For healthcare providers in today’s medical environment, continuing education is essential to staying current, remaining confident and providing optimal care with the latest changes in nursing home and hospital protocols. Viable information in medicine changes rapidly and is an invaluable to help you protect your health and that of your patients. Caring for residents who need your assistance is an exceptional responsibility that requires a commitment to lifelong learning and continuing education for CNAs.
Why and How to Take Continuing Education?
Certified nursing assistants or Certified Nursing Aides (CNAs) are required by federal law to take continuing education units (CEUs) for re-certification every 24 months in many states. Although the amount of CNA CEUs may vary by state, ensure that you refer to your regulatory agency for the amount of units that are mandated by your CNA state board. Typically, states may require specific topics and require your CNA continuing education is taken over the span of one to two years. You may find CEUs in several ways such as:
- Home study and self-paced courses in print with answers provided
- In-services or seminars at hospitals, long-term care facilities or colleges
- Free CEUs for CNAs may be offered by your employer, other medical settings or as online sources
- Yearly CEU courses available for an annual fee to download as PDFs
What to Learn in CNA Continuing Education?
As the medical field constantly updates and changes direction due to new clinical studies and viable research, it is essential that CNAs keep pace with the protocols that refer to patient care such as:
- New strategies that promote safety for lifting techniques, using assistive-medical equipment and safe patient transfer methods
- Learning important information on using new chemicals as antiseptics and exposure precautions of hazardous chemicals
- New treatments and medical procedures for patients with acute disease and conditions and how to care for them appropriately
- Licensing changes and re-certification protocols that affect your CNA license and future career opportunities
- New information from the Center of Disease Control and Prevention that reports on infectious disease outbreaks, infections that affect your patient population and the preventative and reporting measures to keep you and your patients safe
Where to Find Free CNA Continuing Education?
CNAs may find free continuing education through hospitals, nursing homes and colleges that provide seminars and classroom study modules. Your employer may also provide courses for home study, such as print material in your pay envelope, or require you to attend a free in-service at the workplace on your day off. Most courses that are provided by your employer are connected to that particular institution and provide you with a lab skills practice as well. Other free CNA courses may be found in areas such as:
- The Red Cross
- Online introductory courses of instruction
- The state department of health
CNA Continuing Education by State
Click the following states to discover if CNA continuing education is required in a state for license renewal:
California mandates that CNAs complete 48 hours of CEUs within the two years of their license renewal date and are submitted on the renew CNA license form as proof of completion in 2014. As indicated by the instructions from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), CNAs are expected to take a minimum of 12 hours of continuing education for the two-year interval and 24 of the remaining 48 hours can be taken through online classes that are CDPH approved. Examples of state-approved CNA continuing education courses in California may include topics such as:
- Care of the Terminal Patient introduces you to the new strategies and care that is accepted for those who are experiencing end of life issues and palliative care
- Clostridium Difficile and Precautions informs you how to protect yourself and your patients from this antibiotic-resistant strain of bacteria with treatment and prevention
- Diabetes and Patient Care empowers you with information on diabetes that helps you provide patient education to promote patient compliance
The Alaska Board of Nursing requires 160 hours of monetarily compensated work experience and 24 hours of CEUs for two-year license renewal. The Alaska CNA Board stipulates that 12 CEUs are to be completed each 12 months to renew your license. Examples of CNA Continuing Education Units required in Alaska may be in subjects such as:
- Domestic Violence information provides the reportable signs and symptoms of spousal, elderly and childhood abuse in the home, medical facilities and long-term care settings
- Emergency Preparedness provides the knowledge you need to manage patient care, planning strategies and resident evacuation from both natural and man-made events
- Resident Rights provides the updates and revisions of protecting your patient’s privacy, medical information and the right to refuse care
- Your philosophy of lifelong learning can only enhance your CNA abilities and position you for career growth and development in the future. Remaining current with medical issues that impact your practice can only improve your standing in the healthcare community as a caring and dedicated nursing assistant.