||The historical examination of the development of formalized continuing nursing education is intended to make a valuable contribution to the body of knowledge concerning nursing, leadership, and education. It explores the uncertainties, critical changes, and origins of continuing nursing education programs. The study provides relevant and useful information to a healthcare environment that is concerned with patient safety and an increasing movement toward mandatory continuing education for relicensure in many states. Registered nurses identified a need for a formalized method of updating skills and increasing nursing knowledge in the mid 20 th century. This was evidenced through the efforts of nursing leaders that provided continuing education through existing and newly developed structures and organizations of the time. Individuals and events that were seminal in the organization of continuing education from 1957-1974 are identified through literature, archival materials, and interviews conducted for this study. Early examples of continuing education efforts are described. Legislative and professional issues that challenged the growth and advancement of formalized continuing education are also discussed. The historical development of continuing education contributes to the understanding of how important decisions are made for the nursing profession and the role continuing education has had in advancing the profession.