Continuing Education in Nursing
With two and a half million men and women working as nurses in the United States, nursing is the largest occupation in the health care industry. It is also one of the most dynamic, as new technologies, new medicines, and new approaches treatment are continually developed and introduced into the nation’s hospitals, clinics, and other medical facilities. Maintaining nursing competency and keeping up with the latest medical advances is an ongoing challenge for every health care worker and for nurses in particular. In their efforts to keep pace with these changes, nurses turn to various forms of continuing education.
Most nursing jobs require some level of continuing education, but even where such courses are not required nurses often take it upon themselves to upgrade their skill sets. There are many reasons to do so, ranging from the opportunity for increased salaries and promotional opportunities to becoming familiar with the newest technologies and techniques. Obtaining various graduate degrees or becoming certified in specific areas of nursing often open up new avenues of advancement for nurses. Many nurses use continuing education as a means to acquire specialized skill sets that allow them to move into highly focused areas of nursing such as cardiac care or gerontology.
For nurses in any area of general or specialized care, providing patients with the best treatment available necessitates the pursuit of continuing education. Many of the most specialized fields of nursing and medical care are in areas of emerging medical science, and the techniques used to treat patients are subject to continual modification. Nursing practitioners are often at the front line of treatment and thus need to be aware of the best practices used for treating any given condition.
Continuing educational opportunities are available in a number of ways. Through coursework taken at a local community college or seminars, nurses are able to focus on getting the updated skill sets they need. Often times, however, the scheduling demands of nursing leave nurses with little free time during the house in which these courses are conducted. Fortunately, the internet offers an alternative means for continuing a nursing education. Online courses can take anywhere from several hours to several months to complete, and can range in complexity from simple updates of standard nursing techniques to more complicated and in-depth information on specialized fields of medical care.
The requirements for ongoing education for nursing professionals vary from state to state, with many programs mandated by state boards charged with overseeing the nursing profession. Most states have very specific requirements regarding how much continuing education is needed each year, and define these requirements in terms of contact hours consisting of fifty continuous minutes of a course. To be certain that the educational course you choose is an accredited one, consult with the Credentialing Center.
The nursing industry has always taken great pride in its professional approach to patient treatment, and it is no surprise that it considers the continuing education of nurses a high priority. Maintaining the highest levels of nursing competence enables those who work in this industry to continue their essential role in providing the most advanced health treatment and patient care in the world.