Should Continuing Education for Nurses be mandatory in all states?


  • Specializes in CCU, Geriatrics, Critical Care, Tele. Has 29 years experience.
  1. Should Continuing Education for Nurses be mandatory in all states?

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486 members have participated

Should Continuing Education for Nurses be mandatory in all states?

If so, why? If not, why not?

Clarification: CEUs, ie. some states require 24-30 hours of continuing education units every 2 years to maintain their license.

FYI: You can find each States Board of Nursing links and contact info here:

(also found in the yellow "Resources" Tab at the top of each page.


6 Posts

Specializes in Geriatrics, Mental Health,.


Continuing education for nurses should be mandatory.

I am a charge nurse in a high care aged care facility that looks after 80 residents. Under the contract that I signed I have to attend six educational internal or external nursing educational services per year.

Even if they are to update your nursing skills, in wound management, controlling seizure's, cardiac arrest, documentation or medication management.

I have been to several seminar's on several topics which I found interesting, and you always learn something new as time goes on. They always come up with some new dressing in wound management and it does feel good to be up to date with all the latest information.


699 Posts

Specializes in RN- Med/surg.

Yes absolutely.

Specializes in district nurse, ccu, geriatric. Has 11 years experience.

Yes it should, there is constant change in health care and nurses skills and knowledge should reflect this.


932 Posts

I think this is hugely important in any field, but even more so in nursing. I would hope that they would focus on things that are necessary but perhaps not practiced every day, like in the other thread, where they had mentioned peds classes for ER nurses, so that we can always stay sharp on our skills, or else focus on demonstrating new/different ways to do things that may make quality of care better.


3 Posts

Has 25 years experience.

I do agree that CEU's should be required of us nurses who consider ourselves professionals. We've got to be self-motivated in learning so we will not be behind the times.... we'll gain more respect from other health care colleagues we work with.


Wishinonastar, BSN

3 Articles; 1,000 Posts

Has 38 years experience.

In PA we recently started having a requirement for 30 CEUs every two years. It is not too bad, since we already go to tons of inservices every year anyway. However, being a school nurse I am expected to get 35 CEUs a year, or 180 every five years. I have no idea how I can get that many. They are expensive and I would have to spend so much time going to classes that I doubt I can do it. I will probably drop my school nurse certificate after my five years are up. What a shame, to work so hard to get something and not be able to keep it. The job I am in is low paying- at a Vo-Tech school, so I already have to work a second job. I think this requirement is excessive.


2 Posts

I am also a school nurse in Pennsylvania. I don't feel that the 180 CE credits every 5 years is too much, particularly because you can fulfull that by taking 2 college courses (which are reimbursed 75% if in a grad program in our district pending getting a B or better). The only problem with school nursing is sometimes we are forced to attend in services that are tailored for teachers. I sat in an in service for a full day which dealt with strategies for teaching reading to fourth graders; not that I don't have an appreciation for teachers, but it was a waste of my time. In school nursing, it's really crucial to keep up to date with a variety of health topics because we aren't immersed in a medical environment. School nursing has changed quite a bit in the last 20 years and kids are coming to school with more complicated health problems and other issues. Students, staff, and parents look to us to provide them with accurate information and continuing education is obviously a necessity to me.

allnurses Guide

llg, PhD, RN

13,469 Posts

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development. Has 46 years experience.

I voted "No" for a couple of reasons.

1. I believe that the state should not enact expensive requirements unless there is reasonable evidence to support that those requirements actually result in better practice, improved patient outcomes, etc. I have followed this issue off-and-on over the years and I am not aware of a sufficient amount of research having been done on the topic to justify the government to add such a requirement.

2. There is very little evidence that shows that a nurse who sleeps in the back of a conference room or copies the answers from a friend of a mailed in CEU test from a journal etc. actually learns anything that improves her practice. Until the CEU system includes more legitimate methods to evaluate actual learning, it is not a suuitable to use as a basis for increased government regulation and increased expensed for everyone involved.

3. There is virtually NO regulation of the relevance of the educational content to a nurse's practice in the current system. For example, if a nurse completes a CE program (i.e. copies her friend's answers from a post test in a journal) on a topic that has absolutely nothing to do with her field of practice, she still gets the CEU's -- even though no one in their right mind would believe that activity had made her a better nurse in any way.

So ... the current system of "earning" CEU's does virtually nothing to assure the quality or relevance of the education provided by the programs. People are free to buy CEU's without actually learning anything -- or improving their knowledge base or actual practice in any way. There is also no check to assure that the content of the CE programs is at all relevant to the nurse's field of practice. And there is no solid evidence to support that people who buy CEU's actually give better care than people who don't.

Until the above-mentioned problems in the CEU system are addressed ... the state cannot justify making the purchase of CEU's mandatory. So, I voted "No." However, if the currently broken system were to be "fixed," I would probably change my vote.

llg, PhD, RN (Someone who works in staff developed and actually served on committees that approved CEU's for credit.)

I am not really sure what this poll is asking, are we talking about CEUs or continuing degree education and courses related to certifications specilties.

Yes and No

If we are talking about CEU YES. Most if not all states licenses have continued education attached to them.

You need to be held responsible for your license and go were the industry wants you to go. Holistic care and medical advancements are constantly changing to increase successful treatments. Ask yourself if you want to have the nurse that doesn't care about new advanced treatments to be the one taking care of you.

If we are talking about continuing educations as in certificates, BSN, MSN... than NO. That is a personal choice.

Not everyone has the same goals as far as nursing. As far as personal growth I think you should continue to advance yourself in your career as far as you can but if it is not realistic for you to commit the time or energy because of life little interferences than do what you can.

Wishinonastar, BSN

3 Articles; 1,000 Posts

Has 38 years experience.

You are very lucky if you can get tuition reimbursement in your school, but I am drowning in student loan debt, and can't afford more classes to get the 180 CEU requirement. I agree the inservices available to us are geared to teachers which makes it almost a waste of time. The board should accept more of a variety instead of having to have everything through only approved providers. Then we could take interesting nursing courses.


6 Posts

In my opinion, working like a nurse, is all-important being up date. You are working with a human been. Error is not accepted. I have 30 years experiance like a RN and I learn all the time the new thinks. I whant to learn by pleasure, in my free time ,but not be forced to drop out from my job for study. By By:up: