8 Free Online Continuing Education Courses for Nurses

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Most nurses realize that during the lifeline of their career the task of learning is never ending. There are always opportunities to continue nursing education, and a good nurse who wants to provide the best care to their patients will take advantage of any opportunity to learn more. It’s not really debatable. It’s a necessity to stay in the know about the newest technology that is released in the medical community, treatment plans that are standardized, along with skilled nursing care that is based on evidence. CEUs (continuing education units) are the formal measure for a nurse’s continuing education endeavors.

Editor’s Note: Click here to learn how becoming a Vohra Wound Certified Nurse (VWCN™) can lead to career advancement, increased earning potential, and improved patient outcomes.

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What is a CEU?

The acronym CEU means Continuing Education Unit. If you want to keep your nursing license valid and active you are required to get continuing education through your career. Each state has a board of nursing that measures a nurse’s participation hours by continuing education units. The requirements are different in each state, but mostly all of the states require at least some CEUs for their license renewal. One CEU is equal to ten contact hours. In order for any education obtained in a classroom or through activities needs to approved by the state board of nursing in your state. When you are taking a position somewhere, you should always check to see hospital or the department you are working in has CEU requirements to be employed by them.

Pathways to CEUs for Nurses

Education credits for nurses can be logged in many various settings. Attending conferences, participating in seminars, or workshops are all activities that you can use for CEUs. You can also take educational classes online or nursing courses in an academic setting to add to your CEU total. There are many hospitals and skilled nursing centers that offer their employees free CEUs that are held at the facility you work in.


Each state has a board of nursing, there are very few states with the same requirements to get CEU approval. If you don’t know for certain how many CPUs you need, contact your state board. Every time you finish a qualified continuing education unit, you should be sure to get a certificate of completion. Each attendance certificate is offered, be sure it is given to you in hard copy. Be sure to organize all of your CEU certificate copies in hard copy and digitally as well. This way you will be ready when the time comes for renewal of your license and can submit your credits with no stress.


If you’re looking for a conference to attend for CEU credit, MDLinx maintains a database of conferences by their location and the date the conference is being held. You can also search for seminars on the same website. Want to take a vacation and get some CEUs while you’re at it? You can take a cruise and continue your education while you’re sailing through oceans to locations that are exotic and enriching. 

Annual Requirements for Nursing Staff

If you need to know how many CEUs you will need according to the state you reside in, go to nurse.com database for all of the data you may need.


Certain states require designated classes, seminars, or academic classes to contribute toward the mandatory credits needed for receiving certification. Typically nurses need to earn 20-30 hours of contact for license renewal (which is a short 48 hours) Once you have passed the window for renewing your license the CEUs you have accumulated will reset. They do not roll over to the next year. This is a parameter that urges nurses to educate themselves consistently from one year to the next. 

Can CEUs be Obtained for Free?ON

The answer is a resounding DEFINITELY! There may be free classes offered by your employer. Universities quite often will offer guest lectures that come with free CEU, and you can also take free courses online.

Yes! Absolutely. Some employers will offer free classes, universities often host guest lectures, and it’s especially easy with free online courses. See below for a list of free online CEU courses.

Below you will find 8 online CEU courses that can be taken for free:

  • On Nurse.com you can get a membership that will give you unlimited CEU courses for free. If you don’t want to get the membership you can take the Keep It Clean: Hand Hygiene and Skin Sepsis course for $12.95. This class is worth one CE hour.
  • For the nonmember price of $12.95, or free for members, you can take the Managing Your Time course. This is also worth one CE hour.
  • Vohra Wound Care offers free CEUs to nurses who take their wound certification courses.
  • Strategies for the Management of Sepsis is a course that you can take through the American Association of Critical Care Nurses.
  • Comparative Evaluation of Chest Tube Insertion Site Dressings: A Randomized Controlled Trial is an activity you can participate in for one contact hour.
  • Validation of a New Clinical Tool for PICS is another class that is offered through the American Association of Critical Care Nurses.
  • CEUfast offers a limited number of free CEU courses that switch up on a consistent basis.
  • Wild Iris Medical Education offers an impressive database of free contact hours as well.

Remember, not only do you need the contact hours for CEUs, but participating in and contributing to the online learning experience is going to greatly heighten the care for you patients. 

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Why is Continuing Education Important for Healthcare Professionals?

