Continuing Education Units (CEUs) is a system set up in the United States for tracking or giving credit for training taken outside of a normal nursing program. CEUs may not be mandatory to maintain your license in the nursing field but are essential elements for professionals who wish to continue to advance their careers. The medical field standards and techniques are constantly changing as research leads to new knowledge and better practices. Employers like to see employees work toward strengthening their knowledge and skills and actively seeking ways to remain up to date in their nursing practices. Accumulating certain types of CEUs allows advancement to different positions at many institutions.
Along with CEUs, there are also recognized certifications. A certification in nursing is a process in which a professional organization grants additional duties by vouching that a nurse is competent in a subspecialty of the medical field. The certification requires one to take an additional exam. The state board of nursing documents the exam and training. LPNs can receive certifications in gerontology, IV therapy, pharmacology, and long-term care. One benefit of this additional training is that it often leads to increased pay and better job opportunities.
Continuing Education Units are obtainable several ways. Check with your employer first to see if training is available on site, or if they have any recommendations or preferences for you when it comes to CEUs. Many online schools give CEU training. It is also important to check with your state board of nursing website to see which programs are approved since it may be a longer process to obtain credit if the program is not on the list. The Center for Disease Control website offers podcasts and links to sources that will provide CEU credits to health officials. Many of the professional nursing organizations provide several avenues for obtaining credits.
Nursing at any level is more than just a job. It is a profession which requires certain skills, knowledge and standards. The system of CEUs and certifications support the idea of professionalism. It is to an LPN’s benefit to take advantage of continuing education, even when not required.
Last Updated: 08/20/2013
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