Advance Your Nursing Career with Continuing Education

Keith Carlson, RN, BSN, NC-BC - 03/25/19

If you’re a nurse, taking part in continuing education is likely something you consistently do in order to keep your nursing license up to date and legally practice as a professional healthcare provider.

In terms of actually advancing your career and not just maintaining the status quo, a certain approach to CEs may be prudent and helpful. Moving forward professionally isn’t just about getting those continuing education courses done – it’s actually about leveraging the CE experience in order to develop yourself as a nurse by increasing some combination of your skills and/or expert knowledge.

Along the way, your efforts to accrue continuing education credits could just involve registering for the cheapest and quickest courses available; however, you can also use your CE experiences to learn about other areas of nursing, different patient populations, or novel clinical or non-clinical ideas that will get you thinking in new ways or seeking new opportunities.

Continuing Education: A Door to the Future 

Conferences, seminars, webinars, and online courses all offer continuing education credit for nurses. From a quick web-based tutorial to a five-day intensive conference, the opportunities for learning are virtually limitless.

Continuing education can act as a door to the future if you choose courses based on, but not limited to, some of the following criteria:

  • Does it offer the chance to learn new marketable skills and/or knowledge?
  • Will it satisfy my curiosity about a particular type of nursing?
  • Can it show me a professional horizon I’ve never thought of before?
  • Does it have the potential to spark my interest in something novel?
  • Could it be an inspiring experience?
  • Could it demonstrate to me that there’s life beyond my current position or specialty?

These criteria are a few examples of questions you can ask yourself before choosing to spend your time, money, and resources on continuing education opportunities.

You may have the educational level or experience to pursue a certain type of position, but you may want to learn more before jumping into a specific job search process or working harder on your career development without knowing in which direction you truly want to go.

  • Do you want to understand more about forensic nursing? An educational offering may tell you much of what you need to know.
  • Would you have potential interest in being a transplant coordinator? A course, conference, or webinar could be the ticket to knowing more.
  • Does the next position you’re thinking about pursuing require knowledge of pediatric cancer treatment? Continuing education could move the needle for you and give you a taste of that very specific world.
  • Would certain continuing ed offerings increase your potential for a promotion, a committee assignment, or another opportunity?
  • Will a conference put you in touch with colleagues you would benefit from networking with?

Choose Wisely, Prosper, and Grow

As mentioned above, continuing education for nurses comes in many forms. A weeklong conference on a cruise ship could be life-changing in more ways than one, and a one-hour webinar might be just what you need to pique your curiosity about a new career path.

Choose educational opportunities not just for convenience or price, but also for the experiences and knowledge they can provide, the people you may meet, and the career growth they could engender. If you need to learn no matter what, make those hours count towards expanding your horizons and moving the needle of your nursing career.