healthcare industry

Why Continuing Education Is Essential in the Healthcare Industry

Staying up-to-date with new development is crucial in the medical field
October 14, 2020
16 mins read

n the healthcare industry, education never stops. For healthcare professionals to provide the highest level of care to their patients, they need to have updated knowledge of medical technology and science innovations. Healthcare has an extremely high growth rate globally as the industry strives to find more effective treatment options and develop more efficient processes. Additionally, more people than ever need healthcare services, so there is a massive demand for skilled professionals.

Obtaining a job in your chosen medical field doesn’t mean your educational path is over. If anything, it’s just beginning. Continuing education is an essential component of career growth and development in the healthcare industry. Registered nurses who do not continue their education will not be able to progress in their careers. By taking nurse practitioner programs, they open themselves up to a world of growing possibilities. Continuing education can include online advanced degree programs, conferences, workshops, job shadowing, seminars and more.

Continuing education is about more than just getting a promotion or a certificate. It allows healthcare professions to provide value to their patients and ensure they can help them to the best of their abilities. After all, that is why people get into this industry in the first place.

Accessibility of Continuing Education in Healthcare

Below, this article will explore why continuing education is so essential in the healthcare industry. Firstly, it’s important to touch on the accessibility of continuing education for healthcare providers. After all, once you’re already working in your chosen field, how are you expected to take time off to do programs or workshops? The answer is e-learning. No matter which career path you’ve selected in the healthcare industry, the job is demanding. Your hours can be erratic, and it’s an extremely busy environment to work in. Sending staff off-site for training or taking programs in-class at set times each day is often not feasible in this industry.

The great news is that e-learning provides healthcare professionals with a way to serve their patients while taking nurse practitioner programs, workshops or attending seminars online.

Staff can study whenever it suits them, from anywhere they have an internet connection. They can even study on their lunch break if they want to. E-learning allows professors and teachers to update content in real-time, meaning you always get the most current information on each topic. It also provides a valuable resource for students, since they can go back over modules, re-watch videos and re-read content whenever they need a refresher.

The accessibility of e-learning means that healthcare professions can continue their education without it impacting their careers. Here are some of the reasons why continuing education is essential in the healthcare industry.

1. Staff Retention

The healthcare industry is evolving and changing at a rapid rate. Those who took nurse practitioner programs 20 years ago do not possess the updated knowledge of those who have recently come out of nurse practitioner programs, although experience is always an asset. It’s imperative that all healthcare facilities employ staff who are entirely up to date with their training on new practices. It’s in hospitals’ and clinics’ best interests to keep the team they have and invest in upskilling. Staff already have experience in the industry and understand the job; they simply need some updated training on any new medications, equipment or technology.

Continuing education promotes staff retention and reduces the need to hire and train new staff whenever things change, which is often. Staff retention is vital for patient satisfaction since it gives patients the chance to form a relationship with their nurses and builds trust. The frequent turnover of staff is not great for patient morale.

Staff will also expect that healthcare institutions invest in their learning and growth. Healthcare professions know that continuing education is valuable and may seek alternative employers willing to cover all, or a portion of upskilling costs.

The knowledge and training that staff members need are increasing. Nurses who have taken nurse practitioner programs will provide more value than those who have not, so continuing education becomes imperative.

2. Provide Better Care to Patients

When patients visit a healthcare facility, they trust that they will receive the best care possible, not outdated medications or treatments. It’s a fantastic time for modern medicine and innovations are allowing professionals to provide more effective treatments to their patients, but only if they have training in them. If a patient has an ailment, it’s the nurse’s or doctor’s responsibility to offer them the most well-tested and accurate methods to treat and heal the condition. Continuing education, like nurse practitioner programs, enables professionals to do this.

The majority of people that pursue careers in the healthcare industry do so to help people. When there are more effective and beneficial options, using outdated practices will not give patients the optimal care they are entitled to. Thanks to continuous improvement in modern medicine, life expectancy continues to go up, and the death rate in normal times is going down. There is now a significant emphasis on prevention tactics since medical research is determining the root causes of medical problems. As society faces new illnesses and diseases, researchers are working to find the causes and treatments for them. Without continuing education and upskilling, medical professionals would not be aware of these advancements or have the tools to implement them.

3. Professional Growth

For those who want to excel in any career, continuing education is a strong driving force. Regardless of which industry you’re in, investing in continuing education shows you’re passionate about your work and want to be an expert in your chosen field. When it comes to healthcare, continuing education is the only way to progres. If you complete your BSN and obtain your status as a registered nurse, there is only so far that you can excel. On top of that, your only real option is to remain a nurse. However, if you pursue nurse practitioner programs and obtain your MSN, then you can go as far as to open your very own private practice. Additionally, if you get to a point in your career where you no longer want to work in a clinical setting, you can choose to work in education, research, telemedicine or as a legal consultant.

