It is mandatory for licensed nurses to undertake a given number of continuing education courses for the purpose of license renewal. Certified Nurse Assistants (CNAs) are no exception and continuing education is required by respective states boards of nursing. The actual number and type of Continuing Education (CE) courses however, vary from one state to the next. Some states have also stipulated Continuing Education Units (CEUs) required for re-certification for each nursing professional including every practicing CNA, Registered Nurse (RN) and Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN).
CNA Continuing Education Requirements
A Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) must renew their nursing licenses every two years. In this case, almost all states require that the certified nurse aide take a total of 12 hours in-service CNA training each year. This totals to about 24 hours of continuing education contact hours for eligibility of license renewal.
As a matter of balance, CNAs are advised to take one continuing education course, equivalent to one contact hour each month. This translates to 24 months due for license expiration.
Featured CNA Continuing Education Courses
Although there may be state specific CE courses needed for licensure, not all CEUs are stipulated. The states may choose some while allowing the CNA to choose the remainder. Continuing education units range from advancing of practical nursing concepts and skills to learning of new state rules and regulations pertinent to nursing. It enables nurse to get acquainted with the latest policies, ethics and legalities changes within the health care field. For most states, sample CNA CE courses include but not limited to:
- Blood Borne Pathogens
With emerging ailments, certified nurse assistants must stay updated with new blood borne pathogens. This is vital because Certified Nursing Assistants are the nursing professionals who always maintain the highest level of contact with patients. Nurse aides must be trained on how to ensure the highest level of hygiene among patients to prevent the spread of blood borne pathogens.
- Infection control
In their line of duties, nurse assistants come into contact with different ailing patients. While cleaning, feeding, bathing and handling other duties among patients, it is easy to spread new infections to other patients or themselves. It is therefore very necessary for nurse aides to learn ways of controlling new infections.
The areas dealt with in this course include airborne infections like multi-drug resistant TB, hygiene based ailments like cholera and diarrhea, viral, fungal and bacterial infections. Nurse aides are also taught how to deal with nosocomial/ hospital based infections that usually lead to drug or antibiotic resistance in admitted patients.
- Medical documentation and record keeping
This lies on the introduction of novel medical recording and documentation methods. CNAs must be updated on basic concepts of nursing informatics for purposes of medical data collection and storage. They are also trained on the use of digitized devices for recording of vital signs like temperature, pressure, blood sugar among others.
- Medical errors prevention
Since Certified Nursing Assistants maintain the most frequent and close contact with the patients, they are expected to learn ways of mitigating preventable medical errors. They can be responsible in making sure patients do not take overdose medication, or reporting urgent fatal signs to a Registered Nurse (RN). They can also be trained on monitoring blood hangs, glucose drips among others.
- Legal aspects applicable to Certified Nurse Asisstants
As part of Continuing education, all nurses must remain updated with new legal issues governing their scope of practice. Nurses must be equipped with latest policies and changes within the nursing field. Such laws include those outlined in the state boards of nursing.
- Resident rights
CNAs as well as their patients have rights bestowed to them by the code of medical ethics. As such, CNAs must get educated on changes in their rights or those of their patients.
Online CNA Continuing Education Vs Physical Classroom
It is usually convenient to take online continuing education rather than attending seminars or conferences. The latter requires absence from work or taking a short off. The employer may not be very compliant with that arrangement and it even costs more in terms of boarding and travel. While online certified nurse assistant continuing education courses are preferred, nurses must ensure the providing agency is accredited to offer CEUs. Such accreditation can be confirmed with the states board of nursing or the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC).