I am thrilled to be hosting the Nurse Blog Carnival this month! For those of you who don’t know what that is, check this link out. But essentially, it’s an opportunity for a bunch of nurses on the internet to get together and talk about nursey stuff.
So lets talk.
You’ve gone through nursing school, you’ve taken your boards, and now you’re a nurse!
The learning has only begun. From here on out, it’s up to you to maintain your education and to stay current in your practice. There are several ways to do this.
The first thing you should keep in mind is that, depending on the state you live in, you might have a certain amount of continuing education required of you. RNDeer (aka David) was kind enough to compile a list of states and their education requirements. While I live in Idaho, one of the states that doesn’t require any education, the facility that I work for DOES. So keep in mind, this list is only explaining the state board of nursing requirements.
Joyce (International Nurse Support) talks about the difficult decision between a nurse getting an associates degree vs. a bachelors degree in her post. She breaks it down between new nurses and experienced nurses and lists the pros and cons. Ultimately, it’s a personal decision and once you figure out how you plan to use your degree, that will help make the decision of what level of education you need easier.
There’s another Joyce (joyceharrell.com) who suggests joining an association related to your chosen specialty as a way to continue education. They usually let their members know about upcoming conferences and programs with approved CEUs. They will sometimes have a journal or other publication that goes out to their members as well. (Personally, I’m a member of the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) and have loved the information I receive from them!)
There’s 3 things nurses need to know about continuing education and Brittney (The Nerdy Nurse) tells us what they are in her post through NursingJournal.org. First, she says that continuing education is not one size fits all- there are SO many ways it can be done and in so many different forms! Second, continuing education can improve a nurse’s lifestyle and further your career. Last, continuing education provides a way for nurses to stay up to date with best practices. All practical, all true.
I tend to agree with Lorie from Empowered Nurses. She talk about lifelong learning and how knowledge is power and it’s good to take advantage of every learning opportunity that comes your way. Not just in the nursing world though! Learning in all areas of your life will help make you a well-rounded person. Also, read Beth’s post from Confident Voices in Healthcare if you need something to get you excited and jazzed up about continuing education. I mean, we all have to do it, why not make it exciting?
Speaking of making it exciting, try reading Beth’s post from NurseCode.com. She goes through a list of 10 characteristics of a lifelong learner. If you’re anything like me, you’ll be going through this list thinking, “Yep, that describes me right there… and that, and that… and yep, all of that.” It’s nice to identify qualities that help you be excited about learning opportunities.
If you’re concerned about the return of investment for your continuing education, check out Jennifer’s post at RN Evolution. She makes some good points about CEU’s benefits at a personal level, an organizational level, and at a financial level.
There’s a post from Jamie at The Nursing Show that discusses research that has proven that online education is just as effective as traditional education. This is good news! Get a little wi-fi, some kind of electronic device, and you’ve got all you need to further your education.
I love Joan’s (thenurseteacher.com) take on continuing education because it’s the most similar to what I’m doing right now. She talks about specialty education you may learn on the job, seminars through work, and, her favorite (and mine too!), attending nursing conferences! Just Google the phrase “nursing conference” and you’ll be bombarded with a TON of different options of conferences you could go to. Or better yet, Google “nursing education cruise” and see what comes up. This is SO on my bucket list. To summarize, learning never ends in nursing.
Something I found interesting was Erica’s post about continuing education for nurse entrepreneurs. It talks about education options for nurses who have started their own businesses. At first I had a hard time figuring out exactly what an example of a “nurse entrepreneur” might be, but her posts about business ideas for experienced nurses and ideas for nurses with little to no experience helped me get an idea.
YogaNurse is a perfect example of a nurse entrepreneurs who has found a way to use her nursing license and create a business from something she’s passionate about. Annette encourages nurse entrepreneurs to create their OWN continuing education! She has some great insights about what it takes to work through your state board of nursing and get organizational credentialing for your continuing education activities. Until reading this post, I had never thought about this concept but I love it!
Marsha (aka The Bossy Nurse) talks about CEUs and how they can help a nurse in their business. The example she gives is going to a conference where she 1)learns a new skill, 2)makes new connections, 3)can nourish old connections, and 4) practice “your story.” Just throwing this out there, but if I were a nurse looking to start a business, I’d consider Marsha’s help. She looks like she knows what she’s doing.
Here’s another nurse entrepreneur for you. Elizabeth over at Nursing from Within makes the argument that advancing your nursing career doesn’t always have to include education in the traditional sense. She asks 3 questions: what do I desire, where am I now, and how can I reach my goal? The answer to these questions can help when it comes to making a continuing education decision.
Greg at Big Red Carpet Nursing says something similar. After sharing his incredible personal journey to where he his now, he challenges the reader to look all around because there are many paths to success and there are “lots of fish in the sea” when it comes to finding your way.
To top it off, Dr. Rachel Silva, NP at shares a post about what it’s like to be “terminally educated.” While that phrase initially sounds like some kind of torture technique, it’s really about taking your nursing education to the highest level it can go: to the doctoral level. If you LOVE learning and think you want to take it to that level, you should read her article! While you’re at it, read through her blog, there’s all sorts of interesting things in there.
There you have it! A compilation of all things “continuing education.” A huge THANK YOU to all of you who contributed to this conversation! I’ve learned so much by hosting this month! I do not apologize for the information overload. It’ll do you good.