Nurses are the backbone of healthcare. They keep patients safe, treat them with compassion, and provide the best care possible. This is an important job, but it doesn’t come without professional obligations. One of those obligations is continuing education (CE).
CE can be as simple as reading a book or attending a seminar; however, there are many ways to get CE credit for your work as an RN. In this article I’ll explain why nurses need to continue their education throughout their careers and how you can meet those requirements through various methods of CEs in nursing.
continuing education in nursing
1 Nurses must be lifelong learners to keep pace with the ever-changing healthcare industry.
Nurses must be lifelong learners to keep pace with the ever-changing healthcare industry. The rate at which the healthcare industry is changing is increasing, and with it comes an increase in complexity, specialization, and global reach. As technology becomes more accessible to healthcare professionals and patients alike, it’s important for nurses to stay current on how these advances are affecting their work and how they can leverage them in patient care.
2 Every state requires licensed RNs to obtain a certain number of contact hours per renewal period.
- Every state requires licensed RNs to obtain a certain number of contact hours per renewal period.
- Contact hours may be obtained through live or online learning, and they can be used for either continuing education or clinical education.
- Continuing education requirements vary from state to state, but most states require RNs to earn at least 30 contact hours every two years (50% of the total required by that point). States that require more than 50% of the CE requirement for RNs to be met during the first year after renewal will have at least an equal amount of CE required during their second year as well as any subsequent years until they meet 100% of their requirement. For example: if 10 hours are required in Year 1 and 20 in Year 2, then 20 must also be completed in Year 3; however if 15 were completed in Year 1, then only 5 would need to be completed in Year 2 before meeting 100% requirement since 60 has already been completed (50%). This means that some states require more than one renewal cycle per year; so check your state requirements carefully!
3 Many states have adopted the Nurse Licensure Compact, which allows participating nurses to have one multistate license.
You can choose to obtain one multistate license through the Nurse Licensure Compact. This allows you to practice in all participating states without having to get a new license in each state you move to. The Nurse Licensure Compact is an agreement among 45 states and territories that allows nurses who have a current, active license in one of these jurisdictions to have one multistate license instead of several different state licenses.
The compact was enacted in 2007, and it has been growing steadily ever since then as more states join up and pass legislation allowing them to participate. To date, all but three U.S. territories—Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands (which are exempt from participation) as well as American Samoa—have joined the compact. The District of Columbia also opted out at first but recently changed course by passing a law allowing it to join; however, this addition won’t take effect until 2020 at the earliest due to procedural requirements before it can formally become part of the agreement.*
4 Nursing organizations can provide valuable resources for nursing CEs.
Nursing organizations are a great resource for continuing education. They often offer CEs at reduced rates, and sometimes you can even take them online. They may also offer CEs in person, which is ideal for those who are out of town or don’t want to stay at home during work hours. The best part about nursing organizations is that they offer different types of formats—you can choose between group classes, self-paced tutorials and webinars!
5 Online courses are available for nursing CEs in specialized areas and for clinical training.
- Online courses are available for nursing CEs in specialized areas and for clinical training.
- Online courses can be a good alternative to classroom courses.
- Online courses can be used to help with clinical training.
- Online courses can be used to help with specialized areas
6 For RNs, continuing education is a part of the job.
Continuing education is a requirement in most states, but it’s also a good way to stay current in your field. It enables you to learn about new treatments and technologies, as well as stay on top of the latest research. You’ll be able to network with other nurses who are interested in similar topics, giving you access to new ideas for projects that may help you advance your career.
The fact that nurses need to maintain their licenses is a good thing. It means they’re taking their job seriously and staying up-to-date on the latest trends in healthcare. Finding new ways to continue your education can help you stay current and employable, which is why we’ve outlined several options for you here. Remember that continuing education is not just about keeping your license valid; it’s also about improving the quality of care provided by nurses everywhere!