Once you have become an LPN your training does not stop there. Different states require that you do continuing education for LPN. The full list is contained below with all of the information that you will need in order to keep your LPN license.
The reason why the government requires you to engage in continuing education hours is so that the standard of nursing will be kept at a good level. If everyone is forced to study further every few years the quality of the industry will be good. Even though some states do not require continuous education, it is still recommended that you do some for your own benefit.
The first thing to consider is what exactly continuing education is. Essentially, it is education that LPN nurses can do once they have obtained their final LPN qualification. It is additional information and courses that you can complete to improve your own qualifications. Even though it is not always required, it looks good to have continuing education credentials on your resume when it comes time to go job hunting. It is well worth considering the option even if it is not a requirement, and you do not have to limit yourself to the number of hours required by your state.
Finding Suitable Continuing Education Units
There are a number of options open to you when it comes to choosing the exact continuing education units that you would like to do to broaden your mind as well as your horizons. However it is important that you choose the best units possible. If you are doing continuing education units for state requirements this is especially important as they can differ considerably. This is a section that will provide you with insight in how to make the best choices in choosing continuing education units for your studies.
Step 1: The first thing that you will need to do is to log onto the board of nursing website for your particular state. This will give you a very clear idea about what the continuing education requirements for your state are. The list contained below gives an overview of these requirements, but in many cases there are additional rules and stipulations that you will need to adhere to. It is very important that you do this as you run the risk of having your LPN license removed if you do not meet the continuing education requirements of your state.
Step 2: The next thing that you need to do is to check with your employer. Obviously the company or institute that you work for does not want to run the risk of losing staff members because they have not completed their continuing education hours. As a result of this companies often remind and encourage their staff members to do their continuing education and ensure that they know exactly what they need to do. Sometimes the institute will be able to offer you the continuing education hours that you will need in order to successfully retain your LPN license.
Step 3: Something that is quite convenient for a lot of LPNs is the fact that there are a number of journals and magazines that include continuing education activities. Obviously you will have to pay a fee for this, but this is the easiest option for you to squeeze into your schedule. However it is important that you first check with your state board of nursing to make sure that these kinds of activities are suitable as not all states consider them to be adequate to cover your continuing education hours. If they are acceptable then you are in luck.
Tip: You will frequently have to renew your LPN license throughout your nursing career. Make sure that you know how often you will have to renew your license. Often you will not be able to renew your license without presenting proof of the required continuing education hours that you need to complete in your state. Sometimes you will have to renew your license every year but only present proof of continuing education every two years, or vice versa. Make sure that you are aware of all of the facts in this regard and that you know exactly what is expected of you.
Tip: As you will see in the next section on finding continuing education units by state there are huge differences in terms of what each state requires. The number of hours is very important, but some states require that you do specific courses and continuing education units as well. Some states have very complex continuing education policies, so it is essential that you know what is expected of you before you enroll for any continuing education courses. Making a mistake in this regard could cost you your license so be sure to know exactly what you need to do.
Tip: Some states have specific criteria regarding the organization where you can get your continuing education hours. Some states go so far as to specify a list of organizations that they find acceptable for you to attend. As a result of this it is very important that you know what these organizational requirements are well in advance. Some states allow you to do your continuing education online, while others expect you to attend an offline course. All of these aspects are very important in helping you to decide which units and courses you are going to do to fill the requirements.
Tip: Something that catches a lot of nurses out is that they do not hang onto their proof of continuing education completion for long enough. It is suggested that you hold onto your continuing education certification for at least two years. This is because you may be required to prove your continuing education again if management at the state board of nursing changes and new procedures are put in place. In general it is best to keep all certification anyway so that it can be presented at a job interview if required. Proof that you have done more than the minimum requirements is always good to keep close on hand so that you can expand your chances in the job market.
