One need only to scan a newspaper or read a weekly magazine to be astounded by the number of stories about new medical breakthroughs, disease processes, emerging threats of disease, or innovations in medical and health care technology. The World Health Organization warns us to prepare for a potential worldwide Bird Flu epidemic, terrorists threaten us with chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, and new protocols for ACLS are released. How is a working nurse to keep up?
Nursing education provides the basic building blocks of medical, scientific, and nursing knowledge, but competence in the nursing profession requires an ongoing process of continuing education. Continuing education for nurses is necessary for the nurse to remain up to date with the latest practice issues and it is necessary for patients safety as well. Some states have made continuing education for nurses mandatory and require a certain number of course credit hours be attained before license renewal, or require certain mandatory course subjects, while other states leave it to the nursing professional themselves to accept a personal responsibility for their own continued learning. Regardless of whether nursing continuing education courses are mandatory in ones state or not, all nurses who describe themselves as professionals need to be willing and ready to implement change in their own practice by realizing that competence in any profession requires periodic updating.