Continuing education for healthcare personnel assures that workers will be up to date in the latest knowledge and techniques for taking care of patients. Federal law requires certified nurses’ aids to have at least 12 hours of continuing education per year to become recertified. In California a certified nurses’ assistant must complete 48 hours of continuing education every two years in order to renew his or her certificate. At least 12 hours must be taken each year and 24 hours may be taken online. Florida requires the federally mandated 24 hours in two years, and specifies the subjects nurses’ aids must study. Check with your nursing licensing board in your state to see what continuing education requirements you will need to meet.
CNA Continuing Education Requirements
Every CNA has a specific scope of duties that they are responsible for daily. During your initial training for certification, you learned the comprehensive details and procedures that equipped you with the necessary tools to be confident in the workplace. CNA continuing education courses are meant to update and expand that knowledge base. A few examples of current popular continuing education courses for CNAs include but are not limited to the following:
- Avoiding medical errors
- Resident rights
- Emotional support for patients
- Record documentation
- Elderly patient care
- Current medical procedures
Many hospitals offer their own continuing education given by their inservice departments, and this is one benefit to look for when choosing a place of employment. Many of the courses offered are tailored to the needs of the hospital, so they will be helpful in your work and you will have a chance to put into practice what you have learned in the classroom. Self-study courses can sometimes be included in pay envelopes so that nursing assistants can study at their own pace. Some hospitals allow non-employees to register for a fee if there is room available.
Many community colleges and nursing schoolsalso offer continuing education units (CEU’s), so check with the local schools. The school where you got your nurses’ aid training might be a good place to start, and the teachers there can probably recommend good sources of continuing education.
The Red Cross is another continuing education provider. The organization’s courses emphasize cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and emergency preparedness.
Online courses are also available to make continuing education convenient. Many online courses are inexpensive, offering an unlimited number of hours for an entire year for around $20.00-$30.00. Some online sources include myfreece.com, cnazone.com, cnaceu.co, and quantumunitsed.com, to name a few.
If you are thinking of changing the direction of your career in some way, continuing education can be helpful. If you have worked in a residential care facility and think that you would like to change to an acute hospital, try looking for courses in the specialty in which you would like to work.
When you complete a CEU course you will be issued a certificate. If you take on online course you will need to print your certificate. Keep records of all the CEU’s you take over a period of two years. When it is time to renew your certification, you will be required to fill out a form with titles of all your courses, their government-issued numbers, the dates you took the courses, the number of CEU’s and the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of the places where you took them. Plan your CEU’s in plenty of time and you will be all ready for renewal when the time comes.You might be able to get your continuing education for free in some cases. Read our article on Free CNA Inservices
Continuing Education Philosophy. Why it is Necessary
Now that we have discussed the requirements for continuing education, let’s take a closer look at the purpose and goals of CE courses. According to the Journal of Continuing Education in Health Care Professions, the purpose of CE courses for healthcare workers are to provide up-to-date, well researched content for CNAs to utilize in their daily routines at work.
With the increasing need for qualified CNAs inAmericaand the necessity to maintain a skilled workforce, continuing education helps to closely monitor changes in the following important factors relevant to your healthcare career:
- Safety Concerns - As a CNA you come in contact with a variety of hazardous chemicals; you must also be aware of proper lifting and transfer techniques for patients . It’s up to you stay informed of the latest and greatest safety precautions through continuing education. This will help protect you against any unnecessary injury.
- Advancements in Medicine - Scientists are working hard to find cures for many diseases and ailments. New studies and results are constantly released that change the old school of thought in many clinical procedures. Continuing education gives you an opportunity to stay informed and allows you to tackle any new procedure that comes your way.
- Licensing Changes - While medical procedures often change, so does certain licensing and certification requirements. Maintaining your continuing education requirements can help you stay ahead of the curve, and will allow you to keep your certification up-to-date.
- Infectious Diseases - It seems like every year, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention publish information about some new illness. Continuing education will help you to treat your patients and protect yourself from any previously unknown illness.
CE courses for Certified Nursing Assistants have been around for a long time, and as a professional healthcare worker, they will continue to be an integral part of your overall nursing plan. With today’s technology, providers of continuing education have made online CE courses available in the comfort of your own home.
It may be a state requirement to keep current on your continued education; however, there are also immense professional and personal benefits gained by maintaining this obligation. It’s every CNA’s responsibility to become a lifelong student when it comes to ongoing education in the medical field. Adhering to this philosophy will promote a sense of professional confidence that will assist you and your patients throughout your career as a CNA.
Expert Authors: Denise Warren RN. BSN and Kathryn Goldin, R.N., M.D., M.S.P.H.