Why Nurses Should Invest in Their Continuing Education
By Joan Fox Rose, MA, RN, contributor
Practical applications and professional development are at the core of continuing education classes for nurses.
“One of our goals is to provide continuing education for nurses today that they can put into practice tomorrow,” said Abigail Schneider, MSN, RN, clinical content manager for RN.com and the Center for the Advancement of Healthcare Professionals.
“Another key goal is to provide classes and courses that help nurses develop themselves professionally.”
Overall, there are a number of reasons that nurses should take the time to pursue continuing education courses.
ADVANCE your career with top travel nursing jobs across the U.S.
7 reasons to invest in continuing education for nurses
1. To maintain state nurse licensure
Almost all 50 states require that nurses complete continuing education classes to renew their nursing license. And these courses must be accredited.
“All our courses are accredited by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) and we update them every three years to ensure nurses remain current in their practice, as changes in nursing practice are fast and furious,” said Schneider.
2. To improve safety for nurses and patients
From hand hygiene practices and chemical safety to dealing with workplace violence and active shooter and mass casualty incidents, continuing education classes for nurses can address policies and procedures that help keep nurses and their patients safe.
3. To address changes in nursing practice and workplace issues
Continuing education classes are constantly evolving to meet changes in nursing practice.
“Let’s say 60 percent of nurses want a course on bullying and we didn’t have a course that met their needs. In this situation, we tailor the course to content they need. We strive to offer courses that nurses from all nursing specialties will find pertinent to their practice,” Schneider explained.
4. To practice specific skill sets in various nursing specialties
Specialty continuing education classes for nurses might cover things like fire safety in the OR, advocating for patients and families, and domestic violence and forensic evidence collection. These are often examples of state-specific required course content.
5. To address the specific needs of international nurses
Some continuing education courses for International nurses working may include medical English, communication skills, and such practices as taking physical assessments.
“We have classes on anatomy and physiology and how to perform physical assessments, as international nurses may have learned a different approach than what is expected from them in the United States,” said Schneider. “Continuing education classes for nurses can help this specific population of nurses understand how and why nursing practice is managed in the U.S.”
6. To meet the requirements of case managers and other roles
Case managers have a critical role in today’s healthcare arena, especially when it comes to helping patients with chronic conditions and comorbidities. And nurses who work as case managers are required to take 80 credits to maintain certification, Schneider explained.
“At the Center [for the Advancement of Healthcare Professionals], we have our courses preapproved and paid up front so that case managers can take these courses without the extra expense of having the material approved after they have taken the course. Currently 70 of our courses have been pre-approved by the CCMC [Commission for Case Management Certifications].”
7. To advance your nursing practice—at no cost
Free continuing education for nurses makes it easier than ever for travel nurses to complete their professional development. These online courses are often paid for by a nurse’s travel nursing agency.
The online availability makes it possible for travelers to attend webinars, read course materials and take their exams to earn CE credit hours during the hours that fit their schedule.
Nurses who work with TravelNursing.com’s staffing partners can take free, unlimited continuing education classes from RN.com. Their investment of time is often rewarded by even greater opportunities for travel assignments now, and better employment prospects in the future.
“Through our courses we encourage them to promote their nursing practice within the communities they serve, all across the country,” Schneider said.