If you're a nurse, then you know that nursing continuing education courses help you stay current in the overall medical field as well as allowing you to study your own specialty in depth. In most states, nursing CEUs are a necessity for maintaining your nursing license, or for obtaining an advanced license in your field of choice. Other states leave it up to your own sense of ethical responsibility to stay current with the latest medical breakthroughs, health care technology and constantly changing protocols and standards of care.
Whether you must take nursing continuing education courses because your state makes it mandatory or whether you're pursuing an interest in forensic nursing, legal nurse consulting, nursing management, nurse case management or any other nursing specialty, one of the most difficult issues you'll face is finding appropriate nursing continuing education courses and evaluating the information that they offer. There are several methods of getting continuing education hours and CEUs. The most popular include:
1. Professional nursing journals are one important way of keeping current on new therapies, standards and treatments. Many journals also offer specific articles for continuing education credits. In most cases, you'll have to fill out a test after reading the article and mail it in. The cost of receiving CEUs this way can be costly-you'll you have to pay the subscription for the journal, postage for the return of the certificate and often, $10 or more as a CEU processing fee. Obtaining CEUs this way does allow you to concentrate on your desired specialty, but nurses today also must stay current on the overall health care climate.
2. Many organizations offer professional development programs and seminars that include accreditation for some of the courses offered. In many cases, employers will pay part of the registration fee, especially if the subject matter is in a specialty desired by the hospital, clinic or other organization. While the travel to attend professional seminars can be appealing, it can also be quite expensive, especially when you add in the cost of travel, lodging and meals. They're an excellent option, however, if your employer foots most of the bill and the seminar allows you to interact with important experts in your field.
3. Online nursing continuing education courses are often extremely affordable, and allow you to continue your education at your own pace. You don't need to take time away from work to attend online courses, and you don't have to worry about the expenses of travel, lodging and meals away from home. In many cases, the courses are offered by well-known and well-respected institutions of higher learning, including world-class teaching hospitals. In addition, if you take your CEUs through an online portal that offers a full range of nursing education courses, you'll have access to both specialized courses in your field of interest and broader courses that keep you updated on other important developments in the medical field.
You'll find online nursing continuing education courses in nearly every field of interest, with affordable fees for certification of your attendance and completion of the course. In many cases, your employer will cover part of the fee for the course upon completion, making them even more affordable.