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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