Working as a nurse doesn’t necessarily mean that learning and education should come to an end. As with many careers in the medical profession, there are many opportunities to gain new knowledge and insights that will be beneficial throughout a person’s professional life. And just as nursing home insurance could potentially safeguard a nurse’s career, continuing education (CE) could help a medical professional ensure longevity and viability in their field.
Along with the career advantages that CE provides to the individual are its benefits to the employer. As staff nurses gain added credibility as safe and expert caregivers, they uplift the organization’s professional reputation. Whether they are employed in a hospital or nursing home, a nurse’s commitment to lifelong learning reflects favorably on their place of work.
What does CE entail?
Continuing education courses are a common requirement for certification and re-licensure processes. These programs are intended to expand the knowledge of nursing professionals and provide more opportunities for career advancement.
The best CE programs ensure nurses’ competency and enhance their professional commitment. These benefits are especially important considering the constant changes in the nursing profession and the equipment and technologies used in the industry. Courses typically cover clinical practice, nursing care policies, inter-professional education, and other topics relevant to the nursing profession.
How CE benefits employers
Providing staff nurses with opportunities for continuing education can benefit employers in many ways, including:
- Improvement in job satisfaction
- Reduced turnover rates
- Encouragement of staff loyalty
- Advancement of nursing standards and practices
- Improved risk management
- Increased patient safety and satisfaction
Managing the cost of continuing education
Despite the advantages of having their nurses gain further training and education, some employers are hesitant to pay the cost. But the benefits that CE provides to the employing organization make it an acceptable tradeoff.
Employers should consider that providing access to CE credits for free makes it more likely for nursing staff to remain with the organization. It could therefore be regarded as a cost-effective strategy for reducing staff turnover rates. This is an especially important factor considering that hiring and training a new nurse will likely run in the tens of thousands of dollars.
Employers could take advantage of group discounts offered by many educational institutions. Along with content licensing and added services, these perks make paying for CE for nursing staff a worthwhile investment.
How to choose a CE program
Nowadays, nurses have a wealth of options to choose from in CE programs. For example, RN.com offers 170 courses, all of which are accredited.
But nurses shouldn’t just settle for the first accredited course they can find. RN.com’s clinical content manager Nadine Salmon emphasizes the need to choose programs that are formatted in such a way that enhances the learning experience.
Salmon cites the online CE courses at RN.com, which are designed to be as interactive as possible. Features such as images, clickable links, test questions, and post-tests offer added value to the material provided on the site. Plans are currently underway to augment the existing programs with voiceovers to assist auditory learners.
As with the best CE programs, considerable care and effort have gone into developing the presentation of RN.com’s courses. But it is just as important for continuing education programs to conform to the nurse’s career goals and their learning preferences.
When choosing a CE course, nurses should consider the following factors:
- The delivery method is most suitable for them
- The feasibility of studying during work breaks
- Whether the classes are online or face-to-face
These are only some of the factors that will determine the feasibility of a particular program for the individual’s needs.
Of course, finding an accredited program is essential as well. State licensure boards and certifications bodies typically require nurses to have undergone programs that have passed the critical reviews and conform to the standards required of quality CE programs.
A list of accredited CE institutions is available on the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) website. The center is also the leading accrediting body in the United States.
Like all medical professionals, nurses are responsible for ensuring their ability to provide the highest level of care services possible. Signing up for continuing education courses is one of the best ways to do this, and it offers many other career benefits besides. And as you have learned from this article, having nurses continue their education can prove beneficial to employers.
About Caitlin Morgan
Caitlin Morgan specializes in insuring assisted living facilities and nursing homes and can assist you in providing insurance and risk management services for this niche market. Give us a call to learn more about our programs at (877) 226-1027.