As a nurse it is important that you know your state rules and regulations concerning your education and certification. It isn’t enough to simply graduate, become licensed and cruise on through the rest of your career. Medical technology is constantly changing and nurses need to stay abreast of all the latest news. This is why many states, including Minnesota, have requirements when it comes to keeping your nursing degree and licensing current.
If you live in Minnesota you need to become as informed as possible about nursing degrees in your state and know what is required after you graduate.
Graduating nursing school is a major step in your career. However, when you earn your degree and leave school, you are not completely through with school. In order to keep your nursing degree and ultimately your certification current, the state of Minnesota requires continuing education courses. When it is time for your renewal you will have to show that you have the required number of continuing education credits (CEUs). In order to be certain that you have met those numbers, you need to have an understanding of some of the terminology used when dealing with continuing education. Some of these are explained below.
- Continuing Education Period: Typically this is the 2 year period immediately prior to your renewal date. This is the time frame in which you must complete the requirements for continuing education in order for your Minnesota license to be renewed.
- CEUs Required: Typically, in order to retain and renew your certification you are required to have 24 hours of continuing education. If you are an LPN, you must have 12 hours.
Now that you know how many credit hours you are required to have and your time frame for getting them, you need to know what is considered continuing education.
The overseers of nursing degrees in Minnesota have made it easy to determine if the activities and classes that you are considering will count toward your continuing education requirements. There are three ways you can achieve your 24 CEUs in the allotted time frame:
- Participate in CEU approved professional activities;
- Participate in learning classes or educational opportunities that are offered by any of the many continuing education providers;
- Earn a nursing specialty certificate of your choice
As the nurse who needs to fulfill continuing education requirements it is up to you to make sure that the activities you choose meet the criteria for renewing your license.
Evaluating Continuing Education Opportunities
In order to help you identify opportunities for earning your continuing education credits and keeping your nursing degree and license current in Minnesota, the board that oversees the licensing has listed the following criteria to help you determine if the activity qualifies or not. The criteria include:
- The activity must last at least 50 minutes, which is considered one contact hour. Academic credits can be used as CEUs with one quarter being 10 contact hours and one semester being 15 contact hours.
- The activity or course must improve or add to your nursing skills or performance.
- The activity must have prior approval from the health licensing board or the person or company providing the educational activity must clearly present to the board objectives that are part of continuing education.
- The instructor of the activity or course must be qualified to teach the subject
- The provider must give to you the objectives of the course in writing; however, if the course or activity has been approved by the licensing association or health board, this is not necessary.
- The provider must provide you with their name, the number of CEU hours you will earn and a written statement verifying attendance.
In addition to understanding what the activity should be and what the provider should do in order for you to get CEU credits, you also have responsibilities, including:
- Ensuring that you are completing your CEU activities or courses within the necessary time frame.
- Keeping your CEU documentation for two years after you are recertified.
Knowing what to expect and have completed before you go in for recertification can make all the difference in the world. You won’t have to be surprised by not being able to recertify and you can always be prepared for your next certification.
Having an understanding of the different regulations and requirements that accompany nursing degrees in Minnesota will help you during your nursing career by allowing you to stay on top of your licensing and certification while also staying on top of the latest nursing news and findings through your continued education.