04.03 Why CEs (Continuing education) matter

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  1. CE’s matter because….
    1. Medical knowledge is constantly evolving and changing.
    2. Continual learning is essential to ensure best practice.
    3. They help ensure that all nurses are making efforts to stay up-to-date.
    4. They are required for most license renewals.
      1. Number required varies per state.
  2. Tips
    1. View CE’s as an important part of your practice, NOT a just a box to check.
    2. Try to integrate your learning with your practice.
      1. Take courses that cover content related to the patients you care for.
    3. Take courses that interest you.
      1. What kind of medicine fascinates you?
      2. Do you love pharmacology?
      3. Do you thrive on patient education?
    4. Use down time at work (if manager approved!) to complete course
    5. Don’t wait until the last minute.


Hey you guys, in this lesson we are going to talk about continuing education.

So, there is so much to know in the medical world and on top of that medical knowledge is always changing. New medications and treatments are being researched all the time. The only way to make sure our nursing practice is staying current is to be dedicated to continual learning. 

Continuing Education was created as a way to try and provide structure and consistency for all nurses who are engaging in continual learning.  So what exactly are CE’s, well they are basically just a way to document any training or education that you undertake. Medical conferences, journal articles, online courses, all of these different places can apply to an accredited program to be able to offer continuing education units to people who complete a course.  The units or credits reflect the time spent on the training. Usually, you get a certificate of sometimes documenting that you’ve completed the course. 

A lot of states require nurses to have completed a certain number of hours before they can renew their license, so check your state’s requirements to see how many you need to complete before you renew your license. 

Alright, I’ve got a few tips for you.  

The first is to view it as an essential and important part of your practice.  It’s not just a box to tick, it keeps you up-to-date and makes sure your provide the best care possible. 

Second, integrate it with your daily work- choose topics that are related to the types of patients you usually care for.  This keeps it relevant and helps the information stick. 

Third, focus on what interests you.  Do you love pharmacology? Patient education?  Choose training courses that you know you’ll enjoy!

Fourth, sometimes you can use downtime at work to complete some online training- check with your manager- but it’s always nice to get these things done at work rather than having to use your time off for it. 

Fifth, make sure you keep track of your certificates and your hours so that when it’s time to renew your license you don’t have to spend days looking for everything.  

Okay, so where should you look to find CE’s?  A great place to start is professional journals.  Honestly, you can just google professional nursing journals to find a list to start from.  Nursingcentre.com has a great list and I’ve included this in the links for this lesson. Another great way to look for CE’s is to search for professional organizations associated with your specialty.  Some examples are, The Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses, or the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses. These websites will likely offer CE’s, some free some not, but they will also probably have conferences happening throughout the year where you can knock out a bunch of CE’s at once. 


Some consistent websites to find free CE’s are medscape.com.  I actually use medscape a lot. And then also Nurse.com.

So let’s do a quick recap.  CE’s are way to document time spent in training.  Remember continual learning helps keep us up-do-date and ensures best practice. 

Try to integrate it with your daily practice so that it is related to the work you do and try to choose topics that interest you!  

And lastly, don’t wait until the last minute.  You don’t want to be stuck trying to do 20 hours worth of continuing education in one night!
We love you guys! Go out and be your best self today! And as always, Happy Nursing!