Continuing Education

Because the medical field is in a constant state of change, nursing continuing education provides opportunities for nurses at all levels of practice to refresh their skill-set and remain up-to-date with advances in the field. Many states also require continuing education in order to renew your  nursing license.

Continuing Education Definitions:

  • Contact Hours: A contact hour is generally defined as 50 continuous clock minutes of participation in state-board approved continuing education coursework or activities (i.e. clinical training).
  • Continuing Education Units: One continuing education unit (CEU) is equivalent to 10 contact hours (1 CEU=10 contact hours) Most nursing continuing education courses are measured by CEUs to meet the requirements as set by individual state boards. For example,  two classes that total 20 contact hours will provide the equivalent of 2 CEUs.

Benefits of a Nursing Continuing Education

While nursing continuing education is required for most nursing careers, it is also confers definite benefits. For example, a master’s degree can lead to career advancement opportunities, along with significantly higher salaries.

Beyond the career benefits, nursing continuing education will also enable you to update your knowledge with regard to recent developments in the healthcare field and stay current with technological advances. For example, if you are a intensive care nurse (ICN) or critical care nurse (CCN) you know that these fields are constantly introducing new technology and treatment methods that you need to remain updated about in order to be an effective practitioner and provide quality patient care. Other fast-growing practice areas such as reproductive health and rehabilitative medicine are also making rapid advances with regard to treatment and technology. Many times, these new developments point to the way toward whole new nursing specialties, as is now the case with nursing informatics.


State-board Approved Coursework

Most state boards of nursing will accept a wide range of coursework and experience in fulfilling nursing continuing education requirements as long as they are nurse-related. However, because requirements do vary between states, it is best to check with your state board of nursing to determine specific continuing education requirements. You may find the contact for your State board of nursing by visiting the Web site of the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (www.ncsbn.org/board).

Most state boards of nursing will permit nurses to take continuing education courses that are part of other healthcare professions if you can provide a statement that explains how the course relates to your nursing specialty area. To be safe, check with your state board of nursing before officially enrolling in any course that is not specifically designed for  nursing professionals.

In general, nursing continuing education requirements may not be satisfied by any activities that are part of your nursing job description.  This means that you cannot satisfy nursing continuing education requirements by providing on-the-job patient care, attending any in-service training or orientation classes, participation in the formulation of facility-based policies and procedures that are specific to your role, or by attendance at department meetings and seminars.

You do not need to submit continuing education credits to your nursing state board unless you are being audited. However, it is still a good idea to keep records of all nursing continuing credits you have accrued for at least two years (or two consecutive registration periods). You are required to submit proof of continuing education when you are renewing your nursing license. Check with your state board for renewal periods.

Nursing Continuing Education Coursework

Nursing continuing education coursework can include everything from critical care nursing, home health nursing, geriatric nursing, mental health nursing, etc.—and can be completed either through traditional classroom study or distance learning programs.  The options are numerous from taking a refresher course in pediatric nursing to fulfilling the requirements for a master’s degree in an advanced practice area.

Where to Take Nursing Continuing Education Courses

Nursing continuing education courses are offered in a variety of settings. You may choose to attend a workshop, attend a seminar or conference, or enroll in courses offered by nursing schools. Online study offers a very convenient method for busy nurses who are balancing other responsibilities to complete nursing continuing education credits. Online courses may take as little as a couple of hours to complete or weeks and months, even years, depending on the specific program.

No matter the venue where you take your nursing continuing education credits, make sure that the courses are approved by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) a subsidiary of the American Nurses Association (ANC). In most cases, courses accredited by the ANCC will be acceptable to your State Board of Nursing.

Nursing Continuing Education for Advanced Degrees

A registered nurse has completed a 4-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program, a two-year Associate’s of Science in Nursing degree program (ASN) or a three-year diploma program. Advanced practice nurses (APRN) such as nurse practitioner (NP), clinical nurse specialist (CNS), nurse-midwives, nurse anesthetists are required to have a master’s degree. Registered nurses may pursue a master’s degree within a traditional classroom program or online.  Most programs can be completed n a one or two year period and the courses you take as part of your graduate study can be counted toward nursing continuing education requirements. Advanced courses are typically offered in the following areas:

  • Clinical pharmacology
  • Advanced clinical practice (patient care)
  • Holistic nursing
  • Nursing theory and practice
  • Health care policy
  • Nursing Administration and consultation services
  • Health evaluation assessment
  • Patient care management
  • Patient education with regard to preventative care and disease management

Nursing continuing education master’s programs make it possible for nurses to advance their career in such areas as hospital administration, management, education, teaching, and research. They serve to build on the foundation of nursing theory and practice that you obtained as part of your registered nurse education. Nurses with master’s degrees play a critical role in managing complex healthcare systems and advancing the quality of patient care. Advanced practice nurses also serve as mentors to new nurses and teach in both undergraduate and graduate nursing programs. In time, they may be considered thought-leaders within their area of practice.

Nursing Administration Continuing Education

Continuing Education for Nurse Administrators
Learning in the nursing field does not stop at graduation. Things change fast in health care administration and nursing at large and registered nurses must get acquainted with the changes as they occur.

On the other hand, nurse executives formerly nurse administrators may wish to acquire more knowledge in nursing issues that are not necessarily provided in the formal school curriculum, and continuing education comes in handy.

But above all, each state’s Board of Nursing requires that every certified nurse administrators renew their licenses and certificate after a given period of time. Under this provision comes the first importance of continuing education needs for nurses. Continuing education is therefore a condition that every nurse who wish to retain their license current and valid must meet.

Continuing Education for License Renewal vs. Recertification

It is quite common to confuse the two purposes of continuing education.  In most cases, nursing administration continuing education courses may be taken along with other nursing CEs to fulfill the requirement of a state board of nursing registered nurses license renewal.

On the other hand, the exclusive nursing administrative CEs are required by those who wish to become nationally certified nurse executives. That larger and wider scope is the recertification requirements and is what is discussed in great detail in this section

Nurse Executives Continuing Education General Pointers

A registered nurse may apply for certification to become a nurse executive by earning a Master of science nurse executive degree.  BSN graduate Registered Nurses may also become certified administrators if they can show proof of 5 years work experience in mid-level administration posts equivalent to 24 hours full time service.

There are quite a number of variations between states in the licenses renewal cycle; a period in which a RN must cover a given amount of continuing education needs. In addition, the renewal periods for which a nurse executive certificate remains valid may also vary from state to state. Even more, some states board of nursing may not require a nurse executive to complete continuing education for purposes of license renewal. This is especially so if they hold a master of science in nursing administration degree and a national .Instead, they are required to retain their National Certificates by retaking the national certification exams from the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

CE Requirements for Nurse Administrators License Renewal

Generally, most states boards of nursing require 30 hours of continuing education in a renewal cycle of 2 with a few states having a 3-year cycle. The American Nurses Credentialing Center has numerous accredited providers of continuing education for nurse executives among other nursing disciplines. If you are planning to take your CE requirements, you must ensure the provider is accredited by the ANCC. CEs can be taken in form of annual conferences, workshops, face-to face courses, online CEs, seminars and webinars.

