Why are nursing continuing education units (CEUs) and credits important to the nursing career? What are CEUs? A CEU is a unit of credit equal to ten hours of participation in program designed for professionals with certificates or licenses to practice certain professions. Health care is a continually evolving field, and nurses be aware of new research, health practices, and technology so as to best serve their patients.
Nursing Continuing Education and Training
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, registered nurses are expected to keep learning throughout their career. In addition, most states require nurses to earn continuing education units (CEUs) in order to keep their license. The role of these CEU requirements is to protect patients by providing them the most effective treatment. Nursing CUE requirements are necessary to keep track of, in order to maintain one’s certification and licensing.
It is important to note that nursing continuing education units do not lead to a degree. The purpose of continuing education is to ensure practicing nurses knowledgeable of current practices and health care issues. Continuing education courses vary in duration, from single-session seminars to longer units with required exams. Courses are measured in contact hours, with 60 minutes equaling one contact hour.
Therefore, it takes ten contact hours to complete one CEU. A short seminar can be worth one or two contact hours, while longer courses with exams are worth more. Nursing continuing education topics cover a wide range of the health care spectrum. Examples of Nursing CEU courses include:
- Adolescent health
- Pediatric care
- Caring for chronic wounds
- Caring for cancer patients
- Caring for Alzheimer’s disease patients
- Care of stroke patients
- Psychiatric mental health nursing
- Workplace violence
- Adult trauma
- Intensive care
- Cardiac care
- Geriatric and gerontology care
- Cardiac surgery
While nursing continuing education requirements vary, most states require registered nurses to complete a certain number of contact hours before they are allowed to renew their licenses.
Many nursing continuing education courses are offered online. An online CEU course can take a few hours, weeks or months, depending on the particular program. Nursing CEUs can also be earn at seminars, workshops, self-study, and conferences. Other ways to earn CEUs may include attending and presenting at workshops, conferences, and maintaining professional contact hours.
Nursing continuing education is mandatory in some nursing jobs, and it is also helpful to one’s nursing career. A graduate degree or nursing certificate in a specific area of continuing education can help you get a raise or a promotion.
Nursing CEUs can also help nurses advance their careers by expanding their area of specialization. Most registered nurses start off in positions in hospitals and advance on to roles with greater responsibility or supervisory roles. Learning through continuing education therefore supplements clinical experience and help individuals advance more quickly.
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