Continuing nurse education

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As nurses this is nothing new. We are always learning something new. I mean we were all delusional when we graduated from nursing school. We all thought (to some degree) that ‘whew’ – finally done learning. I got all the tools I need to function as a nurse.

Little did we know how SO wrong we were. Five years later I’m still learning something new just about every day at work.

Nowadays, it’s not just something we stumble upon. A lot of states (I’m not sure if all states are on board?) are requiring that nurses maintain a certain amount of Continuing Education Units (CEU’s) during a specific rolling period. For nurses in my state of residence we have to maintain and complete 30 CEU hours every 2 years.

A lot of seasoned nurses are bucking this, and are vehemently against it. They don’t think continuing education is something nurses should be required to do? Now, this is not just the seasoned nurses, a lot of newer nurses are joining their ranks.

I’m no stranger to CEU’s. In my previous career of employment I was required to maintain CEU’s to keep my certification and license valid. If you wanted to practice in that particular specialty, you had to maintain the CEU’s or you lost your certification status and eventually your license was suspended. There was no ‘option’. At first I hated it. I’ll admit it. It’s not only exhaustive at times, but can be costly. Over the years I learned (quickly) that in order to be competent and successful at my job – those CEU’s were vitally important. They kept me abreast of what the cutting-edge technology was offering and how to improve my practice as a professional.

I guess that’s the difference between a ‘job’ and a career don’t you think? Nursing is not ‘just a job’ for most. It’s a career choice. A choice to be a functioning health care professional. Maintaining that ‘professional’ status means being held to a standard, a standard that is above the ‘norm’ and in some cases demands very high expectations.

But what’s wrong with raising the bar? What’s wrong with holding ourselves to a higher standard of care? Don’t we do that already?

I not only have to maintain CEU’s to just keep my basic nursing license, I also possess the CCRN certification in critical care nursing. So CEU’s are an integral part of my practice.

Yep, I didn’t say it would be easy. I never said it didn’t carry some burden. Other than having to spend extra time to fulfill your requirements, most of your CEU’s can be attained for free (no – I’m not making that up)!

There are no drawbacks, and nothing negative to improving your ‘game.’ By elevating your level and quality of education, skill, and training you are showing your patients how much you care about your responsibilities and how much you care about their care?

Is there anything negative about that?

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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7 Responses to Continuing nurse education

  1. Elisabeth

    I think it’s a good idea. We all need to continue learning, and in our profession information and practices are changing all the time. In Australia we now have to complete a minimum of 20 hours of Continuing Professional Development every year to keep our nursing registration. It’s a bit of a hassle some times, but I would rather have nurses with up-to0date knowledge than go the easy way and not have compulsory education.

  2. Sean Dent Scrubs Blogger

    @ Elisabeth Well said, I couldn’t agree more.

  3. nurse vanity

    Well, I totally agree that nurses should have continuing education, so that they are updated to thae latest trends in nursing, But the problem is that some hospitals and those who give the seminars and training academy they make it a business that most nurses cannot afford to pay for the Continuing education…so, most nurses do not usually attend it…I wish there are some training centers that give sseminars for a minimal fee…

  4. Sean Dent Scrubs Blogger

    @ Nurse Vanity Great point! Money really does matter. In my travels I’ve noticed that the bigger hospitals offer some, if not more, opportunities for CEU’s that are affordable and sometimes free of charge.
    The smaller hospitals on the other hand have a difficult time offering money-saving seminars and courses.
    The free and cheaper stuff is out there – we just have to go hunting for it.

  5. steph

    Most of the online journals offer free CEU’s every month. It’s as easy as reading the article and answering a few questions. Twenty minutes every other week, and it’s easy to accumulate more then 30 CUE’s in 2 years. It’s part of our profession to stay abreast of the new technologies and standards in treatment, it’s part of giving quality care. I don’t understand how anyone can be against that.

  6. Sean Dent Scrubs Blogger

    @ steph. Well said! Well said.

  7. I Know That I’m A Little Late To This Thread, But Hopefully If Anyone Does A Search On Continuing Education They Will See My Comment. Just Click On My Name And It Will Bring You To A Site Where I’ve Compiled A List Of Websites That Offer Free CME And CE Activities. You Can Use The Websites To Complete Your Continuing Education.