In any profession, ongoing education is important, but in healthcare, continuing education for nurses is vital. Evidence-based practices and the role of nursing continue to change at an accelerated rate.
Technology and treatment advances are allowing nurses to provide care that was unheard of just two decades ago. Pursuing continuing education helps nurses stay on top of the advances and requirements of their profession.
Continuing education for nurses can take many forms. Within healthcare organizations, nurse educators provide learning opportunities and evaluate competencies. This familiarity with policies and procedures enables nurses to operate within a good framework for the day-to-day practice of nursing.
But relying on basic education isn’t enough. Today’s healthcare environment requires nurses to be competent and knowledgeable across a broad spectrum of care. Nurses increasingly play a role in providing detailed education to patients with chronic conditions and working to plan smooth transitions to the next level of care.
Building an Educated Workforce
Many healthcare providers now offer tuition reimbursement and even specialized programs for nurses entering an online RN to BSN program. This is because employers are recognizing the value of BSN-prepared nurses in their workforce.
An Institute of Medicine (IOM) report released in 2010 called “The Future of Nursing: Leading Change and Advancing Health” recommends that the proportion of nurses who hold baccalaureate degrees increase to 80 percent by 2020. The nursing profession has heeded the call. In 2014, an American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) survey shows enrollment in RN to BSN programs increased 10.4 percent, marking 12 years of growth in these programs.
Building a strong pipeline of BSN-prepared nurses is important because it moves many of them closer to pursing even higher degrees, such as a master’s or doctorate. Typically, the highest ranks of executive leadership require advanced degrees, and as nurses pursue those degrees, their experience enables them to bring a unique perspective to “classroom” discussions.
Continuing Education Matters
Higher degrees are attainable for all nurses. Research, presentation and critical thinking skills learned in through coursework translate well to the healthcare setting. As nurses take a full partnership role alongside their physician colleagues, continuing education for nurses becomes even more important.
Many students are choosing online programs because of the flexibility that allows them to work and meet family obligations while earning the degree. By moving their studies to online programs, nurses can more easily manage the various demands on their time.
By entering an online RN to BSN program, nurses benefit from continuing education while still advancing their careers and gaining valuable years at the bedside.
Learn more about the LSUA online RN to BSN program.
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