by Susan Sanders, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, Chief Learning & Innovation Officer, CGFNS International
The Importance of Professional Development for Nurses
The third week of Nurses’ Month is all about Professional Development. As a nurse for many decades, I know that it is important to keep up with the changes—not only in nursing—but in all of healthcare. Times have definitely changed since I began practicing as a new nurse. I’ve seen us move from glass IV bottles and long hospital stays to IV bags, computer charting, and same day surgery for what used to be a “major” procedure. To remain current and safe to practice, we as nurses must keep up-to-date with the changes in our profession. I’ve always said, “the more you know, the more valuable you are”. This is so true if you want to grow and flourish in your career. Additional degrees and certifications will help you advance your standing in the profession, but you should also be dedicated to developing yourself through learning new procedures, medications, self-improvement, and more. Studies have shown that a dedication to life-long learning positively affects the employee (nurse) as well as the professional, personal, and social development of the individual (Ionela, 2012 & Laszlo & Strettle, 1996).
Life-Long Learning Leads to Increased Job Satisfaction
As you progress in your career you may find it necessary and/or useful to seek higher educational degrees, and on many occasions, you will find a need to learn new information and skills. This will serve you well in multiple ways, as you may receive a promotion, be eligible for a position that pays more, and may improve your overall job satisfaction. Price and Reichert (2017) found that professional development affected nurses in all stages of their career. Competency and quality of care were facilitated throughout the nurses’ professional journey. The inclusion of professional development heralded a healthy work environment and portrayed an investment in the employee’s future by the healthcare organization. This commitment to nurses’ improved satisfaction and retention resulted in positive outcomes and quality care.
Ionela, AM (2012). The role of lifelong learning in the growth of employment and labour efficiency. The case of Romania. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences. 46:(0):4399-403. Doi: 10.1016/j.sbspro.2012.06.262.
Laszlo, H., Strettle, RJ. (1996). Midwives’ motivation for continuing education. Nurse Education Today. 1996; 16(5):363-7. doi:10.1016/S0260-6917(96)80010-4.
Price, S. (2017). The importance of continuing professional development to career satisfaction and patient care: Meeting the needs of novice to mid- to late-career nurses through their career span. Administrative Sciences. 7,17; doi:10.3390/admsci7020017.