10 Things Nurses Need To Know About Continuing Education

Posted by BeaconLive
10 Things Nurses Need To Know About Continuing Education | BeaconLive

Here’s What You Need To Know About Earning CEU Credits For Your Next License Renewal

Out of all the health professions, nurses are an essential component of any healthcare organization. And for nursing professionals, continuing education or CE requirements are a must for licensure. 


These mandatory educational courses allow you to update your existing knowledge and show your state's licensing board that you are highly qualified to do your essential profession. 


You may see these CME solutions marketed on various channels, but how can you be sure which ones are right for you? 


Whether you are about to graduate from nursing school, a working nurse practitioner, or a registered nurse wondering the ins and outs of license renewal, BeaconLive can help. 


Here are ten things you need to know about continuing education courses for nurses before your next renewal. 


Medical professionals in PPE

Photo by Павел Сорокин


1. There Are Lots Of Virtual Professional Development Opportunities For Nurses 

As a nursing professional, your schedule is packed with shifts, family obligations, and personal errands. This means scheduling in-person PD opportunities can be challenging. 


There are virtual continuing education events and courses that you can attend from the comfort of your home. 


In fact, these CE platforms often have an automated CME tracker that will keep tabs on your CE activities. This means you’ll have easy access to your certificates and credit hours without having to log them all yourself. 


An excellent continuing nursing education course will offer engaging features, like breakout rooms and live chat, to allow for collaboration during the virtual event. 


Requirements For Your First Renewal May Be Different 

If you’re a recent nursing school graduate with a BSN, you most likely completed licensure requirements in conjunction with your academic courses. 


When you are ready to renew your license for the first time, you’ll be faced with different requirements than you needed previously. So pay close attention to your renewal paperwork. 


You will also pay a different fee to renew your license, typically a lower rate than your first application fee. 


3. Nursing License Renewal Requirements Vary By State

Continuing education requirements for nurses are different depending on the state you work in. You’ll need to contact your state board of nursing to find out the specifics.


For example, nurses in Maine don’t need continuing education units, or CEUs, for their license, while Florida requires 24 CEUs for an RN license. So confirm what you need in your specific state before investing in a great CME course


4. You Must Choose Acceptable Content For Nursing CE

Depending on your practice area, you may need specific content and topics to obtain acceptable nursing CE. 


Some commonly required topics include:

  • Mental health 

  • Pain management 

  • Pharmacology updates 

  • Substance abuse & domestic violence recognition

  • Pediatric refresher 

  • Nursing practice & patient care


Specific states may have particular content requirements, so be sure to check with your state’s nursing accreditation board to ensure you are attending the correct continuing education courses.


5. CME Must Come From Accredited Providers 

Your contact hours must come from an accredited source to ensure they count towards your licensure requirements. This guarantees the information you have received is consistent with what the licensing boards are looking for. 


Take the time to ensure the continuing education providers are accredited by the state BON or BRN or by an accrediting body, like the American Nurses Counseling Center, ANCC, or the American Nurses Credentialing Center. 


If you are unsure, the CE provider should be able to produce proof that they are accredited, typically with a seal on their website or documents. 


While some states may accept unaccredited CME, all state boards accept CME activities approved by the ANCC. So look for board-approved educational activities that will count towards your recertification. 


6. You Need To Keep Track Of Your CE Courses During The Renewal Period 

You must keep track of all your CE hours. Record the course name, how many contact hours were awarded, the date you attended, and the provider's contact information. 


If you received paper certificates, scan them into your computer and keep them in a dedicated folder for easy access. Double-check to make sure the certificate has the provider number on it. 


How long you keep records on file will depend on your specific state. Some states, like Texas, require paperwork to be kept for three renewal cycles. 


7. Your State Requirements For Nursing May Change Periodically 

If you’re familiar with the nursing licensure renewal process, check in advance whether or not the requirements are the same. 


Your state may change requirements to include specific endorsements or certifications outside of your CE basic renewal requirements. 


So when you are up for re-certification, be sure to check how many hours and which continuing medical education courses you need to meet those requirements. 


8. Chose CE Courses That Are Meaningful For You

With such a busy schedule, many nurses find themselves scrambling to meet their CEU requirements for the renewal period. 


However, choosing the courses that help keep you up to date with the ever-changing healthcare system while improving competency in your nursing practice area is essential. 


You may also benefit from specialty certifications like Basic Life Support or BLS to boost your credentials. 


Stethoscope and face mask surrounded by hearts

Photo by Karolina Grabowska


9. Academic Courses May Not Be Counted Towards CEU Requirements 

Some academic courses will count towards your CE requirements for your nursing license. 


However, if the course was not specifically designed for nurses, it would not count. So confirm before registration that your college course will help you build your CEU requirements. 


10. Compact Licensure Is Only Valid If You Are A Resident 

If you live in one of the 39 jurisdictions that are part of The Nurse Licensure Compact or NLC, then you are eligible for a compact license that allows you to practice nursing in any of the listed areas. 


However, if you live in a non-compact state, you must maintain licensure based on your resident state’s requirements. 


BeaconLive Can Help You Meet Nursing CEU Requirements 

Nurses like you are the backbone of the healthcare system. You work tirelessly for your patients, so you need continuing nursing education courses to give you the skills you need to advance in your career. 


Whether you choose virtual continuing education classes or in-person seminars, commitment to being a lifelong learner is a huge part of being an effective nurse.


Always be aware of the licensure timeline so you can register for the right continuing nursing education programs for your unique practice area. 



Licensure Eligibility. (2022). In Texas Board of Nursing. Retrieved from https://www.bon.texas.gov/licensure_eligibility.asp.html

Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC). (n.d.). In NCSBN. Retrieved from https://www.ncsbn.org/nurse-licensure-compact.htm


Topics: Certificates, Continuing Education, Continuing Medical Education (CME), Medical & Healthcare

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What are the most important training courses to offer?

Time management, conflict resolution, and organization are some important training courses you can offer at your organization. 

How many hours is one CEU?

One CEU is equal to a tenth of an hour in most states. So a one-hour course equates to .1 CEU.

How can an organization get its CEU courses accredited?

Get CE, CEU, or CME accredited by checking the requirements on your state’s accreditation board website and filling out an application.