Students must keep note of the following criteria used by most boards of nursing and ANCC to determine the number of CE requirements covered in a given renewal cycle:

  • 1 contact Hr=60 min
  • 1 CME (Continuing Medical Education) =60 min or 1 contact hr
  • 1 CEU (Continuing Education Unit)= 10 contact hrs
  • 1 contact Hr=0.1 CEU
  • 1 academic semester Hr= 15 contact hours
  • 1 academic quarter Hr =12.5 contact Hrs

While sending your CE hours to the state board of nursing you must fill-out a form indicating the following items:

– Exact title of the CE taken

– The number of contact hours earned

– Name of the provider

– Date it was offered

If the CEs were taken from an online accredited provider, the CE certificates obtained must be printed and stored incase verification of the data is needed by ANCC during a random Audit. CEs taken from unaccredited providers may be rejected altogether.

Nurses Executive CEs for ANCC Recertification

ANCC is the national certifying body for nurse executives. To renewal a certificate, a registered nurse needs 30 hours taken in the last 5 years; which is the renewal cycle of the national certification.

ANCC Accredited Providers of Nurse Executive Continuing Education

To be on the safe side, it is paramount to ensure your provider of continuing education is accredited by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. There are numerous unaccredited online sites that purport to offer CE for nurses. These can be taken for purposes of individual learning but they may not be accepted for license renewal or recertification by ANCC. Among the accredited providers are universities, colleges, and independent providers. A few examples of independent providers include:

  • American Nurses Association ( for which ANCC is a subsidiary)
  • American Organization of Nurse Executives
  • Gannet Education
  • INTEGRIS  Health
  • NursingCEforLess
  • RN.Com
  • CEU4U, Inc

Examples of CE’s Applicable for Nurse Administrators

Continuing education hours must be relevant to the field of nursing for which they are being taken. Examples of this offered by ANCC’s ANA include:

  • Introduction to precepting
  • Nursing quality measurement: Key concepts
  • Developing delegation skills
  • Power and Empowerment in nursing
  • Precepting and communication
  • From Bedside to Boardroom
  • Reading and critiquing a research article

Nursing Continuing Education Requirements

What is Nursing Continuing Education (CE)?
As a nurse in a changing world, you must keep pace with changing trends and developments in the nursing and overall health care field. This is where continuing education comes in. CEs are required by all state boards of nursing to enable registered nurses to renew their licenses.

They are planned educational programs designed to equip nurses with current developments in nursing to ensure maintained and improved clinical performance. They are usually programs where participants engage in learning experiences beyond the entry-level. They can also be taken to enable nurses to diversify their nursing practice and develop knowledge and skills in a different nursing field.  When nurses participate in continuing education programs, they earn contact hours.

Contact Hours

It is a common thing to confuse a continuing education unit (CEU) and contact hours while both imply different things. You get contact hours after taking CEUs. A continuing education unit is on the other hand is not equivalent to one contact hour. Normally, 1 CEU can be between 1 to 10 contact hours depending on the time taken to complete it. Every state has a set number of contact hours required to meet licensure renewal for the different levels of nursing.

Factors Affecting Nursing Continuing Education Requirements

Meeting nursing CE requirements depend on a number of things:

Nursing Level

Depending on the level of nursing you are in, there will be different CE requirements. This means that renewing entry-level registered nurses’ licenses would require different CE from those of Licensed Practical/Vocational Nurses LPN/LVN or even Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) licensure.

Continuing Education Units by state

As mentioned earlier, each state board of nursing has its own CE requirements for nurses at different levels. Some states may require many contact hours as compared to others. The state in which the nurse is licensed dictates the number of contact hours required for renewing the license. RNs and LPN/LVN seeking licenses in other states may benefit from compact state licenses. This gives a student a multi-state license without having to take CEUs from both states.

Level of Working Experience

Boards of nursing also have a set number of contact hours depending on the mode of working nurses have. Nurses who have been employed on a full-time basis during the license validity cycle require fewer contact hours than those that practice on a part-time basis.

Reason For Taking The CEUs

The reason for which a nurse is taking CE also dictates the number of contact hours needed for re-licensure.  Inactive/dormant nurses are usually required to take more contact hours than active nurses seeking reinstatement of their licenses.

Nursing Continuing Education Requirements by State

Below is a tabulated and simplified overview of the important nursing CE requirements on a state-to-state basis. You will notice that a number of states do not require nursing contact hours. Rather, nurses in those states require national certification to keep their nursing licenses valid and active.  The table also shows the number of years nurse licenses remain active until the next applicable renewal cycle. Since the information of CE requirements is bound to change at the sole discretion of a particular board of nursing, students may find it important to verify the information given in the table below.

State Renewal Cycle

Continuing Education  (CE)Requirements (contact hours )

Registered Nurses Advanced Practice Nurses
Alabama 2 24 hours of CE  Similar to RN +6 in pharmacology for Certified midwives & Nurse Practitioners
Alaska 2 Any two from:

30 hours of CE

30 hours of Professional Activities or

320 hours of employment

National Certification
Arizona 4 None National Certification
Arkansas Any one of below:

15 hours of CE

Recertification by a national certifying body or

Completion of Nurse Refresher Course

National Certification with preceptor authority
California 2 30 hours of CE NONE
Colorado 2 NONE National Certification
Connecticut 1 NONE National Certification
Delaware 2 30 hours of CE and 400 hours of clinical practice If National Certification is available:

1500 clinical hrs over the last 5 years

600 clinical hrs in the last 2 years or

Graduated within the last 2 years

If National Certification is Unavailable:

1000 clinical hrs in the last 2 years

NB: APNs with prescriptive authority must take 10 hrs of CE in addition to any one of the above requirements.
District of Columbia 2 24 hrs of CE 24 hrs of CE: 15 in pharmacology & 9 in specialty area
Florida 2 24 hrs of CE National Certification
Hawaii 2 NONE National Certification
Georgia 2 NONE National Certification
Idaho 2 NONE National Certification
Illinois 2 20 hrs of CE 50 hrs of CE
Indiana 2 24 hrs of CE, 6 each in Legal, Assessment, Documentation, and Pharmacology 30 hrs of CE, 8 in pharmacology
Iowa 3 36 hrs for license older than 3months

24 hrs for license less than 3months

Maintain National Certification from the credentialing body of the APRN
Kansas 2 30 hrs of CE 30 hrs of CE
Kentucky 1 14 hrs of CE and other requirements:

2 hrs of CE in HIV/AIDS every 10 yrs

14 hrs of CE or National Certification
Louisiana 1 10 hrs of CE for part-time nurses

