The No-Hassle Way to Stay Current with Your CEUs
You’re no doubt aware that in order to continue practicing as a registered nurse (RN) you will need to earn continuing education units (CEUs). Three out of four states in the U.S. require nurses to complete CEUs for license renewal. And if you’re an advance practice registered nurse (APRN), you’re required to take even more training, such as pharmacology courses.
Nursing CEU requirements vary widely from state to state. For instance, Florida expects RNs to complete training on medical error prevention; New York requires one hour of training in infection control; and Oregon has a one-time stipulation of seven hours of CEU in pain management. These criteria may change over time so the safest bet is to go directly to your state’s website for the latest information.
When shopping for continuing education courses, however, it’s a case of “buyer beware.” Make sure the class is from an accredited institution and meets your state’s eligibility requirements. If a continuing education course is not accredited, you won’t receive credit for your hard work. Most states have a list of approved classes or accredited CEU providers.
Jennie Anderson, RN, MSN, cautions nurses against the temptation of searching online for “free continuing education credits.” You’re likely to get many hits, but few that are credible or trustworthy.
Where to find nursing CEUs
Your workplace would be a good place to start. Most hospitals offer classes to nurse employees who qualify for continuing education credit. And if your employer doesn’t offer classes, it may offer tuition reimbursement for CEUs.
Sign up for a professional nursing association related to your field. Whether you’re in ambulatory care or urology, there’s a professional association particular to your specialty. The CEUs offered through these organizations are more likely to be relevant to your work because they’ll be specific to your field.
If you plan on going to a nursing conference this year, you can easily attend seminars that count toward continuing education units. And if it means you’ll be learning how to deal with difficult patients under the warm Florida sun, that’s even more of an incentive to go!
Attending classes toward a degree will also fulfill your CEU obligation and give your career an added boost. Nurses who complete a bachelor’s degree or higher have stronger communication and problem-solving skills and conduct care with better patient outcomes, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN).
The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) also has a list of accredited health care organizations that provide continuing nursing education on its website.
Check your state’s CEU requirements:Learn More: Click to view related resources.
- "The Impact of Education on Nursing Practice," American Association of Colleges of Nursing
- Jennie Anderson, RN, MSN, "Know the Ins and Outs of Continuing Education," MightyNurse.com