Importance of Continuing Education in the Nursing Profession

by Beverly Sampson 8,026 Views | 8 Comments

In the Nursing Profession it is paramount that we continue to educate ourselves. This will enhance the Professionalism that we strive for as Nurses and it greatly benefits our patients. There are many ways we can continue to learn, and this article discusses a few of them.

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    Importance of Continuing Education in the Nursing Profession

    The importance of continued education with any profession is paramount. Within the Nursing profession it is a requirement. In general, to maintain your license you need twenty-four continuing education credits (CEU's) every two years. This article will discuss, and hopefully motivate us to go above and beyond that requirement so that we may be able to take better care of our patients. In fact, one could argue that our patients will be safer due to the increased skill this knowledge will create. It has been almost twenty years since graduating with a bachelor's degree in Nursing and it has never been more evident how important it is to stay at the top of our practice by keeping our knowledge base of the most current trends in healthcare at its peak. Some ways we can do this are by attending conferences in our areas of specialty and reading evidence-based practice articles.

    Recently, I attended a national conference in my area of specialty. I cannot stress the importance of doing this. Just by being around your peers, all with the same desire to boost their knowledge base, is a very motivating experience. Some of your peers may be novices while others would be considered experts. Interacting with the varying skill levels will allow you to be educator and educated. This type of networking with peers is a great way to stay connected with the latest healthcare trends to better take care of your patients, which in my opinion should be the ultimate goal. Exchange contact information and share with your colleagues some of your successes and failures throughout the year, this will provide invaluable insight as to what works well and what you might want to avoid when it comes to your practice. Also, at these conferences the latest trends in your specialty will be talked about and usually accompany case scenarios that really help put the information together. Conferences will also expose you to vendors that carry specific products that may benefit your particular patient population. Products that might help you create a safer work environment or help make the care you give easier.

    Another way to keep current with the latest healthcare trends in your specialty is by reading articles regarding evidenced-based care. These articles will encompass many facets of the continuum of care including patient preferences, clinical expertise and studies that have been performed regarding particular aspects of care.There are a variety of medical journals available, and they will keep you abreast of the latest research and findings in your area of specialty. Many healthcare facilities have medical libraries available to their employees which carry these journals in all areas of specialty.

    In conclusion, continued education is a vital component to providing our patients the best possible care. The Nursing profession as a whole benefits when we grow as individuals in our knowledge base particular to our Nursing specialty. Let the desire we have to give our patients the best possible care be our biggest motivator in continued education.
    Last edit by Joe V on Nov 10, '13
    vumblevee, mebflick.128, BSNbeDONE, and 3 others like this.
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  3. About Beverly Sampson

    In the Nursing profession for almost twenty years. Have worked in Pediatrics the last fifteen years, specializing in Hematology/Oncology and Vascular Access.

    Beverly Sampson joined Jan '13. Posts: 2 Likes: 17; Learn more about Beverly Sampson by visiting their allnursesPage

    8 Comments so far...

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    No CEU's are required in New York State to renew your license.
    Altra and BSNbeDONE like this.
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    No CEUs are required in Georgia, either....yet. I do understand and can relate to the OP's post, however. When I became an LPN back in the day, there were glass IV bottles, stainless steel (sterile) IV needles that were left inserted into the vein, no computers whatsoever, barely had an electronic typewriter on each floor, and our nurses notes HAD to be written using abbreviations in its entirety. Had I remained in that mindset and resistant to change, I would not be able to function as a nurse today. Today, Florence Nightingale, the woman who founded this career, would not last one minute at the bedside.

    I enjoyed 24 years as an LPN, 3 years so far as an RN, and will have my BSN in a few months. Returning for the RN was an economically-forced choice for me. Pursuing the BSN has been and still is a personal choice since the hospitals that I've worked for have not made any career demands on its nurses. I have a slew of CEUs; not because it's required here because it's not. I have them because, for one, it helps to keep me in the loop as to what's going on in the nursing world, and also we have some know-it-all patients whose ultimate goal in life is to show us that they know more about nursing than we do. (For some reason, there are those leaders who try to force us to encourage those patients by smiling, agreeing, and making them happy even when they are dead wrong).