Reasons and Options
With LPN continuing education you will be able to make sure that you are constantly ahead of the game. You will not have to worry whether or not you know everything you need to know to be a good nurse. Technological advances in the medical field are being made all the time, and for the safety of your patient you need to make sure that you are developing your skills in line with those changes. If nurses were not obligated to do continuing education then the quality of nursing in general would decline dramatically. Continuing education can be seen as a way for you to improve your knowledge and even make some career advancements. Some of the topics are interesting in and of themselves. Here is a list of the key reasons why continuing education is important:
One of the main reasons people decide to engage in continuing education is that they have been passed over for promotion. If your skills are out of date then this is something that is bound to happen to you at some point. If you make the effort to improve your skills and engage in continuing education then this is something that you will potentially be able to avoid. In addition when employers have a promotion in mind they tend to look at those employees that show a desire to work a little harder and got the extra mile for the company.
Another reasons why people often decide to look into continuing education is when the management structure at the place they work changes and the new boss is someone who in some way encourages you to seek employment elsewhere. This happens frequently in the field of nursing. You cannot control when management at your hospital will change, so it is better to be ready to change jobs at any time if the need arises. Having some continuing education under your belt can help you a great deal in this regard.
Sometimes your company may collapse altogether. However you will almost always receive warning before this happens. If you hear of impending layoffs or a merger you should start getting busy with some continuing education right away. Even better if you already have continuing education qualifications that are up to date as this will make it substantially easier for you to find a new job when the layoffs occur. In addition if the company has to choose between keeping you or another nurse, they may well decide to keep you on dimly because you have shown that you want to be involved in the industry and your qualifications are higher.
In the modern world new technology is constantly being introduced in areas like nursing. Often you will be expected to use machinery or do procedures that were never taught to you when you were a student nurse. This is another situation in which continuing education can be very helpful. It can prepare you for these changes and help you cope without losing your job.
If you are forced into retirement but you want or need to work a little more, some continuing education will allow you to refine your skills and make it easier for you to find employment once you have retired. There is no reason in this modern world to stop working after retirement. As a nurse there are a number of skills that you will have learned that will b easily applicable to other walks of life once you have reached retirement age.
If you are feeling the need to engage in some self-improvement then continuing education is the way to do it. There are a number of ways in which an improvement in your skills will make you feel better about yourself and about your capabilities in doing your job.
There is also a vast number of different continuing education topics that you can choose to do. This really depends on where you want to go. If you are doing continuing education as a state requirement, make sure you choose topics that are in line with what the state wants you to study. If you have more freedom of choice you should try to think about where you are going in your LPN career and where you would like to go so that you can choose continuing education topics that are specific to your goals and ambitions.
Have a look at the following list of possible continuing education topics. As you can see there are a lot of different options to choose from:
- Elderly Health Care
- Oncology (Cancer)
- Case Management
- Home Nursing
- Pain Management
- Child Abuse
- Complementary Health
- Infection Control
- Peri Operative
- Critical Care Nursing
- Infectious Diseases
- Domestic Violence
- IV Therapy
- Professional Issues
- Drug and Chemical Dependency
- Lab and Imaging
- Emergency Nursing
- Legal Issues
- Endocrine (Diabetes)
- Ethics and Advocacy
- Men’s Health
- State-mandated Topics
- Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat
- Neonatal Care
- Telephone Nursing
- FREE CEUs – Nurses
- Neurology, Stroke
- Gastrointestinal (GI)
- Nurse Practitioner
- Women’s Health
- General Medicine
- Obstetrics, gynecology (OB-GYN)
- Wound Care
There is something for everyone, and, although in some cases you will be required to get training in a specific topic, there should nevertheless be something out there that you will find personally enjoyable.
Now that you have analyzed all of the requirements and facts and figures about continuing education for LPN you should be well equipped to get the continuing education that you need. It is worth reiterating that even though there are some states that do not require continuing education, it is in your best interests to do continuing education anyway. This will personally make you feel substantially more confident in your job and you will be able to keep up with the times and learn about new procedures and technologies used in nursing.