05 Apr Nursing Continuing Education – CEUs, Programs, Degrees
While nursing continuing education has always been imperative for someone in this healthcare profession, it has become increasingly valued due to so many advancements in medicine. Nursing is not only ever-changing but also a career that has an abundance of opportunities in various fields of medicine. Today, it is estimated that over 2.5 million people in the US work in the nursing field, making this the largest of all healthcare opportunities.
Nursing Continuing Education – General Benefits
While nursing is extremely rewarding, it is also a career with challenge. For any nurse to be proficient in the job, nursing continuing education is mandatory. In addition to keeping a person current on medical practices, medicines, risks, and other pertinent aspects of nursing, ongoing education is also mandatory for a nurse to maintain state licensing. With the knowledge gained, someone in this field would have the expertise needed to provide exceptional patient care.
Another huge benefit that comes from nursing continuing education has to do with career opportunities. Obviously, the more knowledge, skills, and expertise a nurse has the more advancement options there would be. Although one person may use the new education to be more proficient in a current job, another person could take the newfound knowledge and apply it to an entirely different field of nursing.
Additionally, with nursing continuing education potential for higher salary exists. With greater knowledge, especially knowledge that would allow a person to work in a specialized field of nursing, earning potential would increase. Therefore, if an individual were interested in better job security, more opportunity in a nursing profession, and make a higher salary, the key comes with information acquired from education.
We also wanted to mention that when a person completes nursing continuing education, regardless of the type or field, it strengthens a resume. If this individual were interested in taking a job in another city, for a different doctor or medical facility, or to work an entirely different role, being able to present a resume to a potential employer that shows all the additional education completed would provide that person with an edge over the competition.
Then from a personal standpoint, someone who completes nursing continuing education would love the sense of accomplishment. Again, if a nurse worked with pediatric care patients, learning about new medications, techniques, treatments, and surgeries would give that individual a sense of pride and a feeling of being able to make children better, thanks to the extra education obtained. Of course, this same sense of pride and achievement would be associated with any nursing field.
The great thing about nursing continuing education today is that a person has so many different options. For one thing, along with completing more certifications, licenses, or coursework on a conventional college or university campus, a person could also complete the same education online. This too comes with many exciting benefits that a person should consider.
As an example, online nursing continuing education is often less expensive than the cost of tuition through a conventional educational institution. Therefore, someone on a budget who needs or wants to take additional nursing classes should research the various options online along with those presented through a college, university, or nursing school.
Online education can also be completed in a shorter period of time. Today, colleges and universities understand the demands of nurses so they have created online opportunities that provide the same type and quality of education but in less time. Obviously, this makes the education process more convenient but it also allows a person to reach the intended goal quicker so benefits could be enjoyed sooner.
Just being able to get more nursing education from the privacy and comfort of the home is worth a lot. For instance, if a person were working full-time as a nurse but was also married with children, going to school on campus would take precious time away from the family and leave the individual feeling stressed and overwhelmed. However, when completing education online, courses could be taken at a more relaxed pace and when convenient for the person.
As an example, after the children go to bed, this person would have the chance to sit down at the computer and go through different classes or even gain more knowledge on off days or during weekend hours. The possibilities are endless, making online education a popular choice. Again, someone interested in nursing continuing education would need to look at all the pros and cons and then make the decision most fitting.
Regardless of the specific choice a person makes regarding nursing continuing education on campus or online, there are specific factors that should be a part of the decision-making process. For one thing, any college or university should be accredited. In addition, the educational institution chosen should provide exact curriculum a person needs to maintain state licensing but also propel the career as wanted.
No matter the type of nursing field a person works, to perform services to patients state licensing is mandated. Even so, the exact requirements to acquire and maintain licensing is unique to each state so it would be imperative for a person to find out the various criteria. One of the main aspects is the required number of contact hours a person would need while completing nursing continuing education.
The definition of a “contact hour” is 50 consecutive clock minutes while participating in a continuing education class or activity that has board approval, with ten contact hours being referred to as a Continuing Education Unit or CEU. Now, while the majority of education would be available through qualified and reputable online colleges and universities, an individual may need to complete a certain degree of laboratory or clinical study, which would need to be done locally.
The best way for a person to determine the exact classes and activities needed with nursing continuing education, whether on campus or online, would be to get in touch with the American Nurses Association or ANA, or if preferred, this organization’s subsidiary of the American Nurses Credentialing Center or ANCC.
Outlook for the Future
Because there is such high demand for qualified nurses of all types and on all levels, and the fact that it is expected by 2016 there will be a 23% increase in need, getting a nursing degree and then completing nursing continuing education is an exceptional way to enjoy a gratifying career. Experts agree that of all possible careers, inside and outside healthcare, nursing offers great opportunity, stability, and earning potential.
Therefore, once a person becomes a nurse, to enjoy all the benefits that go along with a nursing career, the key is nursing continuing education. In fact, with the right education, a nurse would be able to choose the type of healthcare professional or facility, which puts that person in control over the future.