Let’s Make Continuing Education Exciting!

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BB closer Headshot 1-13 CherationsWhy not make continuing education exciting?

As nurses we signed up for being life-long learners, right?   Remember in nursing school when it was so exciting to practice a new procedure on a real person or  get a chance to check out the latest technology?  I still remember getting checked-off on giving my first injection! I was nervous yet it was a thrilling accomplishment!

Jazz yourself up!  You worked hard to become a Nurse and you are a professional.   This is a huge accomplishment! And with it comes a professional obligation to continue learning. It is just as much an honor as it is an ongoing commitment. Isn’t it?  Try preparing for your next online course or inservice at work with a  few minutes of affirming self-talk, deep-breathing, or journaling where you connect with your highest self and purpose.  You are a nurse, you are a life-long learner!  I am a nurse.  I am a life-long learner!

Be assertive!  Figure out what you’d like to learn more about and go after it.  They’ll always be mandatory stuff, but it doesn’t have to end there, does it?  Is there a course that will help you learn more about your current patient population?  What dreams for specializing do you have?  What new med is being ordered that I should know more about?  Do some research, talk with your supervisor,  and make it known what you’re interested in and see if your organization can help sponsor a speaker or an online course.  Budgets are tight, but don’t let that stop you.  Even if the answer is known you’ll be letting others know what you are interested in.  This may have all sorts of rippling effects that you won’t know about.  You are surrounded by a goldmine of expertise and you’ll never know what opportunities will arise from networking and putting yourself ‘out there’.

Art of Nursing 2.0

Self-organize with your peers!  Wherever you work there is probably some meeting or teaching space that you could use if you asked.  You may have some similar and different interests from your colleagues.  Why not set aside some time and take turns reviewing an article or inviting local guest speakers to share their expertise, get copies of an interesting article or book and meet together as a group to discuss it, involve the education department if there is one or other leaders.  This spring, our colleague, Elizabeth Scala is hosting  “Art of Nursing 2.0” and you can save money by getting a group together during nurses’s week.  I was on the faculty last year and blogged a lot about the first one and we always thought it would be super if bedside nurses were thinking big and making it happen!

blog carnivalCheck out what Nurse Bloggers are saying about Continuing Education!

This post was written as part of the Nurse Blog Carnival.

More posts on this topic can be found at The Days When I’m Not A Nurse. Find out how to participate.



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23 Responses to Let’s Make Continuing Education Exciting!

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  3. Hi Beth, Great post. I love how you encourage nurses to take programs that they love.

  4. Jennifer Olin says:

    I changed careers and went back to school to become a nurse. It completely reinvigorated my brain. I often take CEU offerings that have nothing to do with the OR just so I am a bit more knowledgeable about the other avenues of my patient’s disease process. It makes me a stronger caregiver if I can see outside the double doors.

  5. Elizabeth Scala says:

    You know what I love- making it exciting will certainly make it more FUN! Great share, Beth. Thank you for another useful post.

  6. Joan says:

    Thank you for putting a positive spin on continuing education – it certainly is not a “bad word”! It is the one thing no one can take from us and combined with passion – we are unstoppable! Thanks for the great post!

  7. Beth, your article emphasizes the role of having a “tribe” of like-minded colleagues. It’s much more enticing to share in educational activities with colleagues who inspire and motivate us towards greatness.

  8. RNDeer says:

    Some very poignant thoughts in here! Like most endeavors, passion is the difference between being average and being great!

  9. Gregmercer601 says:

    Beth, we often think of continuing education in terms of facts, goals, all mind, no heart. It’s nice to see a call for enthusiasm! It makes a huge difference in all endeavors – Greg

  10. Marsha Ann says:

    Hi Beth. I like the focus you put on doing the inner work first before taking part in opportunities for learning. Self-organizing is also a great idea, especially if there’s a learning opportunity that you’re interested in that you can’t find available. Thanks for this post!

  11. Beth,

    You’ve got the right approach here. When it’s mandatory it sucks all the fun right out of it. Finding learning experiences that you can enjoy will definitely make the continuing education a much less bitter pill to swallow.

    • Beth Boynton, RN, MS says:

      Right, mandatory stuff has its place, but when there is no room for choice it becomes just another way to stifle nurses’ voices!!!

  12. Beth. We surely can make continuing education exciting. I like the point about “organize your peers.” Sometimes I make suggestions to the instructor to make the long lectures bearable by providing snacks, and perhaps having small discussion groups. We truly are life-long learners.

    • Beth Boynton, RN, MS says:

      Great suggestion, Joyce!! Good food and rich discussions would add a lot to a long lecture in mind. Keep asking….it is a new frontier!!! Thanks for your feedback.

  13. Erica says:

    Great point Beth- about continuing education does not have to be “mandatory”. Mention continuing ed. and many nurses cringe. However, if nurses can get over this negative association, growth can happen professionally and personally.

    • Beth Boynton, RN, MS says:

      Thanks, Erica. I agree that getting over the negative association can lead to great growth. I too have cringed with some mandatory education. Sometimes it seems that the quality is fair to poor and having to sit through when I feel like I have a million things to do is just plain frustrating. But, I am a life-long learner!

  14. Guest says:

    If you want it you DO have to be Assertive as you say. Continuing education can be exciting. Thanks for adding some JAZZ to the discussion Beth!


  15. Donna Carol Maheady says:

    Spot on! I encourage nurses with disabilities via http://www.ExceptionalNurse.com to paint their paradise of career alternatives and use continuing education to learn more about it! Nice job Beth!

    • Beth_Boynton_RN_MS says:

      Thanks, Donna! Your book and website is a wonderful resource for nurses with disabilities and organizational leaders. Your role models are humans and nurses that show us how to bring ‘health’ and ‘care’ together!

  16. beth hawkes says:

    Such good suggestions on managing our continuing education! It especially got me thinking about collaborating with other nurses, a win-win! Thanks for the positive spin!

    • Beth_Boynton_RN_MS says:

      Thanks, Beth! As a nurse educator you are in a wonderful position to co-create with other nurses! I would love to hear about successes and challenges…great blogging material for CV or your own blog at http://www.nursecode.com!

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