After finishing your schooling and getting your nursing license, you’ll need to maintain your license by taking continuing education courses on a regular basis. The requirements to keep your license vary from state to state; find your state’s list of requirement through your state nursing board. You can choose from a wide range of CE courses to meet your obligation and follow up on specific interests you might have or classes that may lead to career enhancements.
You can’t possibly learn everything there is to know about health care in two or four years of school. In fact, you’ll learn much of your nursing skills on the job. Continuing education courses are another avenue that can keep you abreast of changes in patient care or cover skills not taught durnig college. Look for courses on topics such as hypertension, anaphylaxis, cancer treatments and nutrition. Most states require anywhere from 12 to 24 hours every two years, so you can cover a wide range of patient care topics each year.
Nursing managers and administrative nurses also are in big demand, so CE courses could prepare you to switch over to the management side of your profession. Take courses in subjects such as health care reform, new billing procedures, information technology in health care and creating a culture of safety to prevent medical errors. Leadership and management courses look good on a resume when you apply for a promotion while also meeting your CE obligations.
Use your continuing education courses to pursue a specialty that could provide you with additional opportunities to practice medicine. Consider courses in psychiatric nursing or in palliative care. While you could attend workshops that provide continuing education units and take online courses, you also can take accredited college courses to pursue a second degree that would also count toward your CE obligations. Look into such areas as nursing and social work, pediatrics and counseling as options for your career path.
You can sit in a classroom, attend an all-day seminar or take classes online at your convenience to meet your CE obligations and maintain your nursing license. While many in-person classes require your presence for a dedicated number of hours, with online CE credits, you can read the material and pass a test to get the certifications you need to turn into the licensing board. It’s up to you how and when you earn your CE credits.
Linda Ray is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years reporting experience. She's covered business for newspapers and magazines, including the "Greenville News," "Success Magazine" and "American City Business Journals." Ray holds a journalism degree and teaches writing, career development and an FDIC course called "Money Smart."