All medical health professionals, including Licensed Practical Nurses are encouraged to continue their education at every opportunity they get, and LPNs can do this via the many courses that afford free CEUs for LPNs, and are offered nationwide. Continuing education is important for medical professionals as it allows them to gain more knowledge in a short space of time and also improves their chances for career advancement.
What Is Continuing Education For LPNs?
Continuing education for Licensed practical nurses is exactly what it sounds like; education that is pursued after an LPN has completed the required education necessary for their LPN qualification and has registered and obtained their nursing licenses. Continuing education improves your knowledge, skills and understanding of the nursing field, and is generally required for license renewal. Continuing Education Units (CEUs) are awarded after every course or program, and these can be used as credits towards the 20 contact hours required for re-licensure.
Most licensed practical nurses do not just want to remain practical nurses for the rest of their lives, so continuing education is a way of opening doors to career advancement into a more specialized nursing field such as an Advanced Practical Nurse, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Acute or Primary Care Specialist or a Geriatric Nurse Practitioner. Free CEUs for LPNs can also help towards the requirements for a more advanced nursing level like Registered Nurse.
Continuing Education Units are nationally recognized as widely used units of measurement of your dedication to your career and involvement in continuing education programs. A continuing education unit is defined as 10 contact hours of engagement in pre-approved program related activities or direct interaction with an instructor in a seminar, traditional classroom, or online CEU format. Free CEUs for LPNs are not valid or transferable as an academic or college credit.
Online Free CEUs For LPNs
A search of the Internet will reveal that there are many online CE programs being offered, as they are gaining in popularity as a means of improving knowledge because they make the perfect option for busy medical professionals who have erratic or very hectic schedules.
One thing to be wary of is accreditation; the free CEUs for LPNs that are awarded by these online continuing education programs will mean nothing if the program is not accredited. Continuing education programs that are not accredited will not meet the requirements for specialized certification or license renewal, which means that you will have wasted your time.
You can either query whether the program is accredited from the person or institution offering the course or you can contact your state’s Board of Nursing, as they will be able to give you that information.
How Can I Access Free CEUs For LPNs?
Accessing free CEUs for LPNs is actually not too difficult at all, as all it requires is some quick research on the Internet and you will find literally hundreds of courses offered. All you need do is look for the particular CE program in which you are interested and register for free, follow the instructions and you will have your continuing education units in no time at all.
Most of the courses that are offered for free are done so via promotional arrangements between various companies or institutions and the organisations which are advertising them. Some of the sponsors may require you to avail yourself and or complete a survey and allow them to use the results for research or potential marketing purposes.
Another way to access these types of courses would be to contact your State Board of Nursing and ask them whether they could possibly refer you to some CE courses that they would recommend and which are accredited.
The human resources officer in many institutions also often has this type of information which they will gladly share with you as all institutions are very behind any staff member who wants to improve their knowledge and skills. You could also ask around from colleagues, as many of them will have done courses and will be able to recommend some and also give you an idea of what the course was like, whether it was easy or difficult and whether they thought that the knowledge and skills that they garnered were helpful or not.
What Types Of Continuing Education Courses Are Available?
The variety of fields in which you can do elective continuing education and earn your free CEUs for LPNs is vast and can include:
Case Management, Cardiovascular Studies, Critical Care Nursing, Drug and Chemical Dependency, Domestic Violence, Elderly Health Care, Eating Disorders, Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat Specialization, Endocrine (Diabetes), Emergency Nursing, Ethics and Advocacy, Forensic Study, Gastrointestinal(GI) Study, Geriatric Advanced Care, Gynecology (OB-GYN), HIV/AIDS Care, Home Nursing, Hospice, Infection Control & Infectious Diseases, Lab and Imaging, Neonatal Care, Obstetrics, Oncology, Orthopedics, Pain Management, Pediatrics, Pharmacology, Psychiatric Study, Psychology, Rehabilitation, Respiratory/Pulmonary Studies, Urology, and Wound Care.
The only problem that you will really have is to decide where your interests lay and in what direction you want your career to go so that you can make an informed decision as to what continuing education courses you want to do. Any form of further education is good, as the more knowledge you have about various medical and nursing fields the better, but concentrating on doing courses that will interest you and help you to advance your career in the direction in which you wish to move is best.
