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Kathleen R. Weinberg, MSN, RN, Executive Director

Opioid Prescribing - Continuing Education Requirements for ARNPs

Prescribing is defined as follows: To issue a prescription to a patient, which is then dispensed at a pharmacy. 

ARNPs who do not prescribe per this definition are not required to take the course. 

According to 655 IAC, 7.6(8): An ARNP who has prescribed opioids to a patient during the three year renewal cycle must complete at least two contact hours of opioid continuing education (CE). This education must address the current guidelines for prescribing opioids for chronic pain from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These guidelines include: CDC Clinical Practice Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Pain-United States, 2022.

  • Determining whether or not to initiate opioids for pain.
  • Selecting opioids and determining opioid dosages
  • Deciding duration of initial opioid prescription and conducting follow-up
  • Assessing risk and addressing potential harms of opioid use
  • Recommendations on limitations on dosages. 
  • Length of prescriptions. 
  • Risk factors for opioid abuse. 
  • Nonopioid and nonpharmacological therapy options. 

If you answered "yes" to the prescribing question, you must provide documentation along with your current certification to complete your renewal. Email renewal documents to: arnpren@iowa.gov

The ARNP must maintain documentation of the opioid continuing education hours, which may be subject to audit. 

On the ARNP license renewal form, the licensee will see these questions: 

  • Do you prescribe opioids in the course of your ARNP practice? Yes or No
  • Have you completed the 2 contact hours on the CDC guidelines as described above? Yes, No, or N/A

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Q. I work in a hospital and write orders for opioids. Do I need to take a class? A. No, writing orders does not meet the definition of prescribing.

Q. I am a pediatric nurse practitioner and I prescribe opioids. Do I have to take the course? A. Yes, you need to take a course which includes the CDC guidelines for prescribing opioids for chronic pain including all the recommendations on limitations on dosages and the length of prescriptions, risk factors for abuse, and nonopioid and nonpharmacologic therapy options.

Q. What is the best way to meet the requirement of the law? A. Take at least two hours of a course that meets the CDC prescribing guidelines and from an IBON approved provider. (list of providers: https://nursing.iowa.gov/continuing-education/continuing-ed-licensees/what-continuing-education-qualifies)

Updated 11/08/2022