Top 5 Benefits of Continuing Education for Travel Nurses

Career Advice, Job Seeker

By Dr. Lisa Urban, Southern New Hampshire University

Continuing education can enrich your life and your career. A cornerstone of professional nursing practice is career-long learning, and providing high-quality, evidence-based patient care requires nurses to commit to personal growth through education. Professional continuing education also helps health professionals stay informed about advances in research, changes in practice, and workplace trends. Additionally, many state boards of nursing require registered nurse licensure renewals and advanced practice certification renewals.

Working as a travel nurse doesn’t have to limit your education plans. Online learning offerings remove time and location barriers and provide flexible, asynchronous learning opportunities on your schedule. Online nursing courses, certificates, badges, and micro-credentials can provide learning opportunities to increase your technical skill level as well as further develop your soft skills.

Many colleges and universities as well as professional organizations provide a variety of short, self-paced continuing education courses and workshops, so you can seek out learning opportunities that fuel your passions and can help you advance in your career.

There are many personal and professional benefits of continuing education for travel nurses. Here are five reasons to embrace career-long learning and incorporate continuing education opportunities into your travel nurse lifestyle.

1. Career Flexibility and Career Advancement

Committing to career-long learning and education is transformative and can offer greater career mobility and advancement opportunities. You can invest in yourself and seek out learning activities that support the acquisition of nursing expertise and assertion of leadership.

Online nursing continuing education offerings are a convenient, flexible, cost-effective way to obtain the training and education you need to maintain professional competence and updated knowledge. Increasing your technical skills and specialty knowledge while also honing your soft skills can open doors to new types of job opportunities.

Hiring managers note that only 30% of job seekers have the right workplace soft skills their company needs. If you want to increase your chances of getting a specific job assignment, take the time to acquire the skills employers are looking for. Interpersonal soft skills are an integral part of a well-developed employee. Effective nurses possess creativity, as well as critical thinking, effective communication, and interprofessional collaboration skills. Developing these soft skills will help you work effectively with others and land the job assignment you desire.

2. Maintain Your Health

Self-care continuing education activities can help you regain and maintain your health. Learning about new cooking techniques and ingredient substitutions can help you improve food choices and manage calorie intake. Exploring health and fitness courses may inspire you to incorporate fun routine activities into your daily routines to help manage daily life stress and keep your body fit.

Learning new things also helps keep your brain active and healthy and can keep your social skills sharp and boost self-confidence. Research has shown that learning keeps brain cells working at optimum levels and may slow cognitive and memory decline as we age. The brain is a muscle and stays in shape through new challenges and learning opportunities. Daily mental faculties are best protected when they are used often, and continued learning can even slow the physical process of Alzheimer’s Disease.

3. Stay connected to the Nursing Profession

Don’t let changing job locations interfere with your ability to stay connected to the nursing profession. Participating in continuing education opportunities creates a sense of community and can keep you connected to other nurses and the nursing profession. Continuing education activities have the potential to stimulate dialog and offer opportunities to network and share potential solutions for current workplace challenges. Online learning provides a flexible platform to meet new people and discuss contemporary topics.

If you want to keep meeting other nurses and avoid becoming out of touch with the nursing profession, one of the best choices you can make is to commit to continued learning activities.

4. Personal Fulfillment

Many people participate in lifelong learning because they enjoy it. Research has shown that lifelong learning can increase our sense of self-fulfillment. When you take the time to learn new things, you open your mind and gain knowledge that can help you make the world a better place. Seek out educational experiences that fuel your passions. Continuing education offerings provide opportunities for you to explore areas of nursing that pique your interest.

5. Increase Life Skills

Besides the professional knowledge you acquire through continuing education, it’s important to enhance your life skills in areas such as budgeting, financial planning, and technology, as well as utilizing social media to make professional connections to enhance your career presence. Continuing education offerings on these and many other life skill subjects are readily available online and offer opportunities to improve the quality of your life.

Career-long learning is essential in nursing to remain current on trends, evidence-based practices, and the newest treatments. Upgrading your skills and knowledge through continuing education will help you keep pace with rapid changes in healthcare and keeps you highly marketable. By investing in your education, you set yourself up for personal and professional success.

Dr. Lisa Urban is the associate chief nursing administrator at Southern New Hampshire University and has worked in higher education and as a clinician for more than 30 years. She is a subject matter expert about all aspects of the nursing profession and nursing education.

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