What Are The Best Nursing CE Credits to Help Me Grow?

Keith Carlson, RN, BSN, NC-BC - 03/20/19

When you’re a nurse who’s curious about what continuing education courses will help you grow professionally in your nursing career, there are many factors to consider in making appropriate decisions about where to spend your time and money. Not every course is for every nurse, so parsing the numerous choices is paramount.

Identifying Your Goals

Your goals for accumulating CE credits may be similar to that of other nurses, but you may also have specific professional goals that separate you from some of your peers. Understanding what you want and where you’re headed in your career are a great help in this regard.

First and foremost, you likely need a particular number of credits in order to renew your license, so this can guide you in choosing courses that will at least fulfill your licensure obligations.

If you have the goal of becoming highly proficient or expert in a specific area of knowledge or skill, you can choose to focus your CE credit hours on that pursuit. Not all CE courses are created equal, and savvy nurses can generally ascertain if a certain course looks like it fits the bill.

Continuing education can also satisfy your curiosity regarding subjects about which you know relatively little. Want to understand the treatment of Hepatitis C? A decent course may give you all you need, or at least whet your appetite for more. CE courses can truly move the needle in terms of beginning to understand areas of practice or knowledge that interest you.

On some paths to certification, you may choose to focus your time for continuing ed solely on your area of pursuit. If critical care is your nursing jam, then taking only critical care CE courses may make sense for you.

When you can clearly identify at least some of your short-, mid-, or long-term career goals, these can obviously help you formulate a plan that makes the best use of the time you spend on continuing education.

Growing in Breadth and Depth 

As nurses, we can choose to be specialists or generalists, and this choice can inform how we view requirements for continuing ed. In relation to the aforementioned example of desiring to, for instance, learn more about Hepatitis C, we can use our continuing education experiences to grow both the depth and breadth of our nursing knowledge.

For nurse generalists, being a relative polymath and knowing at least a little about many subjects may be attractive, especially for nurses who aren’t ready or willing ready to commit to an area of specialty practice.

In this respect, you may want to take courses as diverse as mental health, the social determinants of health, ABG interpretation, pediatric assessment, and elder abuse. This type of broad swath of knowledge can expose you to new ideas and allow you to identify areas of study for future deeper dives. Broad knowledge can be useful, as can specialized knowledge – it all depends on the nurse you’d like to be.

It’s For Your Benefit

Whether you attend national or regional conferences, take online courses, or attend day-long seminars or evening webinars, nursing continuing education is for your benefit.

Your nurse’s brain wants to grow, learn, expand, and absorb information like a veritable sponge. Feed and water your brain with high-quality educational experiences, knowledge, and exposure to new concepts, and you can never go wrong when it comes to engaging in continuing education that helps you grow and be the nurse you truly want to be.