The medical profession. It's always on the move and the most cutting-edge practices and procedures today will become commonplace knowledge in just a few short years. So, as a nurse, it comes as no surprise that continuing education is a simple part of a nurses career requirements. Nurses at every level and of every description are expected and required to take a certain number of continuing education hours each year to maintain their licenses. The requirements vary by state, but on average a nurse in the United States is required to take between 25 and 40 hours of education each year.
There are a few primary ways for a nurse to meet continuing education requirements. And increasingly, hospitals provide many of the courses for free on-site. While they are often rigorous, most nurses will want to take advantage of these courses because they are a cost-effective way to keep up with the demands of the job. One tip for taking the courses is to spread them out over the year so the hours are easier to handle and can be balanced with other work and life demands.
In addition to on-site courses, many community colleges, universities and trade schools offer continuing education training throughout the year. one important thing to keep in mind when choosing one of these resources is to make sure and choose a school that is qualified for the continuing education licensing. One final way to achieve continuing education requirements is to attend one of the many medical conferences held throughout the country each year. Often, the conferences offer continuing education courses as a supplemental part of the event. The conferences themselves can often get expensive, but the upside is that they are often held in fun destination cities like Las Vegas, New York or Chicago. So, participants can often make a mini-vacation of the ongoing educational process.
Ultimately, the choice in obtaining required ongoing educational training is up to the individual. And there are several ways to achieve the objectives. To follow is an overview of some specific types of required coursework.
Legal Nurse Consulting -- This program is especially designed for already-certified registered nurses who want to explore nursing opportunities in the legal field. Some of the key areas covered in these courses include detailed analysis of medical records and research of medical and legal records in advance of a legal action. Nurses who choose legal nurse consulting courses will also learn how to work with medical attorneys in a professional capacity and assist the attorney in pre-trial and trial actions.
Forensic Nursing -- In these continuing education courses, nurses will learn to apply investigative skills to help determine the cause of injury and to help victims arrange for follow up care. Often, forensic nursing is seen as an adjunct of legal nurse consulting. The primary difference is that forensic nursing is more focused on uncovering of medical facts that will then be used in a medical legal action by a legal nurse consultant. In most cases, forensic nursing specializations and certifications can be achieved within roughly a year.
Life Care Planning -- Nursing care in life care planning is centered on the idea of helping patients with chronic or terminal medical conditions to achieve a higher quality of life. This training gives the registered nurse the skills to help the patient build effective systems in his or her life for addressing dietary, mobility and other daily care needs.
Case Management -- Registered nurses who are interested in helping to advance cost-effective health care and human services for patients and families will want to explore a case management specialization. The training gives professionals the tools to assess research and analyze data to develop long-term care plans for individuals and families.
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