    Basically, I graduated from my very first nursing program in 1985. Although, I feel some things may have worked much better back then than they do now, I would hate to have spent so many years in a career that has left me behind, and I'm not even 50 years old yet. My concern for some of my colleagues is the domino effect. Changing trends ultimately do catch up with us. And I worry that my friends, who chose to remain LPNs, will eventually lose their hospital jobs out of sheer complacency. Where will they go? They've worked in acute care for so long, (some of them have worked nowhere but), that they would not survive the caseload of nursing home medication passes. I know because I also enjoyed many years in geriatrics, acute care, home health, detox...you name it. It was all a learning experience with each change.

    Some of us change our phones every 6 months to keep up with the latest, yet do nothing for the advancement of our careers. Yes, I will be the first to admit that I want out of nursing so badly, but until I find that outage, ya better believe I strive to be the best that I can be while I'm still in it!
    mebflick.128 likes this.
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    30 CEUs over 2 years in PA. My certification requires an average of 25 per year. Sometimes I think that states are too lenient in requiring continuing education. Nursing changes, patients change, technology changes. Nurses need to keep up to date on evidence-based practice. Unfortunately, there are those out there who won't do what isn't required of them, and that includes continuing education.
    Last edit by Rose_Queen on Nov 10, '13
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    This article really rings true.

    I recently had the opportunity to be part of a group interviewing four candidates for a vacant position we have in our PICU. We interviewed four nurses, all with several years' experience in pediatrics, three of them on a transplant floor. My question to all of them was "What is the last journal article you read?" Only ONE of the candidates could describe one. Two others hemmed and hawed around and finally came up with "Well, our educator sends us all an article quarterly- so I'm sure I've read one". The fourth said she doesn't read journals.

    BSNINTHEWORKS - I am stealing your bit about updating phones. Well said!

    PS: I subscribe to half a dozen professional journals and belong to a couple of organizations. I'm 58- been a nurse since 1977, and continue to learn new things every day. Beverly- you hit the nail on the head with this article. I'm definitely sharing with my peers.
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    CE Requirements by State at Nurse.com | RN and LPN Nurse Continuing Education Requirements

    State by state info (including the double-digit number of states which do not require any continuing ed) for all who may be curious.
    poopoobuddy, VickyRN, poppycat, and 1 other like this.
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    Quote from Altra
    CE Requirements by State at Nurse.com | RN and LPN Nurse Continuing Education Requirements

    State by state info (including the double-digit number of states which do not require any continuing ed) for all who may be curious.

    Thank you!
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    I believe that even if Continuing Education is not required in your State, one must have the personal obligation to enroll in classes anyway. The Nursing Profession is ever changing and in the medical field, new technology and innovations are continuously improved and introduced. With stagnant knowledge and absence of interest in learning new nursing practices and revisions we fail to reach our full potential as nurses. This, as a consequence, will fail us in becoming advocates for our patients because by being their advocates we have to instill the passion and drive to learn better and new things in Nursing so that we can give our patients the best possible care we can give. Other ways to be continuously up-to-date with the latest trends, medical news and revisions in current nursing practice is to subscribe or read medical journals and other scholarly materials. It is also better if we undergo training classes, seminars and get as much certifications as we can.
    In my personal opinion, some countries and States in the U.S. are too lenient when it comes to requiring Continuing Education for nurses. If it will be mandatory, a lot of nurses as well as patients will benefit from the knowledge they will acquire because not all nurses update themselves with new knowledge. For example, when it comes to technology, these days nursing is coping up with the fast-paced high-tech world. If nurses are not up-to-date with this current trend in medical care there is no professional growth and this way, you may fail your patient as his or her advocate. As nurses, passion is the most important attribute that we should possess and passion to learn is one of the most important thing because it is how we become the best nurse we can be.
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    Today the world is advancing rapidly and hence to survive in this world one needs to stay updated with the latest technologies, knowledge and ideas. CEUs offer the same in healthcare fields by enriching the knowledge of the nurses and physicians with the current and latest information and hence healthcare CEUs have become a necessity for the healthcare employers. Visit www.ceus-r-ez.com to know more.


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