The term continuing education is used to advancing knowledge, skills, and education in any speciality. Merriam Webster’s dictionary (2017) explains continuing education as formal courses of study provided for adult part time students. In the field of medicine and healthcare there is a constant change or evolution in the practise and improvements that are made through advancements in technology and knowledge. Education and other means of communicating this information compliments and are vital to evidence-based care and overall positive patient outcomes. In the context of nurses, it will entail keeping up to date on the latest advances in care and treatment besides opting to pursue other nursing niches like wound care, pain management, geriatrics, and case management among others. Through continuing education courses for nurses’ individuals and the sector gain access to an educated and well-informed workforce that has the capability to offer the best health services to the population. Nursing is a lifelong learning process and therefore you never learn everything you need to know in nursing school. However, the most important thing that you learn is, if you don’t know something, or have never performed a procedure, you must ask for assistance.
For most countries there is a concerted effort towards adopting policies that offers a sound environment for nurses to be able to pursue further training, a good example is in China the government has mandated their nurses to participate in continuing education due to the profound effect it contributes on health care delivery service.
Nursing staff who do not get the privilege of continuing their education may encounter mounting challenges that are related to a decline in knowledge, skills, professional dissatisfaction, low morale, disillusion, lack of commitment and reduced interest in their line of work, which is a dangerous trend if at all it is condoned.
Continuing education also provides knowledge and skills will keep an individual productive in his or her field. This may include courses like advanced degree programs in which an individual may enroll after finishing formal education and joining industry or better still advanced diploma programs for those with certificates. There are several of concepts within nursing theory, practice and research which have been developed using ideas employed from other disciplines. We may be compelled to borrow the argument advanced by Landers, Mcwhorter, Krum and Glovinsky (2005), where they define continuing education in relation to persons practising physical therapist as a formal critical element of professional development that involves a practical way of staying abreast with current changes in health care environment. consequently, the concept of continuing education will offer the practitioners with opportunities in emerging science, through application of innovations in clinical settings and expanding care for patients.
When individual further their education through continuing education parameters it will prevent the deterioration of their skills and knowledge over time which is a scenario that could arise out of issues to do with professional obsolescence, Landers et al. Therefore, to ensure individuals are keeping abreast with emerging issues and development in the theory and practise industry continuing education is paramount in bridging this gap necessitated by changes in the industry.
It is important to note that for nurses continuing learning constituted a planned learning experience that was aimed in enhancing knowledge, skills, and a change in the individual attitude that aids in development and improvement in patients care, education, administration, and research by the individual.
It would be safe to conclude that the prospects and benefits of continuing education for nurses outweighs the cons and thus more emphasis should be placed in identifying and promoting regions that do not support such programmes, into embracing models that will serve them better and improve the overall health standards of their populace.