The healthcare industry is constantly changing and with these new developments, technologies, rules and regulations, it's critical for those in specific healthcare professions to stay up to date with continuing education.
WHAT ARE CONTINUING EDUCATION (CE) CREDITS?
Continuing education (CE) credits are required educational requirements for several professions. Each state has different CE requirements for healthcare professionals, including physicians, nurses nursing home administrators and even social workers, to remain licensed. For example, in Ohio, each person licensed as a registered nurse (RN) must complete 24 contact hours of continuing education during each licensure period. A contact hour is 50-60 minutes of instruction in a board-approved nursing continuing education class or activity. As the healthcare industry changes, not only are these CE courses imperative to stay licensed, they also help professionals stay up-to-date and informed.
WHY IS CONTINUED EDUCATION IMPORTANT?
Aside from the fact that you may be required to earn CE credits to stay employed or certified, continuing your education allows you to perform your job well and creates opportunities for you to advance your career. Here are some of the key reasons continuing education is important:
Better Care for Patients
According to The Institute for Health Care Improvement, "CE is a vehicle for spreading best practices and how to improve patient outcomes."
New medications, technologies and protocols can all contribute to improved patient care and CE can help you stay up to date on these advancements. This will allow you to be better equipped to help your patients.
Professional and Personal Growth
For healthcare professionals, the value of continuing education cannot be underestimated. It allows you to continuously evolve your wealth of knowledge and personal growth.
Staying Licensed and Certified
Most employers and boards require ongoing education in order to be eligible to work and have a valid license. For example, if you have a RAC-CT certification, you’re required to complete 25 CE credits every two years to maintain the certification.
How Do I Earn CE Credits?
Thankfully, the emergence of the internet changed the game for continuing education. Live conferences and seminars are common ways to earn CE credits, while absorbing new information, but there are also online courses and webinars that allow you to earn your credits in a more flexible format.
When looking for ways to earn your CE credits, be aware of whether you're choosing approved or accredited programs. For a credit to count toward your required hours, it must be administered by an approved CE provider.
Whether you are continuing your education as a healthcare professional for license renewal or for professional development (or both), you work in a very important field helping people. Not only will you benefit, but those you serve will as well.