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Nursing is an area of the health care field that requires ongoing education and training in order to keep pace with constant changes. Hospitals and clinics provide ongoing training for their Registered Nurses (RNs) to improve care for their patients. Some hospitals require their prospective nurses to have ventilator certification. RN ventilator certification is a must for nurses working in an Emergency Room (ER), Intensive Care or Critical Care Unit (ICU/CCU) or a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
Nursing License Renewal
All nurses must obtain a minimum number of continuing education units (CEUs) for renewal of their nursing licenses. The requirements for license renewal vary from state to state, with some states requiring a minimum of 20 hours of continuing education units every two years. There are a number of topics for nurses to choose from to attain CEUs, including courses for ventilator certification.
To become ventilator certified a Registered Nurse must successfully complete an approved ventilator course. Some states require re-certification every two years for nurses working as independent home care providers. Generally, separate courses are offered for RN ventilator certification for use with adults (age 17 and older) and for use with children (age 16 and younger). Nurses who work with both age groups should complete both courses.
Typically an RN ventilator certification course consists of several components, starting with an introduction and technical outline of the course. Participating nurses will be introduced to the components of a ventilator machine and the concept of how it works to help patients with artificial respiration. Courses include training in the setup and operation of a ventilator together with instruction on how to view and change settings. Nurses will also learn how to troubleshoot a ventilator machine, as well as how to use the diagnostic mode for enhanced troubleshooting with machines that have this feature.
Online Ventilator Courses
A number of websites offer online ventilator courses as well as many other continuing education-approved courses for nurses. The ventilator courses are usually self-paced with post-tests available and the option to print a certificate of completion that can be used toward required CEU hours for re-licensure. Free ventilator courses are offered on websites including theonlinelearningcenter.com and nellcor.com. An in-depth course created by corexcel.com has a cost of $44, but you only pay for the course if you take the post-test to earn a certificate of completion and CEU hours.
You may be able to find ventilator courses at some hospitals or through medical supply businesses that sell ventilator machines. The book "Essentials of Mechanical Ventilation," by Dean Hess and Robert Kacmarek is a useful basic instruction text on the principles of mechanical ventilation and patient care but may not count for nurses’ required CEUs. Some states have RN ventilator certification courses available, such as California School of Health Sciences located in the Los Angeles area or Professional Home Care Providers, which offers courses at a few hospitals in the state of Wisconsin. These courses range in price from $90 to $235 and may be accredited in contrast to the free online courses, which are generally not accredited.
Based in California, Debbie Donner is a freelance online writer who primarily writes articles related to personal finance. Donner received a Mensa scholarship in 2006 while attending California State University, Fresno. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in liberal arts and a multiple-subject teaching credential.