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Online CEUs to Stop Medical Mistakes

written by: Sylvia Cochran•edited by: Sarah Malburg•updated: 6/8/2011

To error is human, but in the medical field even a minor mistake can have huge consequences. As a healthcare provider, you have the opportunity to undergo online continuing medical education that aims to recognize and prevent possible medical errors. Where can you find this lifesaving coursework?

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    Are You a Good Candidate for Online CEUs?

    If you are a certified nursing assistant, a home healthcare worker, find employment in a hospital or doctor’s office, are a pharmacist, psychologist, nurse, doctor, or physician assistant -- or if you have any other kind of contact with the general public in need of medical help -- you are an excellent candidate for online training in the avoidance of medical mistakes. Slip-ups range from the severe, such as an oversight when mixing medication and combining inappropriate components, to the benign, as may be the case when not sending home properly calibrated crutches that can be easily fixed by the patient at home.

    The price tag attached to medical mistakes in the US is about $80 billion. This does not factor in the human cost, which consists of lost lives, limbs, and enjoyment of everyday life. In an effort to curtail these mistakes, medical professionals of all disciplines are encouraged by overseeing bodies to avail themselves of online continuing education units (CEUs) aimed at eradicating these errors.

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    Examples of Available CEUs in This Field


    Pharmacy personnel should take a look at the continuing education section of the Drug Store News website. One course -- entitled “Managing Medication Errors” and costing $14 -- is targeted specifically to pharmacists in an effort to decrease the risk of dispensing faulty prescriptions. The course provides two contact hours and you may claim your CEUs by providing your CEQ number when filling out the answer sheet. This class has been accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education.


    Nursing care providers have the option to visit the Nurse website and take a one-contact-hour CEU class entitled “What’s Being Done to Prevent Wrong-Side Surgery.” This is an excellent continuing education class for surgical nurses or cross-training nursing providers. As of 2011, the class is offered at a cost of $10. You will learn how various members of the healthcare team work together to prevent mistaken surgeries, and also the three step method of universal protocol.

    Advance for Nurses offers a free class entitled “Prevention of Medical Errors.” It is required for license renewals in Florida. LPNs and RNs taking this course receive two credits. The course is accredited by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation; nevertheless, Kansas and Iowa will not recognize these CEUs.

    Mental Health Workers

    Psychologists and other mental health professionals may do well to visit the CeUnit site and choose the eight credit “Supervision” course for $79. Medical errors are not reserved for physicians treating the body, but may also happen in the field of psychology; preventing mistakes is crucial in this field just as it is in other medical disciplines.

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    No National Mandate

    CEUs in general -- and in the field of the prevention of medical errors in particular -- are not universally required in the United States. While the state of Florida is well known for its CEU requirement for medical professionals, other states do not uniformly mandate them for the sake of license renewal. It is interesting to note that some major employers, most notably hospitals, make continuing education – or in-services – a condition of employment.

    Even if you are licensed in a state that does not require CEUs, it is a good idea to opt for an online class to hone your skills and also keep your patients and those you come in contract with safe from medical errors – either yours, or your coworkers’. Online continuing medical education makes it very easy to get this training during off-hours. To make the process even more convenient, there are now also online CEUs without testing.

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    • Drug Store News, continuing education:
    •, continuing education:
    • Advance for Nurses:
    • for mental health workers’ continuing education:
    • Florida’s medical CEU requirements: