and meet the requirements for licensure as outlined in the in the Delaware Nurse Practice Act.

In addition to adhering to the Nurse Practice Act, nurse volunteers should be familiar with the ANA Nursing Scope and Standards of Practice, adhere to agencies' policies and procedures and follow agency standards for confidentiality, infection control, safety, documentation and reporting of abuse or neglect.

It is also suggested, but not required, that Nurse Volunteers carry professional liability insurance and should maintain own records of volunteer hours and activities.


  • You must use the nursing process for the hours to be counted toward practice hours.
  • Document! Be sure to document the date, number of hours and a description of the nursing activity.
  • Your volunteer activities should not displace or reduce work hours for paid nurses.
  • Not sure if the activity qualifies for practice hours? Contact the Board of Nursing for clarification!

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Delaware Nurses Association 

DNA is a constituent member of  
4765 Ogletown Stanton Road, Suite L10 | Newark, DE 19713

Phone: (302) 733-5880 Organizational Affiliates

   Delaware Emergency Nurses Association

   - Delaware State Affiliate - American College of Nurse-Midwives

   - Delaware Coalition of Nurse Practitioners

   - Delaware Association of Nurse Anesthetists

   - Black Nurses Rock Delaware Chapter, Inc.


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