Are you longing to rekindle your passion for nursing? Do you want to feel that same job satisfaction you once had when you were starting out? If so, exploring the realm of continuing education for nurses might hold the key.
Continuing education can help address common challenges nurses face. It’s also worth considering for your personal and professional growth. Let’s look at all the reasons why you should consider taking one up soon.
Continuing Education in Nursing Defined
Continuing education is regularly brushing up on one’s knowledge to improve and stay on top of their nursing game. There are usually three acronyms you will come across in discussing continuing education.
- Continuing Education (CE) – is mandatory for many professions and often tied to licensure requirements.
- Continuing Nursing Education (CNE) – is continuing education designed specifically for nurses. It focuses on ongoing professional development of nursing skills and knowledge.
- Continuing Education Units (CEUs) – also known as Continuing Education Credits, these quantify the time you invest in educational courses, conferences, or seminars. Typically, one CEU is equivalent to 10 hours of instruction.
Most states require registered nurses to enroll in some type of continuing education. Even if your state doesn’t require it, it may be a good idea to get a CE as your employer may ask you for proof of your continued competence. It can also be a requirement for pursuing certain specialties in nursing.
When selecting a CE that meets your needs, it’s crucial to ensure it’s designed and delivered by reputable organizations. You can discover credible CEs through esteemed nursing schools, professional nursing associations, trusted peer-reviewed publications, or comprehensive course directories. The right CE will depend on your nursing focus and professional goals.
Once you’ve identified an opportunity you’d like to pursue, take the necessary steps to register and attend the chosen CE. If you’re engaging with a peer-reviewed article or reading material, you may be required to complete a test or assessment at the end. In other cases, providers may simply document your attendance, so keep track of the hours you invest.
CE requirements can also vary in terms of hours, with most states mandating CEs to maintain your nursing license. Additionally, certain states may have specific topics or areas of focus for required CEs. To ensure compliance, it’s advisable to consult your state’s board of nursing and familiarize yourself with the specific requirements you need to fulfill.
Continuing Education Formats
There are various ways of taking your CE. To ensure you learn the best way as you earn your continuing education units, you can find a delivery format that fits the way you learn.
One option for earning your credits in continuing nursing education is by attending in-person classes. You will enjoy this format if you love the traditional way of instruction. It will also be great for face-to-face discussions with your instructor and other learners in class.
Conferences are another engaging way to gain your credits. You may benefit from this learning environment if you enjoy visual and auditory cues.
Webinars and Online Classes
You can take online classes if you want to gain your credits within the comfort of your home or on the go. You may enjoy this learning environment if you’re the independent learner type.
Webinars are a great way to learn online. It can be a very stimulating way for nurses to go through their credits this way as they can relax at home while interacting with an online instructor live. If available, they can also rewatch the webinar if they need to review what was discussed.
Another way to independently learn is through distance learning. This can be done by studying materials such as literature published online or recorded sources on nursing and medical websites. This type of learning is module-based and can be accomplished in peace by yourself.
Where to Find CE Courses
A CE Provider is an entity, such as a hospital, organization, or education company, that has been approved to award contact hours on behalf of an accredited approver. Some of the approvers include the Board of Nursing in your state or the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC).
Free CE Courses
When it comes to advancing your nursing continuing education, free CE courses can be a fantastic resource. Let’s dive into some notable platforms that offer these valuable opportunities.
Nurse.com offers a variety of free CE courses to help you meet your contact hour requirements for your nursing continuing education.
The website’s free CNEs cover a wide variety of clinical and professional development topics. They were designed to help nurses meet state CE contact hour requirements. All CEUs are available for access in all 50 states.
Nurse.com’s courses are suitable for nurses that work with various specialties and are looking to earn free nursing contact hours for professional development or license renewal.
2. The Institute for Johns Hopkins Nursing Courses
Johns Hopkins School of Nursing ranks third in the world rankings, which is a testament to their quality of education.¹ You can find both paid and free online courses on the Johns Hopkins website. The courses tackle specific conditions, such as multiple sclerosis and HIV, and even general nursing practice.
3. Abbott Nutrition Health Institute Courses
Also known as ANHI, this nonprofit organization provides free continuing nursing education through online courses on nutrition, including nutrition after surgery, infant nutrition, benefits of breastfeeding, oncology, and other related topics.
Nurse CEU was founded in 2000 to provide nurses with links to hundreds of courses from leading CEU providers online. This includes a section on free continuing education for nurses. The NurseCEU website can also be conveniently browsed by topic, so it would be easy for you to find your interests.
Unlimited CE Courses
If you’re eager to expand your knowledge, then taking unlimited CE courses might help. Take a look at some of the education courses offered by RN.org.
RN.org is great for learning enthusiasts in nursing. It offers unlimited access to CEU courses for an annual fee of only $19.95.²
The topics they carry include medical errors, smoking cessation, and preparing for bioterrorism. They also cover specific health concerns and conditions.
Importance of Continuing Nursing Education
If you’re still unsure about why you should take CEUs even if they aren’t required, let us convince you. Here are the reasons why they will add to your value as a nurse.
Can Improve Patient Care
Competent nurses contribute better to patient outcomes, which leads to more satisfied patients. Nurses who are well-trained can also keep their patients safer because they make fewer mistakes and can act quickly when problems arise.
Can Advance Your Career
CEs can help nurses take over more specialized roles and leadership positions. These often come with higher salaries. Even if you want to stick to doing what you love, future employers will appreciate you more if you continue to develop your clinical skills.
Can Increase Your Job Satisfaction
Every nurse wants to feel that they are the best at their job. Professional development can lead you to feel better about your performance because you will see an expert in yourself. Knowing that your employers encourage you to pursue education can further increase your satisfaction because you know they value you and want to see you grow.
Can Bring You Opportunities to Connect with Others
Courses in the form of conferences, workshops, and in-person classes will allow you to connect with other nurses. Building connections help you learn from others and can help you build on your referrals for when you need to take the next step in your career.
Can Help You Keep Up with Industry Trends and Changes
Staying updated on the latest policies, technologies, and practices is essential. This is because the nursing and healthcare industry evolves rapidly like other fields of expertise. In remaining knowledgeable and adaptable, you will not only become a sought-after employee but also ensure your long-term relevance in the field.
Related Reading: Be Your Best Self: 6 Ways You Can Elevate Your Nursing Career
Advance your practice through learning.
Nursing is a continuously advancing field. Keep your skills relevant by expanding them. CNEs will not only maintain your license, but also distinguish you as one of the best in the industry. Continue learning and your colleagues and patients will appreciate your service more.
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If you’re looking for new ways to advance in your career, PRS Global can help you find your next best opportunity through direct hiring.
We can place you and other global nurses in competitive American healthcare facilities, and we’ll also help you take care of the requirements needed to get started at your new job.
Get in touch with us today to learn more.
1 “THE JOHNS HOPKINS SCHOOL OF NURSING IS NO. 3 IN WORLD RANKINGS.” Johns Hopkins School of Nursing, 22 Mar. 2023, https://nursing.jhu.edu/news-events/news/news/third-in-world-rankings#:~:text=The%20Johns%20Hopkins%20School%20of%20Nursing%20(JHSON)%20is%20the%20No,2023%20QS%20World%20University%20rankings.
2 “RN CEUs / CEU for Nurses / Free Nursing CEUs.” RN.org, accessed 10 June 2023, https://www.rn.org/