Obtaining a higher level of education is a frequently discussed topic in health care recently. Many friends, co-workers, and peers are all returning to school, but why? Here we examine the potential benefits to gaining a higher education and how it can directly affect patient care.
Nurses are awesome…but you probably already knew that. What many do not know is that these amazing health care providers can come with several different levels of preparedness when it comes to higher education, degrees, and specialty certifications. While all are required to pass a state board exam and maintain licensure status, nurses can hold degrees anywhere from a diploma or LVN/LPN (Licensed Vocational Nurse/Licensed Practical Nurse) to a PhD (Doctor of Nursing Philosophy) or ND (Doctor of Nursing) and can function in a variety of roles thereafter.
Providers at every level are equipped with the basic foundations necessary to provide quality care paired with extensive clinical knowledge. Because healthcare is a fast moving field with evidence based practice changes implemented daily, more is needed to provide up to date quality care. The technology, bedside routine, research and documentation are being updated and upgraded constantly. It can be difficult to keep up with the latest professional trends and policies in the healthcare industry. Ensuring you are following the most current practice can be vital to your patients and their healthcare journey. Returning to school for an updated education can help nurses stay current and obtain valuable resources to continue that pattern in the future. Knowledge is power!
Continuing education is mandatory for maintaining licensure…and for good reason. It holds nurses to a professional standard of staying current in their field. Higher education provides this and more. Rather than taking a short online course for continuing education credit on a topic specific to your current area of expertise, taking a college course can potentially expand your mind into areas of previous unfamiliarity. This may prove helpful for future patient interactions. The knowledge obtained may equip you to better serve a potentially complex patient under your care. Each class can expand your already immense knowledge of healthcare such as learning a cutting edge treatment modality, management style, or research method.
Healthcare professionals are learning more and more about how patient outcomes can be affected by a multitude of factors. For example, anything from nursing leadership presence and nursing satisfaction to the use of electronic medical records and work environment can play a role. With so many moving parts in a patient-centered atmosphere, it is important to be well- armed with as much beneficial information as possible to ensure those outcomes remain positive. Increasing your supply of knowledge and clinical resources can only help at the bedside.
Obtaining higher education can also increase personal satisfaction. Reaching your education goal feels good! And who doesn’t love a smart, happy, satisfied nurse? Utilizing your newly acquired knowledge and seeing the positive effects on patient satisfaction and outcome, also raises nursing satisfaction. Nurses who seek out advanced knowledge of clinically relevant information may be better able to advocate for a vast variety of patient needs. The more you know, the more you will be able to offer your patient in terms of advocacy and patient education. Patients are coming for care during a difficult time and may not even know the rights available to them. This is where the highly educated nurse comes in to bridge the gap between the patient and the system.
Seeking the best education can lead to providing the best possible care for your patients. Obtaining a higher degree can leave you feeling more empowered, prepared and accomplished. Staying current in a fast changing field such as healthcare remains a challenge for all but can be a bit easier when armed with the tools and resources higher education can provide. Are you interested in obtaining a higher level of education? If so, you owe it to yourself and your patients to explore more! The potential benefits are plentiful in a sea of opportunity.