Continuing Education Units or CEUs are educational courses covering subjects that are relevant to those employed in specific professions where updated knowledge is essential for their work. The aim of the health-related CEU is to encourage those working in respiratory care, radiology, laboratory, and many other medical fields to keep current in their knowledge about their profession.

Often a number of continuing education credits are mandated by each state. Each course contains a number of credits that fulfills the state’s requirement. Most states require a number of CEUs to be completed every 2 years, and some require completion on a yearly basis. CEUs may be obtained through home study courses as listed in this article, or they may be obtained through seminars and conferences sponsored by various hospitals, companies, and organizations.

Every state has regulations with specific wording regarding the acceptability of home study or correspondence courses. Some states specifically exclude CE from home study courses while others exclude home study CE from profit or “out-of-state” organizations. Other states allow home study CE if it is approved by certain professional organizations. In addition to state requirements, many hospitals and health care organizations require the completion of a number of CEUs in the department where the student works.

Health-related CEU courses range in subject matter from simple review material to the learning of advanced skills. Home study courses vary in length and in the amount of CE credit granted. Credits are often based on the length of time it takes to provide the same material in a lecture setting. Typical courses consist of objectives, outline, text, post-test, answer sheet, and evaluation forms. The answer sheet is returned to the company offering the course for grading. CEUs obtained from attending seminars and conferences are given at the end of the meeting and may or may not require testing.

The following is a brief listing of Internet sources for those interested in continuing education.

Respiratory Care Education Consulting Services (RCECS)
RCECS offers respiratory educational materials and continuing education courses for respiratory therapists, including 29 copyrighted courses in four categories of respiratory care. The courses range from simple review material to advanced critical care skills, and vary in length and in the amount of CE credit granted. Each course consists of behavioral objectives, outline, text, post-test, answer sheet, and evaluation form. The answer sheet and evaluation form must be returned to RCECS. A certificate of completion is issued for each course with a passing score of 70%more on the post-test. Course offerings include arterial blood gas interpretation, artificial airways, noninvasive pressure support ventilation; respiratory diseases, including asthma and pneumonia; pulmonary anatomy and physiology; and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Cost is based on the number of credits ordered. Respiratory classes generally range from 1 to 9 CE hours, with prices ranging from $10 to $60, not including shipping and handling and state taxes. For more information, visit the Web site or call (800) 441-LUNG.

University of Kansas Respiratory Care Education Program
The University of Kansas School of Allied Health offers a number of online courses covering such topics as cystic fibrosis, nitric oxide, lung cancer, sleep apnea, and exercise stress testing. The University also offers seven case studies for CEU credits at $5 per credit. Each case study is 1 CEU, except for the hyberbaric oxygen (HBO) study, which is 2 credits. The case studies cover burns, gunshots, asthma, bypass surgery, head and chest trauma, and HBO therapy. You can get through the case study while online at the Web site and take the test at the end. You will receive your credits when you send in your course fee.

Internet-based Learning
Fanshaw College in London, Ontario, Canada, is offering a number of courses for respiratory therapists through its Health Sciences Division. Offerings include an award-winning basic electrocardiogram (ECG) course, a 12-lead and advanced ECG interpretation class, and a course on ventilator waveform analysis. The basic ECG course is approved for 12 hours of continuing respiratory care education (CRCE) credit by the American Association for Respiratory Care. This 25-hour course is $65 US, $103 Canadian. A demonstration of the course can be viewed at the Web site. For more information, visit the Web site or call (800) 387-9066 in Canada, (416) 596-3117 in the United States.

California College for Health Sciences Continuing Education Online
CCHS offers more than 50 continuing education courses for respiratory therapists. These can be ordered online, and are divided into 5 CE and 10 CE contact-hour courses. The cost is $24.95 per 5 CE courses and $34.95 per 10 CE courses. After you receive the course, study the material, and complete the final examination, you send it to CCHS to be graded. They even offer a free course on manual resuscitation bags.

Center for Health Education–Clinical Path and CE Course Ordering Information
The Center for Health Education is offering a series of critical care courses on audiocassette. These courses provide the latest information in patient care to meet your continuing education needs. These courses include information and case studies in softbound textbooks. The acute care courses include hemodynamic monitoring; intra-aortic balloon pump; ECG preparation; advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) preparation; chest trauma emergencies; assessment of the renal system; high-risk obstetrics; pediatric trauma; heart sounds; and multitrauma victims. Other courses include medical/surgical courses for nurses and emergency department courses. Prices range from $78 to $99.

Sites with respiratory links
Respiratory on the Web: This site contains more than 100 links to respiratory and medical subjects, and covers organizations, education, books, publications, hospitals, employment, personal Web pages, equipment, and diseases, and includes links to a number of other sites.

John’s Airway/Respiratory InfoCenter: D. John Doyle, MD, PhD, of the Toronto Hospital and the University of Toronto, has put together a massive collection of Web links for clinicians and scientists interested in clinical airway and respiratory issues. His main focus is anesthesiology-related sites with links covering topics such as pulmonary medicine intubation, ventilation, respiratory care, and oxygen therapy. There is a great deal of valuable information that is especially useful for the respiratory student.

John’s Med Link: John’s medical links page covers respiratory care societies and organizations, publications, educational programs, respiratory therapy departments, equipment sites, diseases and critical care sites, personal Web pages, and much more. Also included is a tobacco-control archives and numerous links for game sites, family, and education–even the weather!

Respiratory Care Society of Washington’s links to respiratory care: This comprehensive site includes more than 1,000 links to various medical topics, including sites covering respiratory care, anesthesiology, cardiovascular and emergency medicine, trauma, and nursing.

Respiratory Care Source Pages: The Source Pages are another often-quoted listing of respiratory-related sites. This site was created and is maintained by Michael McPeck, RRT. It includes professional organizations, journals, medical resources, pulmonary links, online publications and medical libraries, and respiratory departments and programs.

The Archives of Respiratory Care Professionals’ World Forum: This site is a complete listing of articles posted to the RC World news group. The articles are grouped by the month of their posting and further grouped by topic. These postings offer an interesting look at topics and concerns of the respiratory care community. The site is also a valuable resource for information on current procedures, equipment, and therapies. It offers a search function for finding information on otherwise difficult-to-locate topics.

The State University of New York (SUNY) Community College of Respiratory Care-related Web site: Janice R. Close, RRT, RPFT, perinatal/pediatric specialist and program director of respiratory care at Rockland Community College has put together this site, which includes a well-rounded listing of respiratory-related Web sites. At SUNY, educational, radiological, and pharmacological sites are included as well as publishers, professional organizations, multimedia and software, and clinical topics. It also includes listings for educators using the Internet for educational purposes. N

Dennis Holland, RRT, is a staff respiratory therapist at Memorial Hospital of Martinsville and Henry County in Martinsville, Va. He is also the administrator of “The RT Corner” Web site for respiratory therapy students located at r