A Quick Guide to Continuing Education for Nurses: Meaning, Types, Importance


By pursuing a career as a nurse, you should be ready to become a life-long learner. A job in healthcare requires continuing education on a regular basis. You should be informed of all the up-to-date regulations, guidelines, and research findings that never stop evolving. Regardless of your academic background and years of experience, the field of nursing is full of educational opportunities. Below, we’ll take a closer look at continuing education for nurses as well as its types, importance, requirements, and providers.

What is continuing education for nurses?

Continuing education opportunities are courses or other learning activities that serve to help nurses deepen their knowledge and expertise. It is required for license renewal and maintaining employment.

Continuing education builds upon your professional competence and allows you to learn about new advancements in the field. However, if taking an extra course seems too time-consuming, taking into account your job duties and family, consider nursing essay writing services. You can find a writer who specializes in healthcare to help you with any assignment.

What are the types of continuing education?

Continuing education may take different forms. You can study online or offline. There are also options to take either cohort or self-paced courses and enjoy the freedom to pursue learning opportunities throughout various nursing specialties. Anything from clinical topics to nursing laws and interpersonal skills is available to you.

Here are a few types of continuing education you can choose from:

  • Nursing courses provided by healthcare organizations and government agencies;
  • Conferences;
  • Seminars and webinars;
  • Workshops

You can pick any activities and topics that match your professional and personal interests. However, you should always make sure that the chosen continuing education course is accredited by a reputable organization and approved by your state.

What does not count as continuing education?

The choice of continuing education courses and other opportunities is quite ample, covering dozens of topics. However, not all nursing courses are accepted as continuing education units. Here are examples of these exceptions:

  • Basic life support courses;
  • Advanced lifesaving courses;
  • Nursing refresher courses;
  • College courses that aren’t specifically about nursing;
  • Internships;
  • On-the-job training;
  • Continuing medical education courses;
  • Professional meetings;
  • Personal growth courses (self-awareness, investment, etc.).

Although these learning opportunities do not count toward official requirements, it doesn’t mean that taking them is a waste of time. Personal growth and following your interests make you a better professional, too, but in a different context.

Why is continuing education important?

Continuing education has a number of benefits for your career and personal growth:

  • It advances your competency and skills.
  • It helps you find out more about new research findings and evidence-based practices.
  • It might be a condition of employment or promotion.
  • It fills in knowledge gaps.
  • It supports your interest in nursing.
  • It increases job satisfaction.
  • It strengthens the medical system and improves the quality of care.
  • It prevents legal risks by keeping nurses informed of current guidelines and regulations.

To get all these amazing benefits, don’t hesitate to seek new learning opportunities. You don’t even need to wait for your vacation to do it. Just ask a homework helper from a reliable writing service to write essay for me. It will help you balance a full-time job and learning without unnecessary stress.

Is continuing education required in all states?

No. The requirements regarding continuing education vary. For example, California requires 30 contact hours every two years, while Arkansas assigns only 15 hours. At the same time, states like Colorado and Indiana do not require continuing education at all. States may also provide specific obligatory topics for your continuing education.

To know the requirements of your state, check with its board of nursing. Note that the demands differ for registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, and nurse practitioners.

Where can I find continuing education opportunities?

There are various providers of nursing courses. You can find the ones that meet your needs and interests by yourself or seek them through nursing schools and associations. However, you should always check if a chosen course is accredited by the American Nurses Credentialing Center and accepted by your state board of nursing.

You can find continuing education courses through the following organizations:

  • The Institute for Johns Hopkins Nursing Courses
  • Abbott Nutrition Health Institute Courses
  • The American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN)
  • The American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP)

Is continuing education free?

The cost of continuing education for nurses varies, including both free and paid options. Some hospitals and unions organize free classes for their employees or reimburse expenses.

You might also be required to pay for your continuing education out of your own pocket. Usually, it costs under $100. The good news is that you can be compensated in the form of a tax deduction. Getting a scholarship is also an option.


Nursing is an ever-changing field that encourages you to learn and improve skills. Aside from benefiting your personal and professional growth, continuing education also strengthens the healthcare system as a whole. You keep abreast of new procedures and research to offer patients the best possible care.


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