All nurses, once they've graduated from their nursing program, have to be licensed by the state that they'll be practicing in before they can actually get a job as a nurse. In most states, a part of getting that license renewed requires the nurse to participate in some form of continuing education course, called a continuing education unit (CEU). While there are advantages to this approach, there are also disadvantages to these CEUs.
One of the major disadvantages of CEU requirements for nurses is the cost of the courses. Regardless of who's paying the cost, whether it's the nurse, the hospital or company that he works for or even the state government, someone is paying the costs for these nurses to go to these continuing education classes. It also means that the nurses have to take time off of work, resulting in lost wages. Or if their days at classes are paid for, the hospital is losing money by paying for the nurses while they aren't around to provide health care services.
Another disadvantage of continuing education requirements for nurses is that it's difficult to agree on just what the competency standards should be from one state to another. It's agreed that continuing education's purpose is to bring nurses up-to-date on skills and practices in their profession, but each state sets its own standards for what the levels of those skills should be for the nurse to be considered "competent." So if a nurse wants to change locations, she may have to go through a whole new set of standards.
There is frankly no guarantee that "seat time" in a classroom will guarantee that a nurse is actually learning the skills that she needs to, according to Nursing Matters. Not everyone learns in the same way, and some nurses may learn better by doing than by attending a classroom lecture on a subject. While continuing education requirements are attempting to ensure that nurses are as educated and updated as they can be, there is just no guarantee that these classes will meet that sort of need.
- Photo Credit operation nurse image by Andrey Rakhmatullin from Fotolia.com
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