Continuing Education (CE) is vital for the further development of a nursing career, but you shouldn’t choose just any courses to add to your credentials. Each CE program that you choose should enhance your knowledge, make you a more valuable employee and further you on your career path. Evaluating your nursing continuing education opportunities for each of the following criteria can help you choose just the right courses to keep you on the right career and professional path.
Is the Course Relevant to my Job?
Choose courses that enhance your ability to do your job. If your current position is in the school nursing environment, a continuing education course about the latest advances in ER technology isn’t likely to have much relevance to your job. On the other hand, some courses that seem to be irrelevant on the surface may have subtle connections that aren’t obvious at first glance. Is some of your school nursing time spent in a full-service on campus clinic? In that case, that emergency room CE course may just offer something of value.
Does it Enhance my Career Opportunities?
Even if you’re content in your position and have no plans to seek advancement, you should evaluate how a chosen continuing education course fits into your plans. The world of medicine changes every day, and so do expectations of nursing professionals. Keep your eye on advances in your chosen segment of the nursing field to be sure that the courses you choose keep you qualified for the jobs to which you aspire.
Is the Course Accredited?
If your main goal in taking nursing continuing education courses is to garner CE hours toward recertification or licensure, then accreditation is vital. Check to be sure that the courses you choose are accredited by The American Nurses Credentialing Center.
Is it Offered by Respected Professionals in the Field?
Do you recognize the names of the instructors, or of the institution offering the course you’re planning to take? Popularity isn’t always a measure of quality, but it is one way of checking the credentials of instructors and institutions. If you’re not familiar with either the instructors or the offering institutions, ask around. Nurses’ forums on the Internet are great places to find out about programs that you might be considering – and you’ll hear directly from professionals just like you whether or not the course material was helpful and suitable for your continuing education.
Is the Learning Style Accessible for You?
One often overlooked facet of evaluating a nursing course is personal learning style. No one knows better than you do whether you learn best with hands-on instruction, or can absorb more information if left to explore and gather it on your own. Choose classes that are conducted in your best learning style to get the most out of your continuing education hours.
Continuing education courses for nursing represent a substantial investment of your time and money. Take the time to evaluate each course that you plan to take to make sure that it meets all your expectations and needs.