Alphabet Soup – CE, CEU, and CNE

One of the most common questions about online nursing education is about the difference between CE, CEU and CNE. This is a source of confusion for both new nurses and experienced professionals and the aim here is to clear this up once and for all.

Many people try to use the terms interchangeably. Although each of these three terms refers to continuing education, they each mean slightly different things. The definitions are listed below:

CE – This is an acronym for Continuing Education and is a generic term. It does not refer to units of time or measurement, but simply classifies the type of material in question.

CEU – This is short for Continuing Education Unit and is perhaps the most misunderstood point in online education. Traditionally this refers to 10 hours of material. However, it’s common to see course descriptions such as “This course is worth 2 CEUs.” Although this would literally mean the course is worth 20 hours, it is often used to describe only 2 hours. Most state nursing boards are now pushing for the abolition of the term CEU as it has caused too much confusion. If you are looking for continuing education, make sure the provider has clarified the exact number of hours (preferably they should use the term contact hours).

A brief note on the term “office hours” – Contact hours can be defined as 60 minutes (in some states they can be defined as 50 minutes – but that’s another discussion entirely) of learning material. The number of hours in the duration of a further education course is usually referred to as contact hours. For example: “This course is worth 1.5 contact hours”.

CNE – This is an acronym for Continuing Nursing Education and refers to materials specific to nurses. It is a general term and does not refer to a specific number of hours or any other form of measurement. Whenever possible, providers should clearly label their courses as CNE when dealing with forms of nursing-specific continuing education. This can help avoid confusion between other healthcare professionals.

Ultimately, each of these terms has its own definitions and usages. The online environment has created a wide range of available online continuing education options for healthcare providers, and a working knowledge of these different acronyms can help an individual better browse the multitude of options.

Thanks to A. Samson | #Alphabet #Soup #CEU #CNE

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