Staying Current

  • Article by: NANCY GIGUERE , Star Tribune Sales and Marketing
  • Updated: November 4, 2009 - 12:57 PM

Earning nursing CEUs doesn’t have to be a hassle.

Healthcare is constantly changing, and health professionals continually need to update their skills and knowledge. That's why continuing education is mandatory for health professionals such as nurses who are licensed by the State of Minnesota.

Licensure Requirements

Nurses renew their license every two years during the month of their birthday. During each two-year period, registered nurses are required to complete 24 hours or units of continuing education (CEUs), or the equivalent of one hour per month of registration. For licensed practical nurses, the requirement is 12 CEUs.

"Continuing education improves nurses' ability to care for patients and helps them remain engaged in the field," says Lynn Duane, program manager for Twin Cities Health Professionals Education Consortium (

Choosing The Classes

Nurses usually choose their CEUs based on the needs of their current practice. For instance, nurses working in a medical/surgical unit that has recently added telemetry beds might opt for a class on reading EKGs. On the other hand, nurses who want to change jobs often choose CEUs that will prepare them to move into a different unit or area of practice.

In addition to state licensing requirements, RNs who are certified in a specialty, such as critical care or orthopedic nursing, must also fulfill continuing education requirements mandated by the appropriate national certifying board.

Practical Tips

Duane offers these suggestions for fulfilling CEU requirements:

Plan ahead. Don't wait until the last minute.

Make sure that classes meet the Board of Nursing requirements (see

Take advantage of classes offered by your employer. They're usually free and many are offered on-site.

If you're certified in a specialty, determine if the specialty CEUs also meet basic licensing requirements.

Check out home study and online classes. These are great options if you have young children or other family responsibilities.

Nancy Giguere is a freelance writer from St. Paul who has written about healthcare since 1995.

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