Top 10 Free Online Continuing Education (CE) Courses for Nurses
What are the most popular CE courses nurses are taking to provide the best patient care?
By Brenda Kozak, MSN, RN, CNE | September 8, 2022
Medline University® is a free online resource for nurses and healthcare professionals. Whether onboarding new hires or working on annual training requirements, Medline University has hundreds of courses available at no cost—with more than half qualifying for continuing education (CE) credits.
We offer courses in 25 categories, including a range of quality-of-life categories like pain management, dietary nutrition, continence management and more. We also offer a growing number of specialized clinical education programs including infection prevention, skin and wound care, perioperative, vascular access and safe patient handling.
Here at Medline University, we know that free continuing education courses for nurses are critical to professional development. So, what are the most popular CE courses nurses are taking to provide the best patient care? Check out Medline University's top 10 courses below to increase your knowledge and keep skills sharp.
1. Bloodborne Pathogens (1.5 CE for Nurses)
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), bloodborne pathogens are infectious microorganisms in human blood that can cause disease in humans. These pathogens include, but are not limited to, Hepatitis B (HBV), Hepatitis C (HCV) and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). Needle sticks and other sharps-related injuries may expose nurses to bloodborne pathogens. Nurses in many clinical settings may be at risk of exposure to bloodborne pathogens.
It is important to know what bloodborne pathogens are in order to prevent transmission. The purpose of this course is to educate nurses on bloodborne pathogens, OSHA guidelines, rules and regulations, and the proper use of proper personal protective equipment (PPE). To learn more about this course, click here. To take the course, click here.
2. Personal Protective Equipment for Nurses and Healthcare Personnel (1.5 CE for Nurses)
Every day, nurses are exposed to potentially harmful bacteria, and air- and blood-borne pathogens. When it comes to choosing the right personal protective equipment (PPE), knowing what you need—and how to wear it—are critical to keeping people safe and compliant.
This course will provide a basic review of the background of PPE; assessing the need for PPE and isolation carts; types of PPE; donning and doffing PPE; determining the level of precaution; an introduction to the new USP 800 guidelines when working with hazardous drugs; educating healthcare staff, patients, and family members; and special considerations for PPE, such as Ebola and HIV. This program is for nurses who have direct patient care responsibilities. To learn more about this course, click here. To take the course, click here.
3. Hand Hygiene: Basic Principles and Competency (1.0 CE for Nurses)
Clean hands are the single most important way to reduce the risk of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs). But getting hand hygiene right is complex. Pressures from staff shortages and turnover, confusion around best practices, a lack of educational resources and ineffective monitoring—all can contribute to low compliance. It is the responsibility of every nurse to contribute to a culture of patient or resident safety by practicing proper hand hygiene at all times, as well as helping others to be compliant.
This course will provide an overview of basic principles of hand hygiene, review the chain of infection and transmission, review guidelines for the proper use of gloves including donning/doffing techniques, and provide appropriate hand hygiene product selection. To learn more about this course, click here. To take the course, click here.
4. Falls Prevention: Tools and Strategies (1.5 CE for Nurses)
In hospitals alone, patient falls are a leading cause of death in people age 65 or older. There is increasing regulatory and reimbursement pressure on hospitals to prevent patient falls. Take this course to understand how to identify patients at risk for falls as well as learn the latest tools and strategies to help prevent falls. To learn more about this course, click here. To take the course, click here.
5. Using Restraints and Restrictive Devices (1.0 CE for Nurses)
Restraints are a concern in healthcare today due to the danger they pose to those restrained. It is recognized that restraint use needs to be decreased. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has set standards indicating the need to decrease restraints and seclusion.
This course gives an overview of restraint use in the healthcare setting. It will discuss the history and types of restraints and overview falls and the use of restraints and bed alarms in fall prevention. The course takes a critical look at restraints, bedrails and body alarms and explains using mobility devices and wheelchairs to enhance (not hinder) mobility. The purpose of this course is to help nurses increase patient mobility, reduce restrain use, reduce restraint risks and understand alternatives to restraints. To learn more about this course, click here. To take the course, click here.
6. Wound Assessment and Documentation (1.0 CE for Nurses)
The ability to communicate a patient’s condition to another healthcare provider is best done using universally-accepted and understood terms, and using proper anatomical locations descriptions. Vocabulary is a vital part of comprehensive quality wound care.
This course addresses the etiology of wounds, depth of tissue, location, and size in order to assist with assessment and documentation. Learn about essential tools for wound assessment such as the PUSH tool and NE1 Wound Assessment tool. This course also overviews the NPIAP Pressure Injury staging system. To learn more about this course, click here. To take the course, click here.
7. Patient Safety: Increasing Awareness (1.25 CE for Nurses)
This course provides nurses with the tools necessary to define patient safety, recognize national patient safety goals, discuss patient safety challenges, identify possible strategies to prevent patient safety issues, and provide patients with information to be more active in their care, which may assist in alleviating patient safety issues.
The objective for this course is to provide an overview of patient safety in terms appropriate for nurses. At the conclusion of this course, nurses will be able to define patient safety, recognize national patient safety goals, discuss patient safety challenges, list methods to prevent medical errors, and describe methods to assist the patient. To learn more about this course, click here. To take the course, click here.
8. Safe Patient Handling: Lifting (1.0 CE for Nurses)
A priority in healthcare facilities is addressing the abundance of back injuries among nursing staff due to manual lifting practices. Injured nurses are increasing worker’s compensation costs and causing high levels of staff turnover. This introductory course teaches nurses the importance of utilizing safe patient handling practices for preventing injury. It explains the history of the problem, equipment selection, and best lifting practices. This course is intended for beginners. To learn more about this course, click here. To take the course, click here.
9. Self-Care for Nurses (1.0 CE for Nurses)
Self-care for nurses is vital to maintaining optimal health, which is a necessary component of safe patient care delivery. Nurses makeup the largest group of healthcare providers in the United States. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, nurses account for over 4 million jobs in the U.S. and this number continues to grow at an accelerated rate. The nursing profession is one of the most trusted and ethical professions. In fact, the nursing profession has been ranked as the top most trusted profession for the last twenty years in a row in a Gallup poll. Nurses have a long history of caring for patients, and often choose the profession out of the desire to help others. But, do nurses apply that same level of care to themselves? Studies have shown that may not always be the case.
This course discusses the background of nursing and its importance to self-care, defines self-care and the 8 key concept areas of self-care, explores the many benefits of self-care, explains the effects of stress on the body, examines the barriers in practicing self-care, discusses the negative consequences of not implementing self-care such as burnout, and assesses strategies to increase participation in self-care.To learn more about this course, click here. To take the course, click here.
10. Battling the Painkiller Addiction Epidemic(1.0 CE for Nurses)
In the United States, enough painkillers were prescribed in 2010 to medicate every American adult around the clock for one month. Prescriptions for painkilllers have nearly tripled since 1990 and fatal overdoses reached epidemic levels, exceeding those from heroin and cocaine combined, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The unprecedented rise in overdose deaths in the U.S. parallels a 300% increase since 1999 in the sale of these drugs. The misuse of prescription painkillers was responsible for more than 475,000 emergency department visits in 2009, a number that nearly doubled in just five years.
This course is designed to help nurses understand this epidemic, the physiology of opioid misuse, treatment modalities, patient and family education, and how they can play an important role in reversing this trend. To learn more about this course, click here. To take the course, click here.