5 hrs of CE for full-time nurses

10 hrs of CE for part-time nurses

5 hrs of CE for full-time nurses

Maine 2 None 75 hrs of CE
Maryland 2 None National Certification
Massachusetts 2 15 hrs of CE National Certification
Michigan 2 25 hrs of CE National Certification
Minnesota 2 24 hrs of CE National Certification
Mississippi 2 None National Certification
Montana 2 None National Certification
Montana 2 None 40 CEUs and an additional 10 CEUs for APRN  with prescriptive authority
Nevada 2 30 hrs of CE 30 hrs of CE and an additional 15 in APRN specialty
New Hampshire 2 30 hrs of CE 30 hrs of CE similar to RN and additional 30 hrs in APRN specialty
New Jersey 30 hrs of CE. Contact hours exceeding 30 can be carried over to the next cycle National Certification
New Mexico 2 30 hrs of CE 50 hrs of CE, 30 similar with RN and 20 for the APRN specialty
New York 2 3 hrs in infection control every 4yrs National Certification
North Carolina 2 30 hrs of CE National Certification
North Dakota 2 12 hrs of CE National Certification plus 15 hrs of CE for APRN with prescriptive authority
Ohio 2 24 hrs of CE RN CE plus National Certification
Oklahoma 2 None National certification

APRNs with prescriptive authority:

15 hrs of CE every 3 years

Oregon 2 7 hrs of CE in pain management Nurse Practitioners:100 hrs of CE

Clinical nurse Specialists with prescriptive authority: 100 Hrs of CE

Clinical Nurses Specialists without Prescriptive authority:40 hrs of CE

Other APRNs: 15 Hrs of CE

Pennsylvania 2 30 hrs of CE 30 hrs of CE
Rhode Island 2 10 hrs of CE National Certification
South Carolina 2 30 hrs of CE National Certification
South Dakota 2 None National Certification
Tennessee 2 None National Certification plus 3 hours in pharmacology
Texas 2 20 hrs of CE 20 hrs of CE

An additional 5 hours for those with limited prescriptive authority

Utah 2 At least 400 hrs of clinical practice, no CE

200-400 clinical hours: 15hrs of CE

0-200 clinical hours: 30 Hrs of CE

National Certification
Vermont 2 None National Certification
Virginia 2 None National Certification

Additional 8 hrs of CE for APRNs with prescriptive authority

Washington 2 45 hrs of CE plus 531 hours of clinical practice 30 hrs of CE

Additional 15 hrs of CE for APRNs with prescriptive authority

West Virginia 1 12 hrs of CE National Certification
Wisconsin 2 NONE National Certification

Additional 8 hrs of pharmacology CE for APRNs with prescriptive authority

Wyoming 2 None of 1600 hrs of clinical are met in the last 5 years

If no clinical hours, 20 Hrs of CE

National Certification  plus 30 hrs of CE or

60 hrs of CE plus 400 hours of clinical practice

Benefits of Continuing Nursing Education

Just as you had continual education to obtain a position as a Registered Nurse, so you must continue your education as a nurse.  The nursing continuing education requirements vary from state to state. On average, most states require twenty to thirty hours of continuing education for a nurse in a Registered Nurse (RN) position, currently employed or working at least part-time in the nursing field.  This renewal is usually required every one to two years, depending upon the state in which you are employed.

The variance is great between states. For example, Louisiana bases CE (continuing education) requirements upon employment. If you are employed full time, you must complete five hours of education (called “contact hours”) per year; if you are part time, it extends to 10 hours, and if you work only 160 hours or less per year (effectively unemployed for most of the time, at least as a nurse), you must have 15 contact hours.

Contrast that with states such as Illinois, which requires 20 hours every two years regardless of employment, or Maryland, which demands “approved refresher courses” each year, or Oklahoma, which has no CE requirement whatsoever.

With so much variety, you may be tempted, if you are “shopping for a state,” so to speak, to pick one such as Oklahoma, thinking to yourself that you can lean back and bask in the shade of an RN certification that is, for all intents and purposes, permanent.

We really don’t advise that, nor do we adhere to the idea that you should only fulfill minimum requirements of per annum hours of contact and training.

And we’d like to tell you why.

Extended Nursing Continuing Education, and Why It’s a Good Idea

You have encountered minimalists all your life: the people who do the required work and absolutely no more, the ones who take the extended lunches, ask you to fill out the form and call back tomorrow, and generally make up the mediocrity squad at their place of work. Well, nursing continuing education requirements don’t allow for minimalists.

We’d like to think, if you’re reading this article with an eye to being a better RN, you’re better than a minimalist.  So we have some reasons why you should continue your education as a nurse far beyond the requirements:

-It makes you more saleable.  There is nothing more attractive to a boss in a teeming job market than the individual who can show a lot of experience; it means you can easily and quickly fit into the routine, and you won’t cost the hospital a lot of money in training.

-It makes you more knowledgeable. Added expertise and learning benefits you, gives you an edge in care and responsibility and sets you apart from the ordinary RN.

-It literally gives you better patient empathy. Patients are fine with a good bedside manner, but they respond to a professional who knows what is going on.

Convinced? Good. Now, where do you get this continuing education?

Nursing Continuing Education and Where You Find It

Most professional settings, including hospitals, crisis centers and any other medical facilities will offer what some businesses call the “go-getter” wall.  You may have seen it; it’s the wall, bulletin board or announcement space that tells you about all those upcoming workshops, seminars, webinars and continuing professional meetings that will offer you exactly the kind of continuing education, new knowledge and cognitive dissonance you want to advance in your profession.

You’re bound to find something to make you more saleable, knowledgeable and empathetic.

Job Outlook for the Educated Nurse

If you doubt the efficacy of continuing education, here’s a nugget from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics: the average salary of an RN is $60,000, whereas the average salary of a Nurse Leader (someone who put in more time than you) is $85,000 and higher.  Could you use an extra $25,000 a year?

Nursing Continuing Education Requirements should not be painful; they’re a step to a better future as a better nurse.  

Neonatal Nursing Continuing Education

As you probably know, states have continuing education requirements for all nurses, neonatal nursing continuing education is just one of these requirements. Most of these are 20 to 30 hours of CE every year or, at most, two years; some of the required CE is based upon current employment, some is worked out on an hourly basis, and one state (Oklahoma) has no CE requirements at all.

But neonatal nursing is different, and the continuing education it demands is a separate paradigm from “state requirements.”

When you became an RN, prior to your specialization in neonatal nursing, it may have seemed to you like your educational requirements were endless.

Well, they were, and they still are.

Nursing, particularly in insuring the care and well-being of the very young, is one field that demands continual education, far beyond the minimal requirements of CE (continuing education).  We consider neonatal nursing, a field that has new developments and innovations occurring on a weekly basis, as needing not just continuing (ongoing) education but continual (never-ending) education.

