Home Health The benefits of continuing education for nurses

The benefits of continuing education for nurses

by Ezra Luca

Nurses participate in professional development to further develop the skills required to provide patients with quality care. Registered nurses (RNs) have many opportunities to advance their careers and the opportunity to move into specialty or leadership roles. They can study for advanced degrees and certifications and choose from many career pathways. Learning enables nurses to improve their knowledge and skills and enhance evidence-based practice to ensure good health outcomes. Nurses can attend conferences, workshops, and seminars to stay updated with healthcare advancements. Continuing education provides nurses with numerous benefits, including personal fulfillment and increased job satisfaction.

Nurses who wish to move into a leadership position may want to consider an online DNP – Executive Nurse Leadership program through a reputable institution such as Baylor University. Coursework is 100% online and no campus visits are required, making it a good fit for nurses who work full-time. Students develop advanced business and leadership skills to transform healthcare systems. This executive nursing leadership program grants the highest-level nursing credentials, and graduates have many career opportunities within a rapidly expanding field.

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing has produced a DNP fact sheet that describes the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program and provides statistics related to the program. Information about healthcare organizations that backed the introduction of this program and continue to endorse it today is also provided.


National conferences offer opportunities for nurses to learn more about best practices. There are chances to meet other healthcare professionals, share experiences and acquire new perspectives.

Nursing technology is rapidly advancing, and there are conferences that allow nurses to learn about and interact with innovations.

Clinical conferences address advanced nursing practice and knowledge by focusing on research findings, evidence-based practice and clinical case studies. Research conferences allow researchers to present their findings and interact with other researchers, while specialty conferences are aimed at nurses in a specialized field, such as mental health, pediatrics and critical care. Nurses have the chance to discuss new developments within their specialization. Leadership conferences are designed to develop skills in nurses with administrative or management roles and may focus on strategic planning, communication and team building.


Workshops for clinical staff often run over half a day or one day. These workshops are an opportunity to focus on learning a particular skill away from the workplace. Examples of topics include X-ray interpretation, incision and drainage, and suturing. The workshops include theory and practice with an opportunity to practice safely. The workshops provide nurses with the required knowledge, and they will need to be signed off in their clinical area through observed practice before they can perform the skill independently. Nursing conferences may hold educational workshops to make the most of having a group of nurse leaders in attendance.


Seminars bring together small groups for meetings and focus on a particular subject with group discussion. They provide an opportunity to mix with other nurses and share experiences and points of view. Examples of seminar topics include pain management, diabetic microvascular complications and palliative care. Hearing other people discuss methods of practice as nurses can support improvements in practice. Seminars often include activities that encourage everyone’s participation. There will typically be experts in the field, and the chance to talk to them and find out more. Attending seminars is a way to show commitment to continuing education. Sometimes, nurses will be able to train on the use of new equipment or technology. Learning more about nursing can introduce new work opportunities and enhance a nursing career.


Advanced practice certifications, such as nurse practitioner, require additional education, typically a master’s or doctorate. Other certifications, such as critical care nursing or emergency room (ER) nursing, require evidence of practice hours but no further education. Some certifications are designed for master’s or advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) and some for registered nurses or certified nurse assistants. Other certifications relate to a specialization, such as oncology, pediatrics or surgery.

Certification renewal is required to ensure continuing education is being pursued and the eligibility requirements are still being met. Renewal can be achieved through volunteering, teaching or continuing education. Some certifications can be renewed by examination. Clinical practice hours are also required to demonstrate relevant and recent experience.

Doctor of nursing practice

The DNP is a terminal nursing degree that prepares nurse leaders for high-level nursing practice. DNP nurses can become educators and use their advanced knowledge to teach nurses in college. They can also be patient advocates and support patients through their healthcare experience, ensuring their needs are met and that they have the correct resources. The DNP can also prepare nurses for some of the roles offered by the MSN, including nurse anesthetist and family nurse practitioner.

The doctorate expands on the MSN curriculum to educate highly qualified and competent providers in a variety of areas. The DNP curriculum includes quality improvement, evidence-based practice, team management and systems leadership. This degree program provides opportunities for research, clinical decision-making and expanded responsibility. DNP-prepared nurses have systems thinking and advanced clinical skills, which prepare them to be responsible for individual and population health. They are sought after by employers and have many opportunities to work overseas.

Valuable role

Nurses commit to professional development to provide highly skilled and quality patient care. Healthcare is rapidly evolving, and nurses must keep up with current evidence-based practices and innovations. There are many ways that nurses can pursue continuing education, and these include taking advanced degrees and certifications and attending conferences, workshops and seminars. Nurses can become experts in their field and play a valuable role in the healthcare system. Nurses benefit from ongoing learning by becoming respected healthcare team members and having rewarding careers.

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