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This paper reports a study that leads to understanding challenges facing nurse educators implementing mandatory continuing nursing education in The People's Republic of China.Mandatory continuing nursing education was instituted to maintain and develop registered nurses' competence in the context of healthcare reform in China in 1996. However, there is an increasing complaint of credit-focused and teacher-centred learning in Chinese literature. Despite an increasing appeal to improve the learning situation, little consensus has been reached. By examining nurse educators' perceived challenges and their coping strategies in implementing mandatory continuing nursing education, this study illuminates the possibilities for reform in mandatory continuing nursing education.Data were collected through in-depth interactive dialogues between the researcher and five nurse educators in five healthcare organizations in China, utilizing Gadamer's philosophical hermeneutics.Three themes were found in this study described as finding a way to support nurses' competence within a constrained situation, reconciling credit requirements and representing all stakeholders' interests.A tension between the mandatory continuing nursing education policy and the context of implementing the policy can contribute to credit-focused and teacher-centred learning. Regular policy review and educational support for nurse educators are crucial aspects to improve mandatory continuing nursing education.