Why Neonatal Nursing Continuing Education Is Vital

A pop quiz:  Have you ever studied the effects of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, and do you know proper procedures for an infant with this condition?  If you are a neonatal nurse, the answer to that question had better be “yes,” especially since it is incumbent on you as an infant’s caregiver to recognize symptoms for early detection and thoroughly understand proper care procedures.

Yet Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome is a relatively new development, first reported on the medical scene in 2005.  A neonatal nurse or midwife of ten years ago would not have known about it; however, drug addicted mothers, and their unfortunate children, have been around a lot longer than seven years.

That is why neonatal nursing continuing education is so vital; new developments, procedures and infant conditions are being reported on a monthly basis in some cases, and no nurse who cares for infants and the newborn can afford not to have a thoroughly understanding of these new revelations in neonatal care.

The Effects of Neonatal Nursing Continuing Education on Your Nursing Career

As a nurse who is already far past the RN stage and specializing in a single field, you are no minimalist, and you probably have never done measures by half.  If you subscribe to the idea that continuing knowledge and cognitive dissonance (that pain you get when you think new ideas) are a part of the job, you are on the right path, we believe.

If you still need convincing, there are reasons beyond the need for knowledge:

-You achieve a sense of balance as a neonatal nurse: you know exactly what to do in a given situation and what role you play in a crisis or medical problem with an infant or newborn.

-You achieve a sense of empathy towards your patients and their families, the kind of authority, patience and understanding that new parents respond to, far beyond a good “bedside manner.”

-You achieve a sense of advancement, as a professional and as a valuable commodity to your unit and supervisors.

All of this translates to benefits for you, your patients, your medical team and your facility.  Now, find out where to get this continuing education.

Neonatal Nursing Continuing Education Programs & Courses

Your medical facility should offer seminars, workshops or webinars on a regular basis, educational opportunities to expand your knowledge and value as a neonatal nurse, and which you must take advantage of in order to be the best in your specialty.

Job Outlook for the Well-Educated Neonatal Nurse

Continuing education is not without its financial rewards: an experienced neonatal nurse, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, commands an annual salary that averages $25,000 above that of an RN ($50,761 for an RN in a Neonatal ICU vs. $79, 638 for a Neonatal NP).

Professionalism pays, and neonatal nursing continuing education is utterly necessary to make you a top flight newborn/infant medical professional. 

Nursing Administration Continuing Education Options

In those early days of nursing, when you had an RN certificate and no more, you had continuing educational requirements.  The nursing administration continuing education requirements are even more extensive. You might remember them as an RN, based on the state in which you worked: 20 to 30 contact hours a year were required of you, and that time was spent honing your skills, attending group sessions and generally feeling that painful cognitive dissonance that showed you were learning something new about the nursing profession.

As a leader, your responsibility has doubled.  It is now doubly true that you must stay on top of the game, in terms of innovations not only in health care and education but also in management and team coordination.  That is why your continuing education is vital for you, your hospital team and your facility.

There are several reasons for this.

Why Nursing Administration Continuing Education is Necessary

Specializing nurses, such as Trauma or Neonatal, go through yearly training sessions to bone up on skills, discover innovations and refine techniques to care for their patients.

Your focus is double that:

-As a leader, you’ve had extensive practical, clinical and educational experience; that learning does not simply rest inside you, but needs cognitive resonance to continue.  In other words, to be effective, we MUST learn new things continually.

-You not only have health and patient issues to deal with every day, but also a staff of nurses who require business and administration skills, in scheduling, ideas, resolutions and problem adjudication.

-As a management leader, you have a third concern besides administration and nursing: morale and the emotional side of medicine.  You must understand the behavioral, mental and spiritual underpinnings of those in your charge, as surely as you need to understand the emotive natures of patients in order to be an effective nurse.

Now, what are some of the educational paradigms you need to continue effectively?

Kinds of Nursing Administration Continuing Education

Nursing administration continuing education needs are seldom answered by simple seminars; it is necessary to align yourself to a management philosophy that is itself aligned to the medical facility you serve.  In other words, your continuing education allows you to actualize the philosophies of management and nursing, and realize them with your team.

This means that your continuing education will follow several lines:

-Organizational structure and how to improve it

-Management principles and cooperative participation

-Methods of open and effective communication

-Allowing empowerment and decision making at every level

-Knowing the research and publication paradigm, and its necessity to successful nursing

-Team building and collaboration in multiple disciplines.

As they probably said to you when you first saw the nursing program syllabus, “That ought to keep you busy.”

Some Nursing Administration Continuing Education Options

Here are two suggested content areas for a nursing administrator to explore in seeking continuing education.

-The Master’s Degree for Nursing Executives:  chances are you already have an MSN program behind you, which gave you a Master’s in Nursing.  Now it’s time to travel to the next educational level in expertise and new thought.

-The Doctoral Degree for Nursing Executives:  Not all doctors wear lab coats; a doctoral degree not only administrates but also teaches other fledging administrators, and a Doctorate in this field allows you to innovate for yourself in researching and developing new and vital paradigms and methodologies in the nursing field.

Job Outlook and Salary for the Nursing Administrator

The job outlook for Nurse Executive and Nursing Administrator is noted on the website for the Bureau of Labor/Statistics as being close to the same as a Registered Nurse (a 9% to 26% projected growth from 2008 to 2018).

In salary, however, there are enormous gains (most of the reported salaries are lower than final expectations, since most Nursing Administrators are new to the job).  The listed average national salary for a Nurse Leader and Administrator is ranged at $82-89,000 but this is certain to increase as seniority and training are factored in.

Someone once said, “Leadership is for life.”  Hopefully you now realize that Nursing Administration Continuing Education is a lifelong task as well.  

School Nurse Continuing Education

Just like other nurses, school nurses need to go through continuing education programs in order to be able to maintain their certification. School nurse continuing education is a bit different than that requires for registered nurses.

However, unlike registered nursing continuing education, school nurses can:

–        Take online courses through the National Association of School Nurses’ website.

–        Take advanced-level courses in healthcare related subjects through a local college.

–        Go through another National Board for Certification of School Nurses or American Nurses Credentialing Center-approved continuing education program.

This is a bit easier than registered nurse continuing education, since registered nurses must find state-approved continuing education programs. The National Board for Certification of School Nurses is a national organization, so continuing education requirements and modules are consistent throughout the country.

Though the NBCSN offers school nurses certification, this is optional, and isn’t the same as the state licensure procedures required for nurses to practice. What’s more, hiring procedures for school nurses can vary from area to area. Some states and districts will hire only registered nurses as school nurses, while others will hire a registered nurse to oversee groups of “nurse’s aides” that tend to students.

Why is Continuing Education for School Nurses Necessary?

Medicine can change very rapidly, as new medications and methods are discovered. Years ago, it was acceptable for school nurses to give children medications like aspirin or diphenhydramine. Today, that’s pretty much unheard of. Continuing education ensures that school nurses stay on top of new developments in nursing, and keep up the skills that they need in order to care for their patients. Some school nurses have been working for decades, and school nurse continuing education allows them to continue to do their jobs well. Without it, there may be no way for them to keep on top of changing standards in the healthcare industry.