The healthcare industry needs experts who have a high level of knowledge and proficiency in specialist areas. The more you continue to learn, the more you will become an authority in your chosen area of expertise. Continuing education opens the door to success in your healthcare career. It gives you opportunities that you will not have access to if you don’t pursue nurse practitioner programs or extra courses and workshops. Healthcare facilities are much more likely to hire staff who have taken additional training or are keen to do so than hire those who are not interested.

4. Meet Patient Expectations

These days you can find just about anything on the internet. Often before coming to a clinic or healthcare facility, patients will already have done some research into their specific symptoms and have a list of potential ideas of what may be ailing them. Both the patient and their families will demand answers above and beyond what they can find online. When patients experience discomfort or have strange symptoms, they will immediately go down the rabbit hole on Google and assume the worst about their condition.

Just because patients find information online doesn’t mean that it’s accurate. Sources may not be reputable, and research could be inconclusive. Still, patients will expect you to be able to analyze their symptoms and give them a definitive answer to what’s going on with their bodies based on your analysis. The expectations are much higher than they would have been before everyone had access to so much information online. People would trust what the doctor had to say and not have a second thought. Now, healthcare providers need to have a higher level of knowledge about everything or risk losing their patients’ trust. Nurse practitioner programs and other continuing education will give healthcare providers up to date training on modern medicine, meaning they can confidently answer any questions their patients throw at them.

5. Less Medical Malpractice Cases

In the United States alone, there are over 17,000 medical malpractice lawsuits filed each year. Medical malpractice is when a patient experiences a negative outcome because of the negligence of a healthcare professional. Negligence could include an incorrect diagnosis, prescribing the wrong medication or treatment, or errors in health management. Regardless of the reason for the lawsuit, it can cost healthcare professionals thousands of dollars, and even worse, cost them their reputation. One medical malpractice lawsuit can tarnish both the healthcare provider and the facility’s reputation, making patients distrust their service.

One of the best ways that the healthcare industry can reduce the number of medical malpractice lawsuits filed is by ensuring all staff receives continuing education. All medical staff members should continually update their training throughout their careers, especially in their area of expertise. Whenever there are changes in medical technology, medications, standards of care and disease management, staff needs to be aware and trained. If a patient has a negative experience and it’s determined that the healthcare professional didn’t use the most up-to-date procedures and policies, there could be severe ramifications.

By pursuing nurse practitioner programs and other continuing education, healthcare providers will ensure they use the most modern processes to give their patients the most effective service.

6. Critical Thinking Skills

Critical thinking is arguably the most crucial skill you can have when working in the healthcare industry. You are faced with trauma every day and need to be able to think and act objectively in each situation. Emotions are high in healthcare facilities, from both the patients and their families. While it’s essential to be compassionate, you also need to logically tackle each situation and make a diagnosis without being hindered by the chaos and emotional aspects of a problem.

The same thing goes for consuming information. With access to so much information online, healthcare professionals must interpret media critically and identify when there might be misinformation or if the source is credible. Continuing education teaches critical thinking as you dissect medical studies. The more you learn, the more you have in your memory bank to draw on during emergencies. Instead of jumping to conclusions yourself, you can think critically about the situation and use your knowledge to determine the best solution quickly.

7. Makes the healthcare workforce more versatile

The healthcare industry needs more experts. There is a huge demand for healthcare professionals in just about every field and specialty. As the population increases, more people need access to healthcare. The population of those over 65 in the United States is expected to double by 2040 and hit 80 million. These are the people who generally experience the most health concerns. The industry needs highly skilled, expertly trained professionals to cope with these high demands. Someone with a BSN is excellent, but those who have taken nurse practitioner programs and continuing education will be extremely valuable.

The more training a staff member has, the more versatile they will be. Healthcare facilities can slot these staff members in as needed to handle any situations that arise. Beyond just healthcare facilities themselves, many other industries need educated professions on staff such as schools, cruise ships, legal consultancies, insurance firms, prisons, home care and much more. The more educated and versatile the healthcare workforce is, the better it is equipped to provide the necessary care to those who need it. Continuing education is also adaptable. As the needs and demands of the industry change, educational programs and workshops can be adjusted to address those demands.

Final Words

Continuing education in the healthcare industry is vital to both the success of its workforce and the industry. As patient demands increase, new technology is introduced, and more effective medical treatments become available, continuing education will allow professionals to provide the best care possible. It’s an exciting time for modern medicine, and educating healthcare staff is the best way to ensure the industry continues to develop and grow.

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