Contact Hour Activities


There's more than one way to earn contact hours. 90 contact hours are required for recertification with at least 68 of those being medical-surgical.

AMSN members can earn up to 30 FREE CNEs per year through the AMSN Online Library and the AMSN Annual Convention. Learn more about AMSN membership.

The chart below lists 11 accepted methods and a sample self-reporting entry for each. You might be surprised that some of the things you are already doing may be used toward recertification!

Download the Acceptable Contact Hour Activities list.

Contact Hour Terminology

Medical-Surgical contact hours

These hours include content related to direct patient care in a medical-surgical setting. A helpful tip is if the content of the activity is included in the CMSRN exam blueprint, then the contact hours will be considered medical-surgical nursing.

A minimum of 68 contact hours in this category is required; however, it is permissible to have all 90 med-surg contact hours with no professional development.

Professional Development contact hours

These contact hours include the broad area of health care, general nursing, and professional development. Topics include leadership, how to conduct research, nursing theory, informatics, pediatrics, ethics, blood matching, and more. A maximum of 22 contact hours in this category is permitted.

CNE (Continuing Nursing Education)

Contact hours awarded by an accredited organization for attendance at an educational activity or independent study such as a journal article or internet-based education.

non-CNE (non-Continuing Nursing Education)

Contact hours we award for professional activities.

Activities to Report as Continuing Nursing Education (CNE)
Contact hour activity Contact hours accepted per recertification period Type of Contact Hours Reporting

1. Courses, Workshops, Conventions, Articles, Internet-based Education

Many CNE activities are FREE for AMSN members.

Maximum of 90 MEDSURG or PROFDEV CNE Example
Activities to Report as non-Continuing Nursing Education (non-CNE)
Contact hour activity Contact hours accepted per recertification period Type of Contact Hours Reporting

2. Preceptorship/Mentoring
Providing clinical supervision to students and/or newly hired nurses in educational and professional settings.

Courses taken about preceptorship or mentoring should be reported as CNE activities.

Maximum of 20

30 hours = 5 CH


Preceptorship Example

The Preceptor Form must be submitted to be considered.

Download Preceptor Form

3. Academic Courses
College courses related to nursing in baccalaureate, master’s, or doctoral programs.

Maximum of 75

1 academic hour (credit) = 15 CH


Academic Course Example

An unofficial copy of a transcript must be submitted via mail, fax, or scanned and emailed in order to be considered. (photographed documents not accepted by email)

4. Presentation
Preparation and presentation of content for academic courses and CNE programs.

Maximum of 45

1 hour of presentation = 3 CH

MEDSURG or PROFDEV Presentation Example

5. Professional Publications
Writing a manuscript, research paper, book, or book chapter published by a recognized publisher or professional journal.

Maximum of 25

Authors, co-authors, or editors of a book = 25 CH

Authors or co-authors of a book chapter = 10 CH

Authors or co-authors of a published article = 5 CH

MEDSURG or PROFDEV Professional Publication Example

6. Conference Poster Presentation
Presenting a poster relevant to medical-surgical nursing at a regional or national meeting.

Maximum of 20

1 poster = 5 CH

MEDSURG or PROFDEV Conference Poster Presentation Example

7. Multimedia Program Development
Developing modules, program content, or scripts for videotapes, audiotapes, and other electronic media.

Maximum of 20

60 minute program = 5 CH

MEDSURG or PROFDEV Multimedia Program Development Example

8. Research Projects
Research projects where you are the primary investigator and is approved by the Investigational Review Board (IRB) in your facility.

Evidence-Based Practice Projects
Evidence -based practice projects where you are the leader of the EBP initiative.

Maximum of 30

1 research project = 30 CH

Maximum of 15

1 EBP project = 15 CH

MEDSURG or PROFDEV Research/Evidence-Based Practice Project Example

9. Membership on a National Nursing Organization Board or National Committee Chair
Serving on a nursing board or chairing a national committee.

Maximum of 5

1 hour of participation = 1 CH

PROFDEV Board Member Example

10. Test Development/Item Writing for MSNCB
Members serving on the CMSRN Test Development/Item Writer Committee.

Maximum of 20

1 weekend session = 5 CH

MEDSURG Test Development Example

11. CMSRN Recertification Committee
Members serving on the CMSRN Recertification Committee.

Maximum of 10

2 CH/year




MSNCB Contact Information

Mailing Address
Medical-Surgical Nursing Certification Board (MSNCB)
PO Box 56
Pitman, NJ 08071

Delivery Service
Medical-Surgical Nursing Certification Board (MSNCB)
200 East Holly Avenue
Sewell, NJ 08080


Fax 856-589-7463