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Suicide Prevention Training: Guidance from the Nursing Commission

Engrossed Substitute House Bill 1424 modified the law enacted in 2014 (RCW 43.70.442) establishing suicide prevention training requirements for health care providers including licensed practical nurses, registered nurses, and advanced registered nurse practitioners. The law requires a one-time training course (at least six hours in length) in suicide assessment, treatment, and management. The law exempts certified registered nurse anesthetists.

The Washington State Department of Health developed rules establishing the minimum standards for training programs. Beginning July 1, 2017, nurses must take a training course from the Department of Health’s approved list.
The Nursing Care Quality Assurance Commission revised the continuing competency rules WAC 246-840-220 to address the new requirements. A summary includes the following key points:

  • Training will be accepted between June 12, 2014 and June 30, 2017, as long as it includes content about assessment, treatment, and management – training may be from a program on the current model list or from other training programs with appropriate content;
  • Beginning July 1, 2017, nurses must complete a suicide prevention training from the Department of Health’s approved list of training programs.
  • The six-hour training may be done in one or more sessions;
  • Training is required during the nurse’s next new three-year continuing competency cycle; for example, a nurse is in the middle of the three-year cycle. The new cycle starts on the nurse’s birthday in 2017. The requirement for suicide prevention training would be at the end of that three-year cycle on the nurse’s birthday in 2020;
  • Training may count as part of the forty-five hours of continuing education required every three years; and
  • Nurses will not need to send documentation of training unless selected for our continuing competency requirement random audits.

Rules - Minimum Standards for Suicide Training Programs
For questions or information about training program approval, contact: or 360 236-2803
For questions, contact about suicide training requirements, contact the Nursing Care Quality Assurance Commission at or 360 236-4703
HB 2315 Concerning Suicide Prevention
HB 1424 Concerning suicide Prevention
Suicide Prevention Training for Health Professionals Model List

Read online at the Nursing Commission website.