Continuing education is essential for many professions, but it is especially important for healthcare professionals. New advancements in medicine and medical technology mean that nurses, doctors, and other healthcare providers need to stay updated on innovations and new best practices. For this reason, we want to talk about continuing education credits (or units), why they are important for travel nurses, and how to earn continuing education credits in the wake of COVID-19.
What Is Continuing Nursing Education?
As a nurse, you need to stay in the know about evolving technology and innovations in the medical field. It’s also important to know how to communicate the correct information regarding updates in medicine. As a nurse, these courses allow you to provide the highest quality of care to your patients. To obtain continuing education (CE) units, nurses can attend conferences, webinars, online workshops, or in-person courses.
Some states require you to earn a certain number of continuing education units to renew your nurse’s license. You’ll want to check with your state Board of Nursing (BON) for what it will honor as a CE credit that can go toward your license renewal. However, other states don’t require them at all. Employers and healthcare facilities may also require their nurses to earn a certain number of continuing education credits per year.
The following are several examples of subjects covered in continuing nursing education courses:
- Ethics in nursing
- Management of chronic conditions
- Newborn screening
- Sexual harassment
- Food allergies
- Palliative care
- Nursing informatics
- Emergency preparedness
- Infection prevention
Many programs provide state-specific packages that cover all the requirements for license renewal. There have also been many CE courses offered to address COVID-19 and the research being conducted to find treatment options and a vaccine.
It is worth mentioning that in most states, CE credits cannot be put towards recertification purposes. Continuing education is not the same thing as certifications. Rather, nurses earn certifications through institutions that are accredited as certifying agencies.
Why Is Continuing Education Important for Nurses?
Continuing education is incredibly important in the nursing profession. Nursing requires lifelong learning. In fact, it isn’t possible to learn everything about nursing. Medicine is always changing, and certain practices you learned in nursing school may not be the best way to do things today.
Continuing education allows you to provide better care to your patients. By taking advantage of continuing education opportunities, nurses improve skills and knowledge that are vital to achieving positive outcomes for patients.
Studies show that patients’ mortality rates improve when they are cared for by nurses with higher education. CE nursing courses have proven to be an effective way for nurses to stay updated on advancements in medicine and changes in best practices.
Not only does continuing education let you provide better healthcare to your patients, but it also opens up more career opportunities. While CE doesn’t replace more education, such as earning a master's degree, it does boost your resume and make you more qualified for positions.
Continuing Education Credits for Traveling Nurses
At One Staff Medical, we work with travel nurses to find them temporary assignments at healthcare facilities across the country. For traveling nurses, earning CE credits is beneficial because it shows hospitals, health care facilities, and recruiting agencies that you are qualified for the position and practice the newest advancements in medicine.
How to Earn Continuing Education Credits?
Many state Boards of Nursing (BON) require nurses to earn continuing education credits during the nursing license renewal process. Often, CE courses are specific to a nurse’s specialty; however, some states also require courses that cover topics, such as domestic violence, human trafficking, and medication error prevention. Research the specific requirements of your state BON to determine what credits you need and how they will be applied to your license renewal.
There are many resources for continued nursing education. Some institutions provide these credits at no cost, while others require a fee.
Here are several resources for obtaining CE credits in nursing:
Continuing Education During the COVID-19 Pandemic
COVID-19 has changed a lot about healthcare, which means continuing education is even more crucial. However, this has also changed how nurses can earn continuing education credits. With most in-person events having been cancelled, CE courses are difficult to attend. Luckily, medical boards are allowing healthcare professionals to earn CE credits online.
There are many different ways to take CE courses online. Many of the providers listed above are offering online options. You should remember, however, that of the states that require continuing education credits, some restrict the number of online CE credits you can earn. There are certain courses you will have to wait to take because you need in-person skills classes to truly learn the techniques. For example, administering injections or drawing blood should be practiced in-person rather than demonstrated online.
If you are considering CE courses, reach out to one of the above options to see what your options are. Contact us today at 877-783-1483 to start your travel nursing journey.