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Why is California requiring Implicit Bias CE for nurses?

California, recognizing the need for addressing implicit bias in the medical field, has mandated that nurses undergo implicit bias continuing education. Some have question the necessity of training on implicit bias.

Implicit bias education can be a pivotal step towards delivering equitable healthcare and ensuring the well-being of all patients.

Understanding Implicit Bias

Implicit bias refers to the subconscious attitudes or stereotypes that individuals hold about certain groups of people. These biases, often unintentional, can impact decision-making, communication, and patient care in the healthcare setting. Nurses, as frontline caregivers, play a vital role in patient outcomes. Implicit bias can lead to disparities in treatment, misdiagnoses, and unequal access to care, all of which can have life-altering consequences.

Implicit Bias Training and the Impact on Care

1. Enhancing Patient Care

Implicit bias training equips nurses with the awareness and tools to recognize their own biases and work towards eliminating them. By doing so, they can provide more patient-centered care, ensuring that every individual receives the same level of attention and respect, regardless of their background, ethnicity, or other identifying factors.

2. Reducing Healthcare Disparities

Healthcare disparities persist across the nation, and California is no exception. Implicit bias can contribute to these disparities by affecting who receives timely care, who is diagnosed accurately, and who has access to appropriate treatments. By taking implicit bias training, nurses can actively contribute to reducing these disparities and promoting health equity.

3. Strengthening Communication

Effective communication is the cornerstone of quality healthcare. Implicit bias can hinder clear and empathetic communication between healthcare providers and patients. Training in implicit bias helps nurses recognize and address these communication challenges, leading to improved patient satisfaction and better health outcomes.

4. Compliance with State Regulations

California’s mandate for implicit bias continuing education is not merely a suggestion; it is a legal requirement. Nurses who do not comply risk facing disciplinary actions, including the potential suspension of their licenses. Staying informed and up-to-date with state regulations is essential for maintaining a nursing career in good standing.

5. Enhancing Professional Growth

Implicit bias training isn’t just about improving patient care; it’s also an opportunity for nurses to grow professionally. It allows them to expand their skills, increase their cultural competence, and become more adaptable caregivers in a diverse and ever-changing healthcare landscape.

Why California Nurses Must Take the Required Training

The California Board of Nursing requires that beginning January 1, 2023 a licensee within the first 2 years of holding their license, complete 1 hour of direct participation in an implicit bias course offered by an approved continuing education provider. Verification of approved educational providers can be done using the DCA License Search. 

You can search for us in the DCA License Search (Link).

The Board specifically states this about the Implicit Bias Requirement:

Beginning January 1, 2023, those licensees shall complete one hour of direct participation in an implicit bias course offered by a continuing education provider approved by the board that meets all the same requirements outlined in paragraph (1) of subdivision (e) of Section 2786, including, but not limited to, the identification of the licensees previous or current unconscious biases and misinformation and corrective measures to decrease implicit bias at the interpersonal and institutional levels, including ongoing policies and practices for that purpose.

The Board recognizes the regulatory language at Title 16 CCR 1452 needs to be updated to reflect this new requirement and plans to bring proposed text before the Full Board for their approval at the February Board meeting. Once the text is approved, Board staff will move forward with submitting a regular rule making package to the Office of Administrative Law in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act. The rule making process can take up to one year to complete, so in the meantime please defer to the statutory language in BPC Section 2811.5 regarding implicit bias training. Last accessed June 6, 2023. 

Link to AB1407:

Link to the California Board of Nursing CE Page:


The implicit bias continuing education mandated by the state of California is a step toward providing equitable healthcare to all patients. By embracing this training, nurses not only meet legal requirements but also contribute to reducing healthcare disparities, improving patient care, and advancing their own professional development.