What is nursing continuing education?
After earning a nursing degree, your education as a nurse does not stop. This is because the profession is constantly moving forward as new procedures, methods, and approaches to medicine change as medical researchers make new discoveries. Knowing how much the medical field evolves, many state boards of nursing insist on continuing education (CE) to keep nursing licenses valid, ensuring their state’s nurses are up-to-date on the field’s best practices.
Continuing education (CE)
As a nurse, you may be expected by the state you work and live in to complete annual, biannual, or periodic continuing education classes to maintain your nursing license. Some states may even require CE coursework in specific topics, which is why it is important to check with your state board of nursing to review your state’s CE requirements. CE content must come from qualified organizations, such as professional nursing associations or nursing schools.
Continuing education units (CEUs)
CEUs are the credits you get for completing continuing education content, determined by the number of hours spent learning. This is similar to the system that applies to public school teachers. While these units are typically acquired through CE coursework from qualified organizations in the form of completed classes, you can also earn CEUs from spending time on approved activities, from attending seminars and conferences to completing a reading of an advanced peer-reviewed article.
For such CEUs, be prepared to take a test at the end of your activity or document your attendance of these events. One CEU can amount to several hours of class time, so you will want to keep track of your CEUs outside the classroom. Check professional nursing associations for more opportunities to earn CEUs.
Continuing nursing education (CNE)
Continuing nursing education (CNE) adds to the already existing education of a Registered Nurse to enhance their ability to support patients. CNE helps nurses stay up-to-date with recent industry standards and practices, new technology or treatment routines, and inform their clinical skills.
At the same time, CNE will usually cover the same collection of topics found in nursing school, which can include medicine, leadership and communication skills, and the legal facets of nursing. Wherever you are in your career, continuing education in nursing will help bolster your knowledge.
Does recertification count for CE credit?
Unfortunately, no. Recertification courses dealing with CPR, NRP, PALs and ACLs are not considered CE, and you cannot earn CEUs through them. However, according to the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Board, you can work in reverse: use a CE course to help you recertify. But this can be limited. They explain, stating: “Only continuing education (CE) courses taken during the 5-year period may be used for a recertification application.”
Why is continuing education important for nurses?
Continuing education confirms that a nurse comprehends and uses the latest advancements in healthcare and nursing to care for their patients. Additionally, it helps a nurse develop the skills that will prepare them for future career moves.
Like many other healthcare professionals, nurses must keep their professional knowledge up-to-date. This way, the nurse is on the cutting edge of medical science. Staying up-to-date in an ever-changing profession is important, especially if you want to be on top of the latest health care innovations. CE works to keep the nurse fully current in healthcare technology, best practices, and professional requirements.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for registered nurses with a bachelor’s degree was $77,600 ($37.31/hr) in May 2021. But for nurse anesthetists, nurse practitioners, or other positions requiring a master’s degree or above, the median annual salary is $123,780 (59.41/hr). Plus, the demand for highly specialized nurses and nurse practitioners is growing: the job outlook for registered nurses is anticipated to grow 9% from 2020 to 2030.
Although it’s an interesting, learning-oriented, and fulfilling career, nursing can present moments of burnout, especially when patients need constant attention and shifts run long. But returning to school or gaining new knowledge can offer a reminder why you chose such a rewarding career like nursing in the first place, helping you rediscover your love for nursing and gaining a bit of a refresh.
Being a trusted source
All this education and knowledge will make you a trusted source among your peers. Fellow nurses will notice you are on top of your game and turn to you for help learning new processes or the latest healthcare innovations. Having your education up-to-date will make you the font of knowledge others can rely on, especially new hires who will be looking for work mentors. All this helping others will invariably help yourself, since developing a reputation as the person who knows everything can lead to greater work responsibilities, which is an effective way to earn workplace promotion.
Diversity of new courses
Continuing nursing education builds on a nurse’s existing knowledge and areas of interest. Anyone looking to further their nursing education does not need to worry that the courses will rehash the classes completed during undergrad years. Instead, there will be plenty of advanced courses to choose from.
Looking for ways to learn to become a better leader among nursing staff? There’s a class that can help with that. Looking for more inventive ways to address patient safety? There are courses that cover that too. You can even take courses that work within certain specialties such as neonatal care, pediatrics, and more.
How does continuing nursing education benefit your employer?
While being more knowledgeable and skilled can lead to other career opportunities for the nurse, this translates to additional perks for the medical institution as well. When nurses pursue CE, the hospital or clinic also benefits. Hospitals want the best people supporting their patients, as the best quality of care will help rank the hospital higher in the community’s estimation of the best hospitals. A more knowledgeable and prepared group of nurses will mean better patient outcomes, fewer chances for mistakes that could result in malpractice cases, and an increase in recovery rates.
Increased employee loyalty and job satisfaction
When hospitals and medical institutions inspire their nurses to continue their education, those nurses feel supported and encouraged to become the best they can be. This in turn increases employee job satisfaction and makes employees want to stay for the long term. Employees are loyal to the companies and organizations who support their staff’s personal and career development.
Public recognition of quality care
Skill development improves quality of care. Studies have shown that if nursing education is not planned or applied properly, it negatively impacts patient care. A hospital’s reputation is only as good as its medical practitioners’ ability to care for patients. So when a nurse can give excellent care and service to patients and their families, the hospital itself is valued.
What are continuing education requirements for nurses?
Every state requires different CE obligations for nurses. At the same time, many states may want further requirements than other states do, or they may even be more lenient in terms of alternative forms of education. Meanwhile, most states do not require CE credits for Registered Nurses or Practical Nurses, but employers and hospitals may. Most will expect nurses to finish some form of CE every two to three years.
Be sure to check with your employer and your state board of nursing for more details in addition to the number of CEUs required to obtain and maintain licensure. An employer or nursing association might require CE courses for job-specific accreditations. Sites like NursingCE.com round up each state’s Board of Nursing CE requirements, so be sure to review these before deciding on your continuing education.
Master of Science in Nursing
A Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is the next level up from a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), and it emphasizes the acquiring of skills at an expert or nearly-expert level. Having new capabilities can lead to several new career directions that require such skills. For instance, a nurse may decide to keep with a general nurse career path or transition into healthcare management. Having advanced skills supported by the MSN can also translate to other work opportunities like teaching at the collegiate level.
Continuing your education at Brooks Rehabilitation
The Brooks Rehabilitation Institute of Higher Learning offers a robust schedule of cutting-edge, evidence-based courses that are designed to keep rehabilitation professionals up to date on the best practices in their field and to complete CE requirements. Our expert faculty includes industry leaders in Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy and Nursing. Learn more about our latest offerings and view our Continuing Education catalog.
Joining the Brooks nursing team
With several locations across Florida, Brooks Rehabilitation is proud of our team of motivated, experienced, and compassionate nurses and therapists. We support our staff with a positive, nurturing work environment and cutting-edge medical technology and training. Learn more about joining the Brooks team or you can quick-apply right now!