If you are a nurse or considering a career as a nurse, you may be wondering about continuing education required for nurses. Like many other professions, nursing requires a commitment to stay updated on continually developing skills and knowledge. The types of continuing education required will vary depending on what level and type of nursing you do, but all will help you to improve your skills and build your career.
Reasons for Continuing Education
Nursing demands practitioners who are skilled at what they do and committed to maintaining quality levels of care. All states require continuing education for registered nurses (RNs) and sometimes also for licensed practical nurses (LPNs), but the requirements vary from state to state. You can easily find the various state requirements online or by seeking information from your state board of nursing. These requirements will let you know how many hours of CE you must have in a given time frame and any deadlines for reporting your CE hours in order to keep your licensure current.
In addition, if you hold a certification in an area of specialty, you will be required to do some continuing education in order to keep your specialty certification current. Many advanced practice nurses (APRNs) who hold graduate degrees in nursing also hold certifications that they need to keep updated. So continuing education really applies to all levels of nursing, perhaps because there is always more to learn, no matter where you are in your career.
Types of Continuing Education
The American Nurses Association Center for Continuing Education and Professional Development is one of a number of accredited providers of continuing education for nurses. Members have free access to their online resources, but even non-members can browse their CE listings to get a good idea of the breadth and depth of potential continuing education topics for nurses, which can include ambulatory care, community health, legal issues, or rural healthcare.
The area of nursing you currently or are preparing to work in will likely determine the kind of education you need. You can check with your state board to discover some of the approved education opportunities available to you. While attending a conference can be an excellent way to complete some of your continuing education, there are many other avenues as well. Some online nursing societies and journals provide educational opportunities that are either free or cost a relatively small amount. Organizations like the Nurses Learning Network provide information on state mandated courses as well as a number of one credit or more courses that you can take by downloading course materials from their website.
Nursing is a thriving profession whose importance continues to grow in a complex healthcare system. Opportunities for continuing education abound and with online resources, such as webinars, at their fingertips, nurses have access to the education options they need. While the availability of so many resources may feel overwhelming, it can be good to remember that you can tailor your continuing education to fit your particular professional needs. You can learn more about continuing education required for nurses by speaking with your professional mentors and contacting your state board of nursing.