The healthcare industry is constantly changing and evolving. And, although appropriate education and training remain vital to becoming a nurse, staying on top of the latest healthcare knowledge and trends through nursing professional development and continuing education has become increasingly paramount for nurses interested in increasing their skills, reliability, marketability and earning potential.
CE verses CEU?
The Continuing Education Unit or CEU was created and defined in 1970 as a measurement of no-credit continuing education activities. Organizations such as the American Nurses Credentialing Centers Commission on Accreditation (ANCC) now measure continuing education units as a contact hour verses a CEU. Other clinical disciplines such as physical therapy still use the terminology CEU, so it is important to utilize the appropriate measurement as designated by your licensure board.
Continuing education credits or CEs are learning activities that are tailored toward requirements for professional re-licensure or certification that enable the clinician to enhance or learn new skills in their area of expertise.
What are CE credits?
CE credit is awarded by an accrediting body such as the Ohio Nurses Association. CEs award contact hours with 60 minutes equaling one contact hour or approved activities or classes.
Nurses in different states of the country face different requirements. Some states require specific courses to be completed and the total number of contact hours will also vary by location. In Ohio, for example, 24 contact hours are required for registered nurses during each two-year licensure period before renewal. In addition, at least one of those hours needs to coincide with Chapter 4723 of the Ohio nurse practice codes and rules, regarding nursing law and ethics according to the Ohio Board of Nursing.
Types of continuing education programs
For nurses, CEUs are essential for renewing and maintaining a license to practice. However, nurses are not alone in being required to keep up their education in order to stay current with the latest techniques in the industry. Attorneys, accountants, teachers, social workers and many other healthcare professionals are often required to complete continuing education requirements as well.
For example, physicians need to maintain their medical licenses and are required to complete CMEs or continuing medical education. Continuing professional education programs, CPEs, are often required for attorneys, accountants or teachers.
Four benefits of continuing education for nurses
- Nurses can experience an increase in wage compensation
- Increase marketability for promotions and nursing job opportunities.
- Many employers will also assist with reimbursement or, in some cases, pay the CE cost in its entirety. Check with your employer to see if you qualify for free nursing CEs.
- Expanded education is never a bad thing either. Some registered nurses may even consider a RN to BSN program to elevate their degree and earn a new licensure.
How can I earn CEs?
CEs can be obtained in a number of ways, including but not limited to:
- Participation in professional healthcare conferences
- Specialty courses and certifications
- Taking part in webinars or online video interactions (CE online)
- Furthering a degree program and licensure
- Attending workshops and seminars
Healthcare professions interested in these opportunities can learn more about Ohio University’s Continuing Education Programs on the continuing education page.
Example of Online Nursing CE courses for nurses
- Leading in Today's Healthcare Environment
- Developing an Organizational Culture that Drives Success
- Developing an Effective Talent Management Strategy
- Fostering an Environment of Service: Patient Engagement
- Employing a Foundation for Success: A Designed Approach to Quality and Safety in Healthcare
- Preparing for the Future: The Importance of Strategy, Strategic Planning and Market Analysis in Healthcare
- Building Critical Financial Skills for Success in Healthcare
View Ohio University’s accredited CE program offerings.