Nursing Continuing Education Credits
Courses that offer nursing continuing education credits provide healthcare professionals with the opportunity to stay up-to-date in their fields, advance their skill sets, and keep in compliance with governmental certification requirements. Like everything else in the modern world, technological advances in healthcare have come a long way from the country doctor's black bag and stethoscope. Innovative devices monitor such important information as the patient's heart rate and blood pressure. Machines do entire body scans and record brain waves. Diagnostic equipment is much more advanced than even just a few years ago. Nurses need training to use whatever equipment and medical devices that are part of their daily routine. They also have to keep updated on relevant research and its implications for patient care. For example, new mothers are taught to place newborns on their backs to sleep as a preventative to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). But many of these new mothers were probably placed on tummies to sleep as newborns because that was the conventional wisdom only a generation or so ago. Programs that offer nursing continuing education credits provide the latest innovations and research to the healthcare professionals, allowing them to provide even better care and instruction to the patients entrusted to their care.
A licensed practical nurse usually has at least a year of education with additional time spent under supervised patient care before receiving the designation of LPN. A registered nurse spends even more time in the classroom. She may graduate with a diploma from a hospital program or have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. Both designations, LPN and RN, require that the individual pass an extensive government examination. An RN with a bachelor's degree may choose to continue in graduate school and receive a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree. Depending on the individual's career goals and objectives, nursing continuing education credits can provide advanced skills. With additional experience, the nurse may choose a specialty and even a specialty within a specialty. For example, the professional may start out her career as a pediatrics nurse. As time goes on, she seeks the education and experiences that qualify her to work in a neonatal intensive care unit. As other options, the professional may desire to gain supervisory or teaching positions within a hospital or educational setting. Depending on the aspirations, this path may require additional and specialized nursing continuing education credits or even the pursuit of a postgraduate doctorate degree. Obviously, today's nurse is a highly trained and knowledgeable individual.
As already stated, individuals must pass a government exam as part of the process of becoming a nurse. Aspiring LPNs must pass a state examination and aspiring RNs must pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) to be licensed or certified to work in the profession. Additionally, different states may have legislation that requires healthcare professionals to receive education and training on specific topics. For example, some states require nurses to obtain nursing continuing education credits on such issues as domestic violence or epidemics. To keep his license or certification, the nurse has to comply with the laws of the state in which he practices by taking accredited and approved courses that cover the mandated material. These opportunities, even when state-mandated, add to the individual's personal resume of education and experience. By increasing his knowledge and skills, the nurse is a true healthcare professional. As King Solomon advised: "Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding" (Proverbs 9:9-10).
Educational institutions, such as colleges and universities, often offer nursing continuing education credits in traditional classroom settings, study-at-home programs, and through online classes. Many professionals appreciate the online option. Being able to take continuing education via the internet allows them the flexibility to schedule coursework around busy and irregular work schedules. Both the study-at-home and online classes may be self-pacing or have certain deadlines. Programs offer a variety of learning aids, including CDs and DVDs, textbooks, video clips, and web links. Professional conferences often include short classes as part of the program. This allows the nurse to obtain needed CEUs while attending the conference. Offering the CEUs provides motivation for nurses to attend these conferences. Of course, the nurse is usually required to pay a fee for each course whether it's taken in a traditional classroom, online, or at a conference. The evaluation process may involve quizzes or tests.
A national organization is responsible for accrediting the educational institutions that provide continuing education classes and also establishes credentialing programs that certify nurses in specific areas. The professional should be sure that any nursing continuing education credits that he receives are being provided by an accredited program. Additionally, depending on career goals, the professional will need to be sure the particular continuing education units (CEUs) provide the sought-after credentials. Relevant websites have information on both the accreditation and credentialing issues that can assist the professional in answering any questions that may arise. Additionally, the professional can search government websites to find out about legislative changes that affect the nursing profession. Healthcare is a major national issue that is affected by scientific research, technological breakthroughs, economics, and politics. But at the center of all the science and debate are patients and the nurses that care for them. By choosing to take relevant nursing continuing education credits, the professional stays on top of the latest advances in her field, improves and broadens her skill set, and complies with governmental regulations.
