Many nurses speak disparagingly about free nursing CEUs as less than optimal training classes for new procedures or information pertinent to their practice as a nurse. True, some of the free CEU classes offered by our employers seemingly have nothing to do with the type of nursing we practice, but in tight economic times, free is better than having to pay for every one of the classes. Many free CEUs are designed for workers throughout the facility, not specifically targeted only to nurses. Employers should, however, offer at least one “nursing law” class to their nurses as a free CEU. Many states require that one hour of the total CEUs required for license renewal, be a one-hour law class. In trying to keep up with areas of increasingly liability, one law class every two years may not be enough, but at least the foundation can be revisited and your knowledge further grounded.
If you find that the CEUs offered as free through your employer are not enhancing your nursing practice, try making a special request of your professional development department. Many times these departments do not know what the nurses want or need in their practice and often, they are left to pick CEUs out of a catalog with the hope the nurses will find valuable content in what they have chosen. Many state boards of nursing have catalogs as well that offer home-study type CEUs. Stay away from the nursing trade magazines that publish at least one CEU class every month, as these are not free. Also consider that sometimes, you may have to pay for the CEUs that you really need in order to stay abreast of more critical developments in nursing practice and procedure. If you sprinkle enough free CEUs into your renewal requirements for your license, it is possible to design your continuing education much the same as you design your nursing career.