December 5th, 2011
By Jennifer Olin, BSN, RN
Continuing Education Units (CEUs) have been on my mind a lot lately. I have written about what states need how many, and why CEUs may or may not be important. Now, it dawns on me there is one more piece I can write to round out this topic—how to collect them.
There are many ways to get CEUs without spending a dime. Often hospitals offer them as part of their regular staff meetings. Pharmaceutical and equipment companies offer them when you learn about using their products. Nursing societies regularly sponsor special events, symposiums, and lectures where attendance is worth at least one CEU, and sometimes more than that.
However, as the year passes and the renewing of your nursing license draws near sometimes you need to earn a few more as quickly as possible. Here are some of my favorite sites for collecting free CEUs:
There are, of course, many other websites with free CEU offerings. These are just a few of my favorites.
What I call "sort of" free or "included in admission," are the CEUs you earn when attending a convention or meeting. These credits may not be totally free but if price of attending is supplemented or completely paid for by your employer they are certainly, at the least, close to free. Make sure to pick up the CEU attendance forms, in just a day or two you can earn 20 or more units. The publications and websites for most specialty organizations are another great source for continuing ed credits, and they come "free" with membership.
Many employers require their nursing staff to have Advanced Cardiac Life Support certification. If you take the class–not just the test–that's a quick 14 hours in the bag.
To sum it up, there are plenty of free offerings out there to complete your requirements for licensing each time around. There are many courses you can take for a fee and will complete your requirements in one or two sittings. If you are looking for specific educational enhancement this may be the way to go. But, if you are just looking to learn a little more about your profession or specialty, and need to fill holes in your state's required CEUs for licensing, there are many ways to earn those coveted credits without once opening your wallet.
P.S. Don't forget Wednesday the ANA is offering a chance to tweet your way to a free CE.