Boards of Nursing and The National Board for Certification of School Nurses

Every state has a Board of Nursing, but school nursing organizations are national. So, while licensure and continuing education standards for nurses can vary from state to state, this isn’t really the case with school nurses. For example, all school nurses are certified for five years at a time through the NBCSN, and are given a notice of expiry a year before their licenses expire. During this time, they have to meet the NBCSN’s criteria for renewal, and pay a certification renewal fee.

One of the criteria for school nurse certification renewal through the NBCSN is a current RN license. It is the responsibility of all school nurses to maintain their registered nursing licenses according to regulations established by their state’s Board of Nursing. Because every state’s regulations are different, school nurses must contact their particular Board of Nursing for an outline of the criteria they need to meet to keep their registered nursing licenses in good standing.

Can School Nurses Get Out of Continuing Education?

In the past, school nurses used to be able to evade school nurse continuing education by having their certifications set to “retired” or “inactive,” while they continued to work full- or part-time as school nurses. This created a lot of practicing school nurses that the NBCSN had no way to keep track of. As a result, the NBCSN elected to get rid of these statuses, so now school nurses can only be active, or not certified. This helps avoid the problems schools were having with “retired” nurses that continued to work, without attempting to maintain the level of school nurse continuing education needed to keep their certification in good standing. So, today, there is no way for school nurses to avoid needing continuing education if they want to maintain their NBCSN certification.

School nurses are a deceptively important part of the healthcare system, even though they don’t work in hospitals or doctors’ offices. Studies show that a lack of school nurses contributes to sicker students, and higher rates of absenteeism. School nurse continuing education helps keep school nurses informed about the things they need to do to keep kids safe, healthy, and in school.

Oncology Nursing Continuing Education

Few medical fields can change as rapidly as oncology. The treatment of cancer is a hotly debated and researched subject, so oncology nursing continuing education has to keep oncology nurses up to date on new treatment practices and discoveries in the field. Fortunately, oncology nurses can meet their continuing education requirements in a few different ways.

These include:

–        Through classes taken at their local college or university.

–        Through free or low-cost learning modules on the internet.

–        Through home study courses offered by in-state or out-of-state institutions.

–        Through continuing education programs offered by oncology organizations.

Why is Continuing Education for Oncology Nurses Necessary?

Every day, new cancer breakthroughs make headlines. Cancer pervades modern society, and many of the risk factors for it are unavoidable- sun exposure can cause melanoma, and being a woman is all you need to be at risk for breast cancer. As a result, cancer is heavily researched, and regularly results in new developments.

To help keep oncology nurses at the top of their game, organizations like the Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation have developed ways to certify practicing oncology nurses, and create continuing educational requirements. These requirements are designed to keep oncology nurses well informed, and to keep their oncology skills sharp. Medicine changes quickly, so nurses that still rely on information from decades ago aren’t going to be able to provide the best care for their patients.

Registered Nursing versus Oncology Nursing Continuing Education

Registered nurses are required to go through continuing education programs in order to keep their licenses in good standing with their state’s Board of Nursing. Without meeting these continuing education requirements, registered nurses will lose their licenses, and no longer be able to legally practice until they have them reinstated.

All states have their own Boards of Nursing, and their own regulations regarding things like continuing education requirements and certification with the Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation. In some states, membership with the ONCC is mandatory. In others, it is not. Certification with the ONCC helps nurses show that they are proficient in oncology, so it may be worth pursuing, even in states where it isn’t required. In order to maintain certification with the ONCC, nurses will have to follow their renewal guidelines. This includes any additional continuing education requirements that the ONCC has above and beyond the Board of Nursing’s requirements.

When it comes to the ONCC’s requirements, not just any continuing education program will do. Continuing education courses for oncology nurses must meet the approval of the Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation, or be approved or provided by one of the organizations on their list of “Acceptable Approval Bodies” if it is going to count towards certification renewal for oncology nurses.

Will Continuing Education Advance My Nursing Degree?

Oncology nursing continuing education programs are not designed to help nurses advance their degrees, they are designed to keep their skill sets up to date with changes in the healthcare industry. In some situations, some nurses currently working and attending school may be able to kill two birds with one stone with regards to their continuing educational requirements, but this won’t be the case for the majority of oncology nurses.

If you are an oncology nurse and would like to advance your degree, then a master’s degree program, post master’s certificate program, or doctoral degree program are the only things that will actually allow you to do so. Continuing education just allows you to maintain your license and certification in good standing.

Is There a Way for Oncology Nurses to Avoid Needing Continuing Education?

The only way to avoid having to fulfill continuing education requirements for the ONCC is to not pursue certification through them. This may not be an option in some states, so oncology nurses will have to contact their Boards of Nursing to find out exactly what certifications are optional for them.

When it comes to continuing education for the Board of Nursing, nurses can get out of needing continuing education if they are newly licensed graduates, or are attempting to have their licensing status changed to “inactive.”

Oncology is a rapidly growing field that’s changing from day to day. Cancer nurses need oncology nurse continuing education to help keep them informed and abreast of all of the ways that new research is changing the face of cancer treatment.

Trauma Nursing Continuing Education

Trauma continuing education (CE) keeps nurse specialists of the trauma fields abreast with current knowledge pertinent to their field of practice. CE is offered by accredited nursing organizations and practicing nurses must ensure the school offering the CE is approved to do so.

Continuing education for nurses is also important as part of the registered nurse license renewal. Some states demands that a nurse provides proof of having taken continuing medical education (CME) before renewing their licenses.  Students can take their CE in trauma at annual conferences, nursing organizations, nursing universities and colleges or in vocational training centers.

What do Trauma Nurses Do?

Trauma nurses play the vital role of taking care of traumatized patients. They take care of post-trauma cases, critical care and support and other medical cases related to emergency response. They are involved in accidents, injuries, cardiac arrest, acute infection and respiratory complication cases. In this case, trauma nurses are advised to receive CE in this and other extended fields of health care.

Different CE Programs for Trauma Nurses

Different nursing education programs are available for the trauma nurse to choose from. For others, CEs are state specific and are a requirement to allow a trauma nurse to continue nursing practice. They equip the trauma nurses with the recent findings and new advancements in the trauma nursing field. Below are some of the most common continuing education units (CEUs) for trauma nurses:

Complications During Trauma

This a very wide bracket of continuing nursing education for the trauma nurse. Many health complications are bound to occur during traumatic conditions that would lead to the life of the patient being at stake. Such CEUs include acid- base imbalances; a common symptom in trauma patients. Nurses are trained on homeostasis and the buffering system of the body and methods of restoring the disrupted acid-base balances that result to acidosis or alkalosis.

