Nursing is a progressive career. Experts carry out new research every day, leading to improved patient care treatment plans. Nurses with obsolete knowledge may find it hard to compete in such a fast-changing environment. Therefore, employers encourage their employees to enroll in new training and participate in continuing education programs. Some nurses are ambitious enough to do it because of an innate drive that keeps them motivated. Either way, nursing is one of those careers where a single degree program is not enough for your whole career. You will most likely return to school to get a new degree or enroll in a training program. It could be after some years of practice or through a work-study program.
Nursing schools are introducing more holistic and targeted programs to prepare for various hospital roles. Some nurses also specialize in the area of their choice, though it requires them to enroll in advanced degree courses. These advanced degrees lace them with the most current industry knowledge and prepare them for more intricate jobs at the workplace. In some states, it is mandatory for nurses to enroll in continuing education programs either periodically or yearly.
Types of higher education programs
Nurses have various choices when it comes to enrolling in a higher education program. You can enroll in an RN to BSN degree if you are an RN. If not, you might need to become an RN first to enroll in such a program. Once you have your BSN degree, you can either register in an MSN program or opt for a BSN to DNP program that bypasses the need for an MSN degree. This fast-track degree is quicker and more streamlined than traditional programs. Meanwhile, you can apply for many certifications to make your resume more attractive and better position yourself in the job market.
Regardless of the path you choose, in the end, it has many benefits for you and your career. Some of the notable reasons for continuing your education include:
Staying current with the new trends
Nurses must stay updated with the new trends in medical science in the face of changing healthcare. They need to know the impact of these breakthroughs in medical science and disease prevention, and medical processes. You cannot treat patients the way you have been doing in the past. You need to incorporate more evidence-based practices into your job. Nurses can learn about these discoveries through degree programs or by participating in webinars and conferences. As new research is happening every day, nurses must keep an eye on areas such as patient safety, leadership development, organizational excellence, to name a few.
Developing new skills
Nurses require both soft and clinical skills to excel in their job. Soft skills are also identified as employability skills, meaning they can enhance employment prospects for nurses. Soft skills include communication skills, problem-solving ability, critical thinking, teamwork and team management, organizational skills, and leadership skills. In the current times, nurses are also encouraged to develop their networks, build attitude and confidence about their abilities, and focus on conflict resolution.
These skills are increasingly garnering the attention of employers, and they are keener about finding these skills in prospective nurses. Continuing education is one of the effective ways to hone these skills.
Apart from softs skills, nurses must hone their clinical skills too. It could include learning to use the technology for doing the same tasks done manually in the past. Clinical skills include point of care training, blood transfusion, early patient assessment, bowel care, and likes.
Reorienting their career
One of the benefits of nursing is that you can change the domain of your career whenever you want, provided that you have the right qualification, training, and certification. Suppose you are a cardiac nurse wanting to expand your career in dermatology. You can do so by getting the right certification from the concerned authority. Higher education is your chance to explore new areas of interest in nursing and excel in more than one field.
Nursing is a very rewarding career, but it is not unheard of for nurses to lose interest in their job. After all, it is a pretty grueling job, so one must not be surprised to find nurses in this predicament. Often it is related to burnout resulting from overworking, long work hours, and physical and mental stress, taking a toll on their satisfaction. You often lose motivation to put in more effort. Burnout causes you to doubt your abilities and instill a sense of hopelessness and dejection. All of this can be detrimental to your career. Continuing education is often an anecdote for such issues. You can rekindle your interest in your work by getting new skills and learning and reinforcing what you know already.
Nursing is demanding both mentally and physically, but you must not forget that it is also rewarding. You get work in meaningful roles and receive a handsome amount in your pocket. The career can become even more exciting with continuing education that imparts new knowledge and skills and keeps you updated with the recent developments in medical science. So, it is better to update your skills than to work with obsolete knowledge.