In order to give you an idea of what the courses cover, here are some examples of online continuing education courses that will afford you free CEUs for LPNs. Many of these courses are only 1 contact hour, which means that you will have to do ten of them in order to earn one continuing education unit, but they are free and you will gain some vital information and knowledge:
- Surviving and Thriving with Conflict on the Job – the goal of this course is to enhance your abilities and effectively deal with conflict on the job. The course is 1 contact hour. Once you have done this course you will be able to identify various types of conflict, analyze the dynamics of conflict in the workplace, and apply conflict resolution strategies to specific situations. This type of knowledge is very important for anyone in a supervisory position and can be extremely advantageous for you to get a promotion.
- Staying Cool under Fire – the purpose of this course is to provide you with the knowledge to manage workplace communication challenges. The course is 1 contact hour. It will help you to identify three basic communication styles, discuss ways in which the genders differ in their communication style and stimuli for anger, and also discuss strategies on how to communicate with people who are angry or upset. This type of information is crucial in certain nursing fields where you will not only have to deal with colleagues but may also have to deal with patients who are depressed, combative or ornery, such as mental health or substance abuse patients or geriatrics.
- HIPAA and Confidentiality – the free CEUs for LPNs that you can earn from this course are well worth it as virtually all licensed practical nurses have to deal with health insurance claims and documentation as part of the administrative side of their job, especially if they work in a physician’s office or small clinic. This course is worth 1 contact hour. It will teach you all about the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and how it relates to health information. Once you have done the course you will be in a position to describe the intent of HIPAA and implement professional practices that protect patients’ privacy in your place of work. You will also be able to incorporate practices that protect security of a patient’s electronic protected health information.
- Financial Triage – this may sound like a strange title for a nursing course, but it was actually designed in order to enhance patients’ medical adherence. The course is only 1 contact hour, but well worth taking as it will help you to help your patients to adhere to their medication regimen, which is really important for any patient’s recovery. This course will give you the knowledge to be able to describe any financial barriers that may be contributing to the perceived non-adherence to a prescribed medication therapy. It will also enable you to offer three helpful approaches which could facilitate a patient disclosing financial barriers that are preventing them from getting their medication and maintaining the regimen as prescribed by the physician. You will also be able to help your patients and their caregivers by directing them to resources for prescription drug assistance. Apart from the free CEUs for LPNs that this course affords, it is especially helpful for those licensed practical nurses who work in communities, as those are the individuals who are most likely to experience financial problems around medication costs.
- Fall Prevention among the Elderly – is a 1 contact-hour course which seeks to improve to identify and minimize risk factors for falls in the elderly population, which is a huge problem currently and can lead to other complications and failing health. The course will also help you to understand the applicability of The Joint Commission’s National Patient Safety Goal of reducing the risk of patient harm resulting from falls. It will enable you to identify major psychological, physical, and environmental risk factors for falls in the elderly. I will also enable you to list and share measures that can prevent falls in hospital, at home, and in long-term care settings, and conduct a comprehensive evaluation after a fall. This course is advantageous for those LPNs who are working in long-term care, facilities for the aged or nursing elderly individuals in community or home-care settings.
- Adult Immunizations – this 1 contact-hour free CEUs for LPNs course is particularly useful for licensed practical nurses working in community and rural settings, where the need for adult immunization would be the greatest. The program serves to inform you of vaccine-preventable diseases and render information on recommended adult immunizations. On completion of this course you will be able to say what the primary reason for increasing rates of vaccine-preventable diseases is, and identify two behavioral indicators for the Hepatitis B vaccine. You will also be in a position to advise on three actions nursing staff can use when urging for adults to receive immunizations.
Not all of the continuing education courses are offered nationwide as some states have different requirements for various nursing disciplines, so when sourcing courses for free CEUs for LPNs, make sure that the course adheres to any requirements as per your State Board of Nursing and that it is offered in your state if it is not an online course. There are various websites that offer “state specific” courses, which makes it a bit easier to find the right ones for your needs.
Not all of the continuing education courses are as short as the examples given above; some of them can be worth three or more contact hours, depending on the subject matter and how detailed the course is, so don’t worry that you will have to do hundreds of courses to get the desired amount of free CEUs for LPNs that you require for re-registration. One should also remember that re-registration only takes place every two years, so you have more than sufficient time to get all twenty contact hours of continuing education needed, whether it is via short courses or longer ones.
Courses offering free CEUs for LPNs should also not just be seen as a means of getting the contact hours required for re-registration, but as a valuable tool for the broadening of your skills and for advancement in your chosen career, as employers are always on the lookout for nurses who are dedicated to continuing education as it shows their commitment to the profession.