Nursing Education and Training During Official Duty Hours
Public Health Service
Indian Health Service
Rockville, Maryland 20857
Refer to: OCPS
- Duty-Related Education and Training
- Process for Requesting and Attending Duty-Related Education and Training
- Determining the 40-Hour Cap on Duty-Related Education and Training
- Overtime and Compensatory Time to Attend Duty-Related Education and Training
- Use of Leave to Attend Non-Duty-Related or Duty-Related Education and Training
- Effective Date
- Duty-Related Education and Training.
After completion of the nurse’s (Licensed Practical Nurse, Registered Nurse, or Advanced Practice Nurse) probationary period, the employee may be eligible to attend up to 40 hours of duty-related education and training per year during the nurse’s official duty hours.
The following shall serve as guidelines for duty-related education and training opportunities that can be attended during a nurse’s official duty hours:
- Formally organized courses in nursing, nursing practice, or patient care, to include nursing certifications that add to the organizational and departmental needs.
- Formally organized courses in related subjects leading to a degree in nursing.
- Formally organized workshops, conferences, and symposia dealing with the organization-associated practice setting needs or the nurse’s degree (e.g., behavioral health, midwifery, family practice, administration, etc.).
- Formally organized clinical nursing seminars sponsored by organizations such as the American Nurses Association, American Organization of Nurse Executives, and accreditor bodies (e.g., The Joint Commission, Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care, Inc., etc.).
- Formally organized specialized programs not directly involving nursing but primarily related to patient health and welfare (e.g., Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, Palliative Care, Behavioral Health, Substance Abuse, Alzheimer’s).
- It is recommended that IHS employees annually update their Individual Development Plan in collaboration with their immediate supervisor to support and prioritize the organizations-associated practice settings needs.
Process for Requesting and Attending Duty-Related Education and Training.
- A written request to participate in duty-related education and training shall be submitted to the Chief Nurse Executive (CNE) “or the appropriate member of the executive leadership team,” and shall include the necessary details, i.e., dates, hours, subject, faculty, and purpose for taking the course, seminar, etc.
- The agenda of the program should be attached to the written request.
- An SF-182, Request, Authorization, Agreement and Certification for Training Form (https://www.opm.gov/forms/pdf_fill/SF182.pdf) is required for all cost and no cost external training.
Individual nurses shall have some choice in the selection of the types of educational program and training in which the nurse shall participate. However; where there is an identified need for specific training, management may direct an IHS nurse to attend a specific education or training activity and, in such cases, management has the authority to exceed the cap of 40 hours of duty-related education per year.
The CNE or "the appropriate member of the executive leadership team," may request the nurse to prepare a written and/or verbal report or presentation on the educational activity for the good of the organizations-associated practice setting needs.
Determining the 40-Hour Cap on Duty-Related Education and Training.
If the educational program or training occurs on a day the nurse is not scheduled to work (in non-duty status), the hours should not be counted toward the nurse’s 40-hour cap.
If the educational program or training occurs on a day the nurse is scheduled to work, the following principles shall govern:
- If the educational program or training has a duration of six or more hours within a shift, the nurse will be excused from his or her duty station for the entire shift and the entire tour of duty (eight, ten, or 12 hours) will be counted toward the 40-hour cap. If the nurse opts to come into the duty station for any portion of the shift, the hours worked will not count toward the 40-hour cap.
- If the educational program or training has a duration of less than six hours and falls within the nurse’s shift in whole or in part, the nurse will be excused from his or her duty station for the number of hours spent at the educational program, plus travel time. The total hours (training plus travel) also will be counted toward the 40-hour cap. The nurse must report to the duty station for the remainder of that day’s tour of duty.
Overtime and Compensatory Time to Attend Duty-Related Education and Training.
- Overtime Pay and Compensatory Time. Supervisors are reminded to adhere to HHS Instruction 550-1 - Premium Pay policy and the Indian Health Manual Personnel Delegation #21 - Delegation of Approval of Premium Pay to determine requirements and approval of overtime or compensatory time while employees are in a training status.
- Compensatory Time for Travel Outside of Duty Hours. Supervisors are reminded to adhere to HHS Instruction 550-3 - Compensatory Time Off for Travel policy and contact their servicing Human Resources office for guidance regarding documenting and approving compensatory time for travel.
Use of Leave to Attend Non-Duty-Related or Duty-Related Education and Training.
Nurses may request to use annual leave or leave without pay to attend educational and training opportunities that are determined not to be duty-related or when the nurse has reached the 40-hour cap on duty-related education. Duty-related requests will be given equitable consideration and may be granted at the sole discretion of the CNE or by the appropriate member of "the executive leadership team," consistent with other requests to take annual leave or leave without pay. Non-duty related requests will be approved by the supervisor consistent with other requests to take annual leave or leave without pay.
This circular supersedes IHS Circular 79-04, dated April 16, 1979.
This circular becomes effective on the date of signature.
RADM Michael D. Weahkee, MBA, MHSA
Assistant Surgeon General, U.S. Public Health Service
Indian Health Service