NP's are struggling to keep up with continuing education, CE as we are constantly learning to improve our skills. Most CE is offered in large chunks at single or multi day live conferences. It's like being force fed an incredible amount of information. How much do you remember? How much do you apply to your practice? Are most of your CE programs clinical information? What about learning to improve communication, learning, empathy, compassion and avoiding burnout? Can learning new things outside your role, your job, your organization and even your profession make you a better, more fulfilled NP? Can this type of knowledge bring fresh perspective and help improve patient care?
Professionalism goes beyond nursing knowledge. It stretches to self improvement, self awareness, and improved listening and communication skills. It results in better leadership skills. To live life to the fullest, we must continually look for non traditional ways to improve. We should strive to learn about things that are outside of our comfort zone.
Yes, we all need continuing education. Try looking beyond the traditional CE offerings. Evaluate your strengths and weaknesses and plot your professional future. Many states and ANCC recertification, accept a variety of activities outside of formal accredited CE programs. Take a course in a subject you know little about. Consider taking a medical service trip. Share your experiences. Write a poster or an article about it. Give a talk about it at work or at state NP meeting.
1. You will be happier. Several studies have shown that the more ambitious goals that we set, the happier we are. And when we decide our own goals, our happiness is not reliant on others. We can take ownership over what we achieve. Personal development is a way to guarantee us serenity from within and helps to prevent burn out.
2. You’ll stay humble. You may have mastered much about your profession but don’t forget what it feels like to be a beginner at something. Every interaction you have is a chance to learn something. I enjoy watching Ted Talks because I learn so much from topics I didn’t think I had any interest in. Keep an open mind. No matter whom you meet, there is always something valuable to learn. You may just gain insight about novel approaches to meeting the challenges of our profession.
3. You’ll become a better coach/teacher/mentor. As NP's we coach and teach our patients, their families, our co-workers everyday. We mentor at work, at home, in our communities, formally and informally. Sharing our skills with others helps them and enriches us.
Take a look at the online offerings at Beacon Continuing Education and find a topic you might not have looked for before for CE.
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