Nurses also receive training on Acute Respiratory Distress syndrome (ARDS) care and management. In this course, RNs will be trained on how to perform oxygen delivery, mechanical patient ventilation and use of vasopressors to re-establish fluid flow.  These techniques are collectively known as fluid resuscitation and are aimed at monitoring signs, carrying diagnosis and monitoring pathological changes.

Hypothermia in Trauma

Ideal temperature is the key in supporting many cellular functions and as such, nurses are trained on assessing the differences between induced and spontaneous hypothermia in traumatized patients. This course train trauma nurses when to engage in thermoregulation to preserve cellular functions for the patient.

Cardiac Trauma and Tamponade

Acute cardiac arrest and heart attacks are a common phenomenon in trauma patients hence; this course covers the Pathophysiology, and clinical manifestation of this complications. Nurses are trained on devising the fastest care plan for both penetrating and blunt cardiac tamponade and traumas cases.

Neurotrauma and Brain Injury Trauma

This focuses on the care and treatment options for brain injury patients. The brain serves as the centre of coordination of the central nervous system hence, injury to the brain can compromise the neurosysytem leading to cerebral complications and intracranial pressure. Nurses are therefore trained on techniques to provide brain tissue oxygenation and maintenance of cerebral pressure.

Emergency Medical Trauma Procedures

Prioritizing treatment during trauma is the key to saving life during traumatic injury. As such, nurses receive continuing education courses on assessing the level of injury. Nurses must also be trained on the correct use of life support machines during emergency trauma events. Such including prepping the patients, setting up emergency surgery among others.

Other equally important continuing Education units for trauma nurses are

  • Chest trauma management, diagnosis and care
  • Mechanisms of injury and injury assessments
  • Trauma during pregnancy, labor and childbirth, fetal injury and physiology during trauma
  • Geriatric and end of life trauma intervention methods

Online Continuing Education for a Trauma Nurse

The online continuing education options are rapidly gaining popularity among trauma nurses. This means that nurses can be able to take courses using an online mode of study and testing. The online trauma nurse CE programs are tailored to meet the needs of the ever busy RN, who have little or no time to attend distance physical conferences or training workshops. Online trauma nursing CE programs must be approved by the relevant state authorities and the society of trauma nurses can help you with that.

Online Nursing Continuing Education

Whether your goal is to get contact hours for the renewal of your registered Nurse (RN) license, or you just want to keep abreast with new developments in the nursing field, continuing education is the way. A CEU is a continuing education unit and these units can be used to meet the requirements of nurses who need to refresh their nursing skills after long periods of inactivity.

With the medical field gaining a lot of momentum in terms of ethics, practice, technology, it would be challenging if nurses were not updated on each and every new development. Continuing education ensures the board of nursing that the current nurses are able to deal with diverse cases of health needs

What to Look for in Online Nursing CE Courses

While enrolling for contact hours is an assurance of your ability to renew your license, you must ensure the provision of your contact hours is approved to offer nursing continuing education. It would be very sad to have rest assured that you have met your state’s requirement for contact hours, only to realize the CEUs you took are not recognized.

To be on the safe side with online CEUs, RN and other nursing personnel like Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) and Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) nurses must ensure that the institution or agency is accredited to do so. The American Nurses Credentialing Centre is the accrediting body for all CEU providers.

Options for Nurses Taking Online Nursing CEUs

The best option depends on what the nurse intends to do with the CEU. As mentioned earlier, if the CE courses are for license renewal contact hours, nurses must find accredited agents. If on the other hand the CEUs are meant to broaden your general nursing skills, it is not very necessary to look for expensive CEs. However, the certificate option is always recommended but not mandatory for such RNs.

In terms of payment, nurses should do a lot of research on the best fees from accredited agencies. Some agencies offer options for nurses to subscribe annually. During the active subscription period, the nurse may take an unlimited number of continuing education tests.

Other agencies offer a set of CEUs for a given price while others still, charge the nurses per Unit test taken. As a usual observation, it is economical to subscribe for the annual fee. However, this also depends on the number of CEUs to take for that particular period. If taking the necessary CEUs costs less than the subscription, it makes economic sense to pay per unit.

Advantages of Online CE Course over On-site Courses

  • As usual, taking courses online is the best option for the busy nurse who, as matter of fact, cannot spare time to attend annual conferences or workshops. Online continuing education allows the nurse to take the courses at their convenience and pace.
  • For most online CEs providers, certificates are available as soon as the nurse finishes the test and attains the pass mark. This means that CE certificates can be printed instantly after passing an online test. This is of great advantage if CE was a requirement towards getting a new job.
  • Economically, online nursing CEs are cheaper when compared to physical attendance courses. You do not have to leave home or the workplace with a bundle of amenities to use at the conference center. It will also save you from incurring extra travel or boarding expenses.
  • It is also possible to get free continuing education courses as a bonus for your subscription or other purchases of CEs. Most online agencies offer once-in-a-while free courses, hence an added advantage to the nurse.

Beware of Fraudulent Online Continuing Education Agencies

As a nurse, it is your sole responsibility to ensure you get the value of your money. It is advisable that nurses ensure the payment methods for online CEUs are transparent, secure, and safe. By this means, you should never use your credit card information for non-trustworthy sites. It is your responsibility to verify that the billing is only done once with no hidden or future billing.

If the case you do not get satisfied with the courses, the online agency must be in a position to refund back your fee as long as they have provided for that on their terms and conditions page.

Nurse Practitioner Pharmacology Continuing Education

Nurse practitioners have higher responsibilities in the health care ranks. This includes senior mandates like those of carrying out diagnosis and giving prescriptions to patients. To be competent in their areas of practice, they must keep abreast with changing trends and developments in the areas of pharmaceutical drug treatments and other medications.

Usually with time, some drugs are banned out of the market while other times, novel drugs with better efficacy are introduced in the market. It is the responsibility of nurse’s practitioners to learn all the new pharmacological trends prevailing in the market. This updates are now easily available through pursuing nurse’s practitioner pharmacology continuing education courses.

Aspects of Pharmacology

Pharmacology is the study of what happens to drugs when they get into the body. It includes the study of absorption of drugs, their metabolism and ultimate excretion from the body. Pharmacology also includes the study of how ingested drugs are distributed in the body and how they function in elimination of diseases. It also tries to expound on how drugs are delivered to the target organs or systems in the body.

Samples of Pharmacology Continuing Education Courses for Nurse Practitioners

There are numerous pharmacology CEs available for various disease classes or sub groups of patients. Nurse Practitioners should therefore look for CEs that suit their current practice and what specialty of nursing they handle. Below are the most essential pharmacology continuing education units from the various pharmacological approaches:

Pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics CEUs

i)        Drug Administration , Absorption and distribution

This pharmacology CE unit covers the areas of how drugs are administered and the various routes they should be administrated through. These include drug admin routes like IV, ID, IM or oral admin. It also includes training on specific drug absorption and their ultimate bioavailability in the blood system. In bioavailability, NPs are informed of how much of the drugs reaches the blood system and how long it stays there. The course also includes studies on drug elimination/excretion routes and toxicity of remnant residues.


ii)      Drug Metabolism CE

In drug metabolism, nurse practitioners are informed of what happens to the drug after it is absorbed in the body. It covers deep study of drugs kinetics and what aspects of the body are affected after drugs ingestion. Kinetics involves effects of drugs to functionality and production of enzymes, hormones, body fluids and other biological pathways.

