A lot of professions require constant refreshing of related knowledge to keep one up to date about the changing norms. Nursing is one such profession. No matter how hard one must have wished for the educational journey to end while graduating from nursing school, it will continue for longer. Continuing education is a requirement that is vital for nurses if they want to excel in their profession and provide the best care for the patients.
Continuing education may sound like a tough decision right after graduating from nursing school, as it means another journey of learning without being able to step into the profession practically. However, ongoing education is beneficial for the nurse, the employers, and the patients. It provides nurses with advanced knowledge that helps in improving their professional capacity and opens new job avenues for them.
While this article aims at discussing the importance of continuing education as a nurse, it is worth mentioning here that continuing education is not only confined to formal means. One can always keep on enriching the knowledge database through other means. Attending conferences and reading evidence-based practice articles also help in adding to the knowledge. Moreover, being attentive to peers and working with them can help in increasing knowledge. One can get hands-on learning while working with peers and can benefit from their knowledge and experience. The ultimate goal of a nurse is to be able to give the best patient care. The flow of knowledge and education from anyway should be welcome.
Why continuing education for Nursing?
In many countries of the world, continuing education for nursing is a prerequisite for keeping their license intact.
According to Wikipedia, Continuing education refers to the list of post-secondary learning activities and programs. These educational activities and programs include:
- Non-degree career training
- Degree credit courses
- Workforce training
- Personal enrichment courses available online and on-campus
The basic idea of continuing education is similar to adult education. It is intended for adult learners past the age of undergraduate college or university.
If as a nurse, one wants to stay current on the knowledge, wish to excel in the profession, and want to get employed at one of the best places with regards to the profession, then continuing education can play an important part in achieving this.
Continuing education does not necessarily require to quit the job and attend on-campus classes. A lot of online agnp programs offer courses so anyone can continue serving the profession and acquiring education side by side. It is a different approach but a very practical one. One needs to keep the schedule according to the live online sessions and should not miss out on submitting the assignments on time. The progress at these courses will reflect on the certificate/diploma.
While continuing education may be a choice of the nurses in some parts of the world, others have made this mandatory. For example, NMBA, the regulatory board for nurses and midwives in Australia requires every registered nurse to take up continuing professional education. Additionally, nurses can take up clinical learning to get hands-on training related to the profession. All these training hours are credited on their diplomas/degrees.
Briefing it up, continuing education is the post-degree education that keeps the nurses up to date about the medical advancements and new happenings in the knowledge pool of the profession.
Importance of continuing education as a nurse:
Education helps in personal grooming, boosting confidence, and developing professional skills. One can keep on acquiring degrees and courses, yet, there will always be something left that has to be learned. The one who knows the importance of education may understand that it has to be pursued owing to the plethora of benefits it brings.
Medical and Healthcare Profession:
It is common knowledge that the field of medical and healthcare is constantly evolving. The researchers are coming up with something new every other say. So, to keep up do date about everything new, the nurses are required to enroll in continuing education courses. To ensure that the knowledge and courses that are offered through a particular source are credible and valuable, the credit hours of these courses can be submitted to the concerned authorities and specialized bodies for evaluation. These are called CEUs; continuing education credits. Nurses can provide a record of these credits to their employers as proof that they have pursued continuing education.
Healthcare is perhaps the most sought after facility at the current. Many people around the world have access to healthcare and are getting benefits from it. This demands an increase in the number of specialized nurses and health care providers. With the rise in complicated problems of the patients, major health care centers and hospitals are on the look of well-educated nurses. Statistics show that by 2020 there will be one million jobs for nurses, but no nurses to fill them up. The math is simple. There is an increase in the demand of registered nurses, preferably with expertise while there is a shortage in the supply. Economics tells us that in such a situation the commodity’s value is highly increased. Does this need further explanation?
Nursing impact on Patient Care:
According to a report, the nurses are the frontline workers of a nation and have a great impact on patient care of the country. The report recommends that the nurses get higher and advanced education and serve the public in better ways. The highly educated nurses can easily meet the ever-changing needs of healthcare.
The demand is not only high for BSNs but, MSNs with specialized education are required too. If any professional plans on capitalizing on this demand-supply situation he/she should start thinking of continuing education through whatever means suit him the best.
Continuing education is not restricted to the traditional means of nursing. The need for highly skilled professionals to be tech-aware cannot be overlooked. Continuing education helps in nurturing all the weak areas that may contribute to the profession. This means that nurses that are not tech-savvy are trained to become skilled in this area. This will enable them to take full advantage of the internet knowledge database and serve their profession.
Continuing education is a positive step for nurses who want to advance their skills and expertise. There are many ways of continuing education. The basic idea is to keep up to date about the evolution in the field and keep learning. The demand for highly educated and skilled nurses is ever increasing. Anyone who wishes to pursue this career diligently should consider pursuing continued education.