It is important to keep up to pace with continuing your education whether you’re a nurse or a physician. You may have secured a great job in medicine, but that does not mean your education is finished. As a matter of fact, you should never stop learning. Socrates basically stated that what we learn is just a small ember in the eternal flame. We must tend to that fire consistently in order to prevent the flame from going out.


CEUs fill the gap between care standards during your time period of formal schooling and optimal care in the here and now. The CEU is a mandated requirement by state board licensing. Professional communities/societies also have specific CEU requirements, as does boards that calculate and keep track for healthcare professionals.


Continuing education has been credited as one of the factors that have proven to improve a patient’s outcome and quite possibly save his/her life. Continuing education units teach masses of healthcare professionals through online modules that there are better practices out there that will lead to longevity for their patients. The combination of new medications, updated technology, cutting edge protocol, and prevention awareness work together to reduce the number of patients that experience a fatal outcome. CE courses can be credited for a great deal of this improvement.

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Now is a Great Time to Continue Your education

Let’s set aside the fact that your place of work and the licensing board in your state can and most often will require you obtain CE credits if you want to keep working in your field legally. The most beneficial aspect of higher education (aside from all of the worthy to be noted teaching on your scope of work) is being able to watch your career advance on an organic basis since you are able to continue to grow in your position and work in a place you love, doing what you love as a career.

You may be working at a local clinic that is extremely busy. After watching the nurses attend to patients with your aid and this makes your desire to serve patients skyrocket. Your bedside manner is up to par and you follow the guidelines of the medical team as to what to do or not to do with each individual patient. It only makes sense to reach out and touch your tangible progress in your academic achievements while celebrating your bravery and success!

How big are your dreams? Would you like to be a registered nurse? If you can dream about it, you can be about it. You can do this for you and the patients you have been providing compassionate care to. Patient care that is quality and public health are both enhanced by way of medicine that is evidence-based. CE endeavors gift you with the best medical news and technological developments. The classes have to be understood and implemented. When you take these classes, look at them as gifts. Using that gift rather than neglecting it will bring you prosperity. Take the opportunity to regroup when you need to. CEUs benefit the nurse and the patients. Health care experts have committed themselves toward the goal of educational degrees being pursued and crossing the finish line. Continuing Education is the outlets of the medical community where nurses and doctors can get fed information so that they are more prepared to administer care. 

What to Expect from a Quality CE opportunity

Everyone’s time is valuable, especially those who work 12 hour shifts. Getting adequate rest and finding time to take care of your personal business can be a challenge. Many nurses get frustrated because they simply cannot find time to go after the boost in their knowledge. That is why there are online classes. Online seminars exist as CE activities as well.


When you finish a class or an activity, you should feel like the main objective of being taught in a way that influences an improvement in the clinical arena in a way that encourages better outcomes for patients. You are a vessel bringing quality care to your place of employment. The utilization of multi-media outlets will be used in your class or activity as well. Clinical outcomes can be improved by students learning through multi-media opportunities. If you are lost in transition during your class, it’s a waste of your time. You want a class that will engage you with multiple instructional techniques.

Recapping Why You Should Seek Out Your CEUs

For a recap of the reasons to go after those CE hours:

CEUs are required to maintain your nursing license.

All fifty states require every nurse to complete before they will allow you to renew your license. Be sure the courses or activities must have accreditation.

Improvement of Safety for Nurses and Patients

The improvement of safety for both nurses and the patients includes hand hygiene and chemical safety. Every nurse should know how to handle any emergency. CE classes constantly evolve in order to stay up to standard. Specialty CE hours can be obtained online. An example of the aspect of this is Vohra Wound Care.

Put Into Use Specific Skills in Multiple Skilled Nursing Facilities

CEUs are out there for specific nurses to take on a subject that you have the desire to hone their clinical skills. Some of the classes include advocacy for patients and forensic evidence collection. There are many choices out there for the nurses of our nation. The only question you should have for yourself is which opportunity you would like to experience.

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Author: Dr. Janet Mackenzie, C.M.O.

Janet S Mackenzie MD is the Chief Medical Officer at Vohra Wound Physicians. She has been with the company since 2013 and has almost 30 years of wound care experience as both a plastic surgeon and a wound care specialist. After obtaining a Master’s degree in Education, she obtained her Medical Degree from the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine. She trained in general surgery at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center and plastic surgery at McGill University. She is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, the American Board of Wound Management, and the American Board of General Medicine, and is a Certified Wound Specialist Physician (CWSP).

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