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How to Make Sure You Meet Requirements for Nursing CEUs

If you’re a registered nurse, you’ve definitely heard about CEUs (Continuing Education Units). If you haven’t completed any of them yourself, though, you may not be aware of your state’s requirements regarding nursing CEUs. Even though they may seem complicated at first, though, there’s a method behind the madness. The main thing is to find out what you need to know before enrolling in any CEU courses, so your continuing education studies will be headed in the right direction from the start.

Not only are there mandatory requirements to fulfill, but nurses should also know about all the options they have when it comes to enrolling in classes. They could opt for online nursing CEU courses, or they could attend select seminars or workshops. There are plenty of details to get acquainted with, but once you’ve covered the basics, the big picture becomes much easier to see.

First of all, check the accreditation status of each CEU course

If you want to go for the courses that have the gold standard of accreditation, look for the ones that have been approved by the ANCC (American Nurses Credentialing Center). This won’t necessarily make a difference for your CEU requirements, but they do look great on a resume. The state board of nursing (BON) also issues accreditation for CEU courses – plus they’ll be able to provide clarification on any course with an uncertain accreditation status.

As you’ll find out pretty quickly, it’s a good idea to double-check with the state board of nursing whenever you have any question about fulfilling nursing CEU requirements. They’re the ones calling the shots, whether it’s for the number of CEUs you’ll need, how often you have to complete them, when the deadline is, and so on.

Remember that CEU requirements vary from state to state

Differences in state requirements won’t make much of an impact for nurses who’ve been practicing in the same state for years, but it’s important for new nurses to know that they can’t follow the first CEU requirements that a quick Google search turns up. Fortunately, it’s easy to find each state’s requirements online. To make sure you’re getting current data, visit the state BON’s website directly to get your questions answered. 

This also applies to nurses who’ve recently moved to a different state, and will have to renew their nursing licenses in that state as well. It doesn’t happen that often, but some nurses have found themselves in a tight spot after failing to check on the new CEU requirements. They end up with an upcoming deadline for an unexpected number of CEUs, and very little time to complete them all. This scenario is rare, but it’s still worth keeping in mind if you ever plan on moving for a nursing job in another state. Since each state calculates deadlines differently, you can’t necessarily count on similarities in the deadline or for other CEU requirements.

It’s helpful to strategize which CEU classes you choose

Some nurses simply go for the courses that would be easiest to complete, and there can be an advantage to this. After all, nurses’ work schedules usually keep them busy enough without adding CEU courses to the pile. That being said, there are even more advantages to choosing CEU courses with more than that in mind. Not only could it be required by the state BON, but it may also benefit your career.

  • State requirements may mandate specific topics for CEUs

Many states simply establish a minimum number of required CEUs, and leave the subjects they cover up to the nurses’ preferences. However, some states specify that X number of contact hours be devoted to certain subjects. For example, a state could ask that 2 contact hours be spent on palliative care, and 2 on medication errors. As with other state-specific requirements, this varies with each state. If you aren’t sure what your state’s BON mandates, make sure you double-check!

  • Choose CEU courses to suit your schedule or preferred learning style

There are many more CEUs available than what you can find in classroom settings. You can also get them from seminars or conferences, workshops, or online courses. As long as they’re properly accredited, you can choose whichever format works best for you. A seminar could give you the chance to learn about cutting-edge research from leaders in the field, a workshop could give you a certification you’ve been wanting to earn, and an online class could give you greater flexibility with regards to scheduling and course deadlines. 

  • Find more relevant CEU courses

Assuming you want to find courses that will build on the knowledge and skills you already have as a nurse, it pays to plan ahead. As the license renewal deadline approaches, more and more nurses will be scrambling to enroll in the necessary classes, meaning you might not be able to find the ones you want. If you started registering early, though, there would likely be more relevant choices available.

  • Drive your nursing career forward

Professionals in many different industries use continuing education as a way to advance their careers, and nurses are no different. CEUs that hone an area of specialization, or grant a coveted certification, can do more than just look pretty on a resume; they may also qualify you for a promotion or a better job.

Keep accurate records

Again, each state’s BON has their own version of this requirement, but one aspect stays the same: you have to keep records of all the CEU courses you complete. You might be required to turn them in at the end of each renewal period, or you could just be asked to produce them if you get randomly audited. Either way, you’ll need to hold onto those records to make sure your nursing license stays valid.

The takeaway

If you’re just learning about nursing CEU requirements, they can seem unnecessarily complicated. There may be some truth to that, but the good news is that it doesn’t take too much research before the big picture falls into place.

Also Read – Benefits of CME for Nursing Practitioners

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