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.