The Importance of Continuing Education for Nurses

A nurse preparing a drip bag for a patient.

The field of healthcare is an ever-evolving industry supported by new technologies and health sciences dedicated to the best patient outcomes. As people live longer, and disease processes become more complex, so do the interventions and modalities used to treat them. As the industry advances, so must the professionals working in it.

Nurses graduate nursing school and pass their nursing licensure examination proving they have achieved what it takes to become a nurse. The reality is, their education has just begun. As a nurse, you should assume the responsibility of becoming a lifelong learner and appreciate the importance of continuing education for nurses. Doing so will empower you to continuously advance your knowledge and skillset to keep pace with patient needs and industry goals. 

Continuing Education Contributes to Professional Development

Professional development in nursing is a formative process that builds on the foundation established in nursing school. After graduating and joining the more than 4 million nurses across the nation, the effort to learn and grow continues. It is imperative that nurses commit to improving their practice, increasing their knowledge, and pursuing competence in their roles.

The importance of continuing education for nurses is certainly not a new concept. Dr. Patricia Benner’s novice-to-expert theory established a continuum from a novice upon entry into practice to an expert clinician who is driven by continuing education and experiential learning.

Continuing education also provides personal benefits. Reinforcing your expertise supports your own personal sense of accomplishment while bringing about recognition as an expert in the competitive healthcare field, which opens opportunities for advancement and increased compensation or benefits.

Continuing Education Leads to Advanced Patient Care

While professional development and a personal return on investment in your career are valuable, the real reason nurses get into the business of nursing is to support others. Above all, when nurses are well-educated and highly competent in their role, patients are more likely to receive high-quality care. A nursing workforce that is well educated is indispensable to healthcare practices aimed at disease prevention, promoting health and wellness, and overall improved quality of life for patients. 

The importance of continuing education for nurses can be seen in many aspects of healthcare: health technologies, therapies, interventions, and medications are just a few of the areas where advances are frequent and rapid. One area where this is especially evident is in oncology nursing. There is a constant stream of new and experimental chemotherapeutic agents being brought to the clinical environment. 

Many of these medications are administered according to strict criteria via specific guidelines because they carry the potential for serious adverse effects. The nurses administering these medications must keep up to date with the most recent information on these medications and are often required to complete continuing education requirements for nurses in this specialty.

State-Mandated Continuing Education is Important Too

The importance of continuing education for nurses is appreciated by licensing agencies, as well. In many states, without completing certain continuing education courses, you will be unable to receive or renew your license. For example, the Florida Board of Nursing requires LPNs and RNs in Florida to complete at least 24 hours of continuing education each renewal, with specific courses needed each time including Medical and Medication Error Prevention, Florida Laws & Rules, and Human Trafficking

What is CEU in nursing? At the completion of an accredited seminar or learning module, continuing education units, or CEUs, are awarded as proof of completion and validation of achieving identifiable learning outcomes. 1 CEU refers to 10 contact hours. When randomly selected for audit by the state Board of Nursing, nurses with documented completion of required continuing education can rest easy.

Flourish In Your Career While Improving Lives

Overall, the importance of continuing education for nurses translates to a variety of benefits for you as a professional as well as your patients. Remaining up to date with the latest treatment modalities and best practices will support quality patient outcomes. For you as an expert clinician, developing professionally means a greater sense of accomplishment and expertise as well as the ability to satisfy the requirements of your professional license. 

Getting your hands on quality continuing education is made simple by Premiere Education. Our expertly-designed Unlimited Nursing CEU Subscription includes more than 100 continuing education hours with online courses that meet state and licensing board requirements. Topics range from human trafficking and implicit bias in healthcare to the often required HIPPA training. The quality education conveniently at your fingertips with Premiere Education has great value for healthcare professionals and the patients they serve.  

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