School of Nursing creates Web portal for nurse continuing education

August 18, 2009

Nurses are facing increasing work demands because of the growing shortage of nurses nationwide. In Pennsylvania, the shortage of registered nurses (RNs) could be as high as 16,000 by 2010, according to a state government report. Caring for more patients and working longer hours leaves little time for updating knowledge and completing Pennsylvania Act 58 continuing education requirements. To help RNs and other nurse professionals, Penn State has created a Web portal where nurses can take continuing education courses online and print certificates verifying their state-mandated contact hours all in one place.

"The portal simplifies access to Penn State courses for Pennsylvania nurses, who are required to complete 30 contact hours of continuing education every two years to maintain their licenses," said Dr. Paula Milone-Nuzzo, dean of the Penn State School of Nursing. "Our courses are developed by School of Nursing instructors and offer the latest knowledge and research from Penn State experts."

The new Continuing Education in Nursing portal is a partnership between the School of Nursing and Penn State Outreach. The John A. Hartford Center of Geriatric Nursing Excellence at Penn State is developing several courses in cooperation with the school and Outreach. The Hartford Center, one of nine in the nation, also will develop and offer at no charge one new course each year for the next five years.

The portal now has five courses and more are planned, according to Madeline Mattern, coordinator of outreach programs at the School of Nursing. Several courses are offered at no charge, including "Research Applications: Delivering Mouth Care to Persons with Dementia." Other topics cover neonatal nursing care, caring for older adults and complementary therapy. Future topics will focus on medical/surgical nursing and prepare RNs for the certification exam in this specialty, as well as herbal medicine, autism and geriatric nursing.

"Nurses have an enormous need for knowledge, and the portal makes learning convenient and reasonably priced," Mattern said.

Diane Daddario, a nurse specialist in urology at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, Pa., agrees. She appreciated the convenience of learning online at home, after a busy work day. "You have the presentation and audio part ready to review, and you can go back over things," she said. "The convenience of taking a course anytime, whatever shift you're working, is important," said Daddario, who has been a nurse since 1978. She participates in continuing education programs and conferences to maintain her RN license and certifications in two nurse specialist areas and plans to take other courses through Penn State's portal.

For more information about continuing education courses for nurses, visit

Penn State Continuing Education offers a venue for adults to return to the classroom. Continuing Education reaches more than 30,000 adult learners annually at Penn State campuses statewide. The unit also serves more than 220,000 Pennsylvania youth each year through summer academic and sport camps and other programs at Penn State campuses. Continuing Education is comprised of conferences, Continuing Education at all Penn State campuses, management development programs and services, and Shaver's Creek Environmental Center. For more information, visit Continuing Education is part of Penn State Outreach, the largest unified outreach organization in American higher education. Penn State Outreach serves more than 5 million people each year, delivering more than 2,000 programs to people in all sixty-seven Pennsylvania counties, all fifty states, and eighty countries worldwide.


Editors: For additional information, please contact the College of Health and Human Development Office of College Relations at 814-865-3831 or