Why is continuing education important for nurses? - Nightingale College (2023)

When it comes to nursing, education doesn't stop when you take your final exam or complete the challenging final clinical rotation. Scrubs may have replaced textbooks, but as long as you're an RN, regardless of yourlevel of careor years of experience, there will always be a way to improve. You may not be in school, but as a nurse you never have enough to study.

One of the pillars of the nursing profession is, therefore, lifelong learning. And Continuing Education (CE) – a crucial part of it – is an important building block that strengthens the foundation of your nursing skills, knowledge and experience.

In this article, we are going to look at the concept of continuing nursing. What exactly does it mean, who benefits and why is it important? Read on to find out.

What is nursing education?

Continuing education refers to the need to regularly update knowledge in order to constantly improve and stay up to date. There are three main acronyms that you will often come across in continuing education discussions: CE, CNE, and CEUS.

CEit is continuing education. Some form of this is required by most professions that require a license.

CNEstands for Continuing Education in Nursing and is specifically assigned to the nursing sector.


CEUsis short for Continuing Education Units (or Continuing Education Credits) and reflects time invested in educational courses or other approved activities, such as conferences or seminars. One CEU equals 10 hours of instruction.

In most states, it is mandatory for RNs to engage in some form of continuing education on a regular basis - annually, biennially or triennially. If the state you're practicing in doesn't require it, that doesn't mean you're automatically out of the woods. Proof of continuing competence may be required by your employer, particularly in the case of Magnet hospitals, or it may be a condition of practicing certain nursing specialties. Whether it's the state, your employer, or your own ambitions that drive you to pursue your education, you want to keep your education current and earn the credits you need.

Before dismissing it as an arduous and unnecessary task, it's worth taking a moment to look at the reality.Importance of continuing education for the nursing team.

Why is continuing education important for nurses? - Nightingale College (1)

Why is continuing education important in nursing?

All links in the health chain benefit from nursing education, from nurses themselves to employers and patients. CKD impacts competence and improves the professional development of nurses. All of this leads to higher quality of care, which is the backbone of our medical system. In the section below, we will explore the benefits of lifelong nursing learning.

Reasons for Continuing Education to Become a Registered Nurse

  • Can be onerequirement in your state.

If you complete a certain number of hours of continuing education annually, you can keep your nursing license.

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  • It couldcontribute to salary increase.

It is not uncommon for employers to assess a nurse's education during assessments. While a certain number of hours of continuing education may be a hiring requirement, exceeding that number and going above and beyond demonstrates your dedication and commitment to the job and could end up being the deciding factor when asking for a raise or promotion.

  • to keep up to datein their nursing practice.

In the ever-changing, improving and evolving field of care, it is an essential attribute of a caregiver to keep up with new developments and continually improve their knowledge and skills. The more knowledge you have, the better you will be as a caregiver and the more helpful your patients will be. As you continue to educate yourself, you grow and improve as a nurse, and everyone benefits - you as a professional, the institution that hired you, the patients you serve, their families and the healthcare system as a whole.

  • To developnew skills

Procedures are changing, new medications are coming into play, and there are new ways to safely administer them. A Registered Nurse who does not have the latest skills may not be able to provide the highest quality of care to their patients.

  • Obig varietyof continuing education courses.

If being bored with the same basic care stuff was one of your concerns about the value of CE, worry no more. There are many courses to choose from and you have the freedom to choose the ones you have a genuine interest in. Would you like to advance your education in nursing leadership, communication or patient safety? Are you more interested in acquiring clinical knowledge in specialties such as cardiology, neonatology, medical surgery or pediatrics? Would you like to review and improve your knowledge of body systems such as the respiratory, digestive, nervous or cardiovascular systems? For each of them there are further training modules that you can take. There are so many options at your fingertips. You can do it not just for the credits, but for the joy of learning.

  • He canrenew interestin nursing practice.

As amazing and rewarding as a nursing career can be, it's not uncommon for nurses to struggle with declining job satisfaction and burnout. After all, it's not an easy job, and the physical and emotional demands of a career can affect a nurse's satisfaction with her practice. Acquiring new knowledge and strengthening the skills you already have is a great way for a nurse to rediscover a love for the profession. Because what could be more invigorating than excelling at something?

  • to become somethingtrusted sourceto get information among your colleagues.

By now, it's probably pretty clear that earning continuing education credits is a fantastic way to learn more and improve your craft. And with great knowledge comes great recognition from your fellow caregivers. Staying current is a great way to gain a reputation as a trusted source in your workplace - a role model for other caregivers who are making their own way in this world. It is a huge responsibility to receive requests for advice and to be perceived as the first port of call for information about care. Not only will this be good for you as a professional, but it will also increase your standing in the workplace.


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What are the benefits of continuing nursing education from your employer's point of view?

Nursing education is invaluable for nurses, but it is also important for employers. This is how healthcare employers benefit from lifelong learning in nursing.

  • Strengthens loyalty and increases job satisfactionof the nursing team.

When employers encourage their RNs to continue their education and when they make a contribution by taking (at least part of) the financial burden off nurses' shoulders, their nurses' experienceEloyalty grows. People want to work in an environment where they feel supported and motivated to do better. Upskilling your employees is a great way to put your entire organization on the right path to success. Nurses generally arrive at work happier and more satisfied when they know they are arriving at an inspiring place to work.

  • HigherQuality of service and more prestigefor the medical establishment

In the world of healthcare, the reputation of a medical facility is only as high as the quality of care provided within the facility's walls. It's no surprise that better prepared and better educated nurses are directly linked to better patient outcomes, fewer medical errors and lower mortality rates. The more nurses engage in lifelong learning, the higher the quality of care they can provide. The institution also benefits from the extension.

  • Invest now tofinancial benefitslater

According to a 2020 report by nursing organization Nurse.com, more than 40% of nurses say their employers paid for or reimbursed their continuing education. As an employer, financially supporting your employees' learning can seem like a big investment, but it pays off. First, upgrading the skills of your current workforce is more affordable than it would cost to start from scratch. This will lower your turnover rates and, perhaps most importantly, you'll increase your employees' experience and knowledge. Better trained staff, higher quality of care, higher patient satisfaction, higher response rates. You reap as you sow.

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additional training requirements

While in most cases you can take continuing education courses in the areas of nursing that interest you, it is also not uncommon for states or medical institutions to require specific courses. Some of the most popular in this category are CE courses on domestic violence, disability in the workplace, preventing medical errors, or managing pain.

Typically, most states do not allow CPR recertification courses, PALs, and ACLs to count toward CE credits. This is because these recertification courses are more of an upgrade of your knowledge and not necessarily an improvement in your skills and knowledge. The aim of continuing education courses is to expand the professional know-how of a registered nurse specialist.

However, if you wish to advance your nursing degree, there is a high likelihood that you will receive CE credit for courses taken as part of the process of earning an advanced nursing degree. General education courses do not count towards CE points, but specific care courses do. This rule is intended to encourage RNs to pursue advanced nursing degrees.

Lifelong learning in nursing: are you ready to embark on this journey?

Even after you receive your nursing license, you still have a responsibility to continue learning, developing, and educating yourself. The nursing profession demands to be abreast of the latest practices, advances and research.

It is your skills and knowledge that can make the difference between life and death at a critical moment. When you commit to a nursing career, you must promise yourself that you will never stop learning. Learning to become a better carer is indeed a lifelong process and continuing education is an excellent foundation on which to build your caregiving career.

Never stop learning! Now it's time to continue nursing education.


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