 Respiratory System Drugs

This category of pharmacology CE targets nurse practitioners who deal with respiratory disorders patients like chronic asthma, rhinitis, bronchitis, coughs, TB among others. The course aims at teaching the NP on how their patients should manage their chronic respiratory conditions.  Knowledge is given on what conditions the patient should avoid to keep away acute attacks. Intervention measures like use of inhalers and lung unblockers are also taught.

Insulin and Diabetes Mellitus Pharmacology CEUs

They cover major aspects of diabetes treatment measures using insulin. NPs who deal with geriatric patients and other susceptible groups are the more suitable for this CE course. New developments on both type I and ii diabetes are taught.

Proteins Synthesis Inhibitors/ Antibiotics

Antibiotics are the most widely used of all drugs classes. NPs from all nursing specialties must therefore learn the use of all antibiotics and any new changes.  Antibiotics function by blocking protein synthesis of many microbial organisms like viruses, bacteria and fungi.

Apparently, there is an increased observation of antibiotic resistance among patients. This leads to many antibiotics being banned from use after resistance is noticed. NPs must be kept abreast with all new antibiotics recommend for various drugs and those whose use have been banned.

Hormone Replacement Therapies

Hormones are the sole regulators of body functions and systems. Hormone study is therefore vital in helping NPs decide the type of therapy most suitable for patients. Specific areas covered include hormone replacement or down regulation therapies,

Toxicology Studies

Toxicology is taught to NPs so that they can assess the effect of drugs after use by patients. The study aims at informing the nurse practitioner on what interventions should be done in case of drug overdose, poisoning, under dose or timely accumulation of drugs in the body system.

Other vital pharmacology continuing education units recommend for nurse practitioners include:

  • Top Nurse Specialty prescriptions
  • Prescribing controlled substances
  • Drug-Receptors Interactions
  • Adrenergic agonist drugs
  • Antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial drugs mechanisms
  • Antidiuretic and diuretics
  • Cholinergic drugs mechanisms
  • Anxiolytics and Hypnotics Drugs
  • Anti-arrhythmic drugs
  • Gastrointestinal and antiemetic drugs
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs –NSAIDS,SAIDS and anti-rheumatics
  • Antidepressants

Psychiatric Nursing Continuing Education

Psychiatric nursing can be a very rewarding nursing field and also a very stressful one at the same time. In addition to dealing with many different types of illnesses that primarily affect how a person behaves, these nurses have to stay abreast of the ever-changing world of mental illnesses and the various treatment options. This is one reason for psychiatric nursing continuing education requirements.

If you are a psychiatric nurse, these requirements not only help you stay certified, they help keep you on the cutting edge of your field.

Finding Psychiatric Nurse Certification Classes

The best way to find courses that meet the requirements for psychiatric nursing CEUs is to stay in contact with the American Psychiatric Nursing Association (APNA). The APNA is a wealth of information for nurses that work in the psychiatric field and has detailed information on seminars, courses and online classes that can be used to fulfill the requirements for annual recertification.

You can also check with your local community colleges and universities to find out if they have nursing programs and offer continuing education courses. This is a good way to get classes in that can further your degree in the future while at the same time fulfilling your CEU requirements. You can easily earn several course credits going this route.

You should also join psychiatric nursing organizations and other nursing organizations. These groups often host seminars and luncheons that are educational and help you accumulate CEUs toward your annual requirement. In addition, these groups are an excellent resource for all things related to your nursing career.

Because addiction is considered a mental illness you may also be able to find seminars and lectures at rehabilitation facilities. These facilities staff psychiatric nurses and work to keep them educated in the disease of addiction. These courses not only help you attain your CEUs but may also provide you a glimpse of another side of psychiatric nurses.

Type of Classes

As a nurse you have a busy schedule and when you aren’t on call or at work you probably don’t spend a lot of time thinking about work. However, since you do have to be recertified to continue to practice, you have to find the most convenient ways to get your continuing education units in without tiring yourself out in the process. Thankfully, there are many different ways to do so, including:

Online Courses: There are many different online courses that count towards your CEUs. These courses allow you to watch and test at your own pace, in your own time. Some are paid courses and some are actually free. You may have to do more of these type courses to get your hours in than you would if you attended a class, but if your time is an issue, these online courses could be the best answer.

Seminars: There are many nursing seminars that are available, either through the nursing associations previously mentioned or even through your employer. Hospitals and other medical facilities will often host nursing seminars to introduce new techniques or medications to the staff. These seminars typically meet the criteria for being counted toward CEUs. You should make sure of this and if the seminars do meet the criteria, be sure you get the documentation you need to turn in for your license renewal.

College Classes: If you are planning on furthering your degree you can often count many of your college courses toward your continuing education credits. You should check with the licensing board in your state to determine which ones will be accepted and how many credit units are awarded for each class.

Studies in Continuing Education for Psychiatric Nursing

Psychiatric nurses may be employed in a variety of healthcare settings, from family therapy to in-patient mental health facilities to drug and alcohol rehabilitation make the topics covered varied and can greatly expand your nursing knowledge outside of your area of practice. You can find courses on such topics as:

  • Delirium
  • Alzheimer’s and Dementia
  • Drug Abuse
  • Adolescent Dating
  • Peer Pressure
  • Suicide
  • Compulsive Disorders

As you can see, you can broaden your nursing horizons while at the same time earning your CEUs. This could lead you to change your area of practice and move in a whole new direction.

Psychiatric nursing continuing education courses are required in order to remain a practicing nurse. However, they also allow you to delve deeper into areas of your practice that you might not have known about and learn more about how to help your patients.

Nurse Practitioner Continuing Education

All nurses know the importance of keeping their certification current and their license up –to-date. Nurse practitioner continuing education courses are designed to help the nurse practitioner maintain the continuing education units (CEU’s) necessary to renew their license when the time comes each year to do so.

Every nurse is required to take continuing education courses during their career and so it is important to know how to find these courses and what courses can be used for continuing education credits.

Types of Nurse Practitioner Continuing Education Courses

There are many different ways for nurse practitioners to earn continuing education credits, which makes it easier to get the credits needed to remain certified. The main methods of earning CEUs include:

  • Online Nurse Classes: These are courses that are available on the Internet that provide CEUs to help nurses meet their requirements for recertification. You can find many different topics, from new medical trends and techniques to advanced nursing.
  • Traditional Campus Based Classes: If you prefer to attend a traditional classroom, you can check with your local colleges and find out what classes they offer for continuing education credits. You should make sure the classes will fulfill the nurse practitioner continuing education requirements before you invest your time and money in the class,
  • Lunch and Learn or Employer-Offered Courses: There are many education offerings that can be found through your employer. These are what some people call lunch and learns or seminars that the employer brings in for advancing their employees knowledge. The added benefit is that many of these types of courses qualify as CEUs and go toward fulfilling your objective.