Nurse EducationNurse education teaches young men and women how to succeed in caring for others in a medical environment such as a nursing home or hospital with principles reaching all ages and walks of life. Continuing nursing education is something that is a hard step to take on the road in a career path, especially because it involves a lot of money. Not to mention, having a job while in school is very difficult, if not impossible. Looking at the class load and work that has to be done in the process of earning a degree, many people wonder what their options really are. Several possibilities will make this time a less stressful and more enjoyable one.
The first option is to enroll in one of the schools that either has some type of loan repayment program or a program that has a career opportunity payment program. In continuing nursing education, a loan repayment program is one that allows loans to be repaid in exchange for work at a facility or hospital that has a low amount of employees. A lot of times the hospital/school will merely void out the loans or pay them for them depending on where the loans were taken from.
Another way that studying and classes can be made easier is through time management. Students need to know that nurse education is going to be difficult and realize that some things may need to go on the back burner. It's wise to figure out a time schedule that works best with one's classes. Continuing nursing education manages to burn a lot of people out. This is why it is best to figure out a time to study before deciding to embark on this journey. Students should join a study group and meet regularly. They need to make sure the other students in the study group are enjoyable and trustworthy people.
Finally, students must learn to allow themselves time for fun outings that have nothing to do with classes. Sometimes taking a day off is the best thing a person can do for mental blocks. Continuing nursing education is a lot of work and students deserve rest sometimes. It's wise to find a group of friends that will help encourage study time as well as playtime. If all these things are done, then a nurse education will be an enjoyable experience. "Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O LORD, in the light of thy countenance" (Psalm 89:15).
Continuing education for nurses is required by states for professional license renewal in order for these healthcare workers to maintain knowledge of current techniques. Requirements vary by state, so the interested individual must check with the state licensing board in their area. States typically require a certain number of continuing education units (CEUs) to be completed every couple of years. Continuing education for nurse programs are intended to insure that individuals stay abreast of the latest medical methods. This also provides the opportunity to continue to increase the knowledge base in this area of interest and specialty. "And heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you." (Luke 10:9)
Courses can be found online, in print home-study modules from organizations such as The March of Dimes, or from hospitals, local colleges, and universities. Some programs that offer continuing education for nurses are free online and at various institutions offering classes. Some classes are free for only military personnel and many require a fee. Some nursing journals list a schedule of offerings for continuing education for nurse programs. The state or local chapter of the professional nursing association is another great resource.
Not all programs may be recognized by the state licensure board. Some states have a list of certain agencies which are approved to offer continuing education for nurses. It is very important for the individual to make sure the CEU module selected is sponsored by an approved agency, or there may be additional requirements needed to ensure that this course counts toward the relicensure. Nearly all courses taken from colleges or universities are accepted by state boards for continuing education for nurse programs as long as a minimal grade, usually a C, is earned.
Continuing education is offered in virtually every medical specialty area a person might be interested in. Some courses cover medical treatment methods; others may be more informational or procedural in nature such as courses on how to identify and report domestic violence. Some states do have required courses for continuing education for nurses that everyone must take as part of their relicensure. Most of the units one must take are up to the individuals own choice. Mandatory course topics are used by states that want to quickly ensure that all nurses receive training on a certain issue or topic in a short amount of time.
The cost of this program can add up over time but there are ways to make it more manageable. One should look for as many free CEU courses as possible. Also, one can join an agency which offers units in continuing education for nurse programs for a yearly fee. This entitles the individual to take courses as a reduced rate. The Internet has many CEU opportunities and agencies for healthcare workers. Online courses are convenient and membership with an online organization makes keeping track of these units easy. The student should make sure to verify that all units taken are offered by state-approved agencies or organizations so that the efforts are not for naught.