When you graduate from nursing school, you may believe your education is at an end and you can spend the rest of your career simply caring for your patients. However, because health care is a rapidly changing field with plenty of new research and technology entering it every year, you must constantly keep up with your education to learn new skills and best care for your patients. Continuing education is one of the best ways to do this.

What Is Continuing Education?

Continuing education is frequently referred to as CE, and in nursing circles, it may also be referred to as CNE, which is continuing nursing education specifically designed for LPNs and RNs. Continuing education comes in many different formats that are designed to meet the needs of the individual nurse. While some states have specific requirements for continuing education, such as required classes on infection control or workplace safety, most leave a majority of the hours open to the nurse’s discretion. This allows you to choose courses that appeal most to you and that most benefit your daily work.

CEUs are continuing education units, which reflect the amount of time that you put into your continuing education. Usually a one-hour class will give you one CEU. Most states require a certain number of CEUs to be completed every one to two years.

What Are the Benefits of CEUs for Nurses?

CEUs should not be seen merely as irritating requirements of the law. Instead, when you recognize their many benefits, you will be more inclined to choose and apply yourself to interesting continuing education classes.

Clearly, CEUs will benefit your nursing practice. You will learn about the newest research and health care techniques, which will help you provide better care to each of your patients. You can hone your hands-on nursing skills as well as your communication skills to help you become a more caring nurse. Continuing education credits are also given in a few states for skills refresher courses, such as BLS and ACLS courses, which give you the necessary knowledge to respond quickly to your patients who are in life-threatening circumstances.

However, CEUs provide a plethora of other personal and work-related benefits, including the ability to network with coworkers, improve your resume, acquire needed skills for a promotion and achieve the necessary advancement for a raise. In addition, you will have a chance to evaluate your own skills and strengths and determine where you want to see your career go.

What Basics Should You Know Before Continuing

Before beginning your continuing education, you must know exactly what your state requires. In addition, you will want to check with your health care organization as many of them require nurses to complete certain courses yearly. Be sure to complete your CEUs over the course of the year rather than saving them all until the last minute when you will have a difficult time assimilating all of the new information into your daily work.

Taking part in continuing education courses will help you become a lifelong learner and someone who is open to change. By searching for classes best suited for your area of practice, you can become the best nurse possible and an indispensable employee on your unit.