Ashley Carty is a seasoned medical professional with over 8 years of experience working at the top hospitals in Southern California, including Hoag, Saddleback Memorial, and UCSD.
When you enter the medical field, you learn a new term unrelated to the care you provide, and that term is “CEU.” For those of you considering the medical field, the term CEU stands for “Continuing Education Unit.” Nursing CEU’s are required on a state level to maintain your license, and the amount of CEU’s needed is dependent on the state you live in.
On average, 30 CEU’s are needed every nursing license renewal term (typically every two years), and 10 hours are required for every one CEU. CEU’s cannot be carried over from previous years, thus forcing nurses to truly educate themselves from an accredited provider year after year.
Additionally, your employer (most commonly, hospitals) have additional annual CEU requirements. In many cases, you’ll find hospitals that have “CEU Week” where they give you time on-shift, or you’re asked to come in on your off-days (which you’re compensated for) to take your CEU’s. Computers are provided along with online access to their CEU courses, or in-person sessions are taught in large group settings.
One thing to be prepared for and keep in mind when it comes to obtaining your Nursing CEU’s is to (much like in college) not take the “easy way out“ with easy courses that provide little to no value; commonly the hand-hygiene and medication reconciliation courses.
It may seem like a great idea at the time; however, this is an excellent opportunity to not only get free education while obtaining a requirement, it’s also a chance to advance your career. What’s often not realized is that as a Registered Nurse, you can take additional wound-care, telemetry, life-support classes, or others that not only have CEU’s but will also look great on your resume, could help advance your career, or even increase your salary.
Although it can be great to brush up on the books, more often than not, the information in the standard CEU courses are repetitive and contain snooze-worthy content that no one needs nor wants to sit through. If you’re looking to advance your career, we’ve compiled a list of places where you can get specialty certifications as well as a few upcoming conferences and events. Looking for online classes that cover new and emerging technology and techniques? We compiled that too.
If you’re considering getting into Telemetry, Cardiology, or Critical Care, you may want to consider an ECG Rhythm course as your next CEU class.
Are you looking to become a Nurse Executive? This CEU course covers a handful of key competencies you’ll need to know.
Advanced life support courses are often required pre-employment. However, in the instance that this isn’t a requirement, it’s an excellent option for CEUs.
If you’ve been thinking about getting into critical care, this may be the perfect opportunity to get a few CEUs while diving into the field.
Have you always wanted to work in a neonatal unit? This course will prepare you for your next steps.
Less common, but often extremely valuable: getting certified in Wound Care. There are countless courses both online and in-person that are available. Our suggestion? Check with your director to see if there are any opportunities for career or salary advancement if one of the following certifications are obtained.
Are you looking for an excuse to travel all while staying on top of the newest advancements in healthcare? Attending conferences and events may be the perfect fit for you. Many healthcare conferences and events happen nation-wide every month, and they have sessions that offer CEU’s. One of the most notable is AANP. You can view their annual schedule here: https://www.aanp.org/events.
One thing to look out for that isn’t mentioned often enough is that not all online courses can be created equal. Much like any industry, there are scams and fraudulent sites. Websites may claim they are accredited but do not mention who they are accredited by. Additionally, some sites may claim CE credits but they do not clarify if they are approved for EMTs, CNAs, etc. Moreover, some states have different requirements than others. You may be able to obtain CEUs for a particular course in California that Nevada may not recognize. This mistake can not only cost you time but also money and even potentially your license (in the perfect storm situation). Don’t let that happen to you. Make sure you do your due diligence before paying for a course or spending time on it?
Do you have a favorite site that you love to use to obtain Nursing CEU’s ? Let us know in the comments below. Has a bad experience with one? We want to know about that as well.
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