These are the three main types of continuing education classes that you can use to get your educational requirements met before time for your recertification. The next thing you need to know is how to find courses that meet those requirements.

Finding Continuing Education Courses for the Nurse Practitioner

Before you can decide which classes you want to take you have to know what is offered and where you can find the classes. In order to find classes that meet the required criteria for being used as a continuing education class you should utilize the following resources:

  • AANP CE Center: The American Association of Nurse Practitioners Continuing Education Portal provides you with information regarding many continuing education opportunities that are available online with online testing and certification once the testing is complete.
  • CE Calendar: This is a comprehensive calendar of educational opportunities for continuing education credits. These courses are listed by location and date and shows courses that are approved by the AANP.
  • Independent Continuing Education Opportunities: This listing is also approved by the AANP and includes a variety of learning options including online, self-study through publications, CDs, DVDs and more.
  • NPACE: The Nurse Practitioner Associates for Continuing Education provides nurse practitioners with information on live conferences and seminars that provide education opportunities for nurse practitioners and other nursing professionals who require CEUs.

This is by no means a comprehensive listing of the resources available to nurse practitioners to help them get their continuing education requirements completed annually.

Types of Courses you can take for Continuing Education

There are many different subjects you can choose when you are searching for classes to fulfill your education requirements. You can choose those that will help you advance your career as you continue further in your education goals or choose the ones that interest you the most and are related to your current field of nursing. Some of the classes you may encounter include:

  • New Treatment Options for Various Diseases: You can find many different continuing education classes that are focused on treatment options for specific diseases, such as new ways to treat diabetes or HIV.
  • High blood pressure, Asthma or other Specific Conditions: If you work in a specialty field or area of the hospital you may find it beneficial to choose CE courses that pertain to ailments you deal with on a daily basis, such as arthritis, depression and much more.
  • Field Specialties: If you work in a specialized area of the hospital or a specialized doctor’s office, you may find it beneficial to choose CE courses in that area, such as geriatrics or pediatrics.

You don’t have to choose courses that you aren’t interested in just to meet your required CE units. You can and should choose classes and seminars that interest you and will benefit your career.

Nurse practitioner continuing education is a requirement of being a nurse that you need to stay aware of and make sure you are prepared for before time for you to renew your license. You can utilize many different resources and class types to get your CEUs and stay abreast of the latest news in your field of nursing.

RN Continuing Education Courses

Nursing is a continuously changing field that requires nurses to renew their skills and update their knowledge with regard to advances in both practice and technology. Many states also require nurses to enroll in continuing education coursework in order to renew their license. Different states will usually have different continuing education requirements related to license renewal.

What Entails Continuing Education?

Contact Hours:  A contact hour may be defined as 50 continuous clock minutes of participation in approved continuing education coursework or related activities (e.g. advanced clinical training to transition into a new specialty area).

Continuing Education Units:  One continuing education unit (CEU) equals 10 contact hours. Most nurse continuing education coursework is measured in CEUs the nurse’s progress in meeting state board regulations. As an example, three classes that total 30 contact hours provide the equivalent of 3 CEUs.

Advantages of RN Continuing Education Courses

While nurse continuing education coursework is necessary in many states in order to renew nursing licenses, there are several additional advantages to participating in such classes. For example, a master’s degree can lead to career advancement and higher salaries (and master’s level coursework does count toward the continuing education requirements).

Beyond career advancement, continuing education will allow you to remain knowledgeable with regard to new developments in the healthcare field and keep current with technological advances. For example, the specialties of nurse informatics, critical care nursing, and intensive care nursing are continuously undergoing advances in practice and technology and it benefits you to remain aware of these changes so you may provide quality care.

State-board Approved Nursing Continuing Education Coursework

Most State Boards of Nursing will accept a wide range of coursework and training activities to fulfill continuing education requirements as long as these are related to the nursing profession. However, because specific requirements do vary it is best to contact your State Board to determine specific criteria. You may find contact information for your State board by visiting the Web site of the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (ncnbn.org/board). State boards will also typically permit nurses to take coursework in related fields provided you can show how these classes relate to your specialty area. Check with your State Board before enrolling in any of this coursework.

In general, the continuing education requirement may not be satisfied by any courses or activities that are directly related to your nursing job description. This means that you cannot fulfill continuing education requirements by providing direct patient care, participating in in-serve training or workshops, participating in the formulation of policy and procedures directly related to your role, or attending department meetings.

Registered nurses will not need to submit proof of continuing education credits unless they are being audited by their state board or renewing their nursing license. Check with your state board to determine the renewal period. Although you do not need to submit proof of continuing education coursework except under special circumstances, it is wise to keep accurate records of all CEUs completed during the past two years.

RN Continuing Education Courses

Nursing Continuing Education Coursework can include a variety of classes, from emergency nursing, home health nursing, pediatrics, psychiatric/mental health nursing, gerontology, nurse informatics, etc. Options include taking a refresher course in your area of specialty to participation in a master’s or post-masters program.

Options for RN Continuing Education Courses

Nurse Continuing Education Coursework is offered in diverse formats such as seminars, workshops, conferences, or classes offered by nursing schools. Continuing education coursework may be completed within traditional campus-based programs or via distance learning programs. Online study offers a convenient option for working nurses who are juggling multiple responsibilities to meet continuing education requirements. Online courses may involved only a few hours per week if taking one or two classes, or one to two years if enrolled n a master’s or post-master’s program.

Regardless of the format in which you take continuing education credits you want to ensure that the credits are approved by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) an arm of the American Nurses Association. In most cases, courses approved by the ANCC will be accepted by your state board.

RNs Continuing Education Courses for Advanced Practice Nurses

Registered nurses with a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN), associate’s degree in nursing (ADN/ASN), or diploma in nursing may pursue a master’s degree within a traditional classroom program or via distance learning. A master’s degree will permit nurses to assume the role of Advanced Practice Nurse (APRN). Advanced practice nurses include nurse practitioner (NP), clinical nurse specialist (CNS), nurse midwife (NCM), and nurse anesthetist (CRNA). Most master degree programs may be completed in eighteen to twenty four months of full time study or three to four years of pat time study. Coursework taken as part of the master’s program will fulfill continuing education requirements. Typical master’s coursework includes;

  • Clinical pharmacology
  • Advanced clinical practice in patient care
  • Holistic nursing
  • Nursing theory and practice
  • Health care policy and planning
  • Health economics
  • Nursing Leadership and Administration
  • Health assessment and treatment planning
  • Patient care management
  • Medical ethics
  • Patient  and family education in preventative care and disease management