Published on November 16, 2023

5 Ways Nurses can Continue their Education While Working

Nursing is one of the most prestigious jobs within the healthcare sector. Nurses are often called the backbone of the medical industry, and numerous healthcare workers rely on their expertise. Therefore, given how important your role is as a nurse, you need to stay on your toes and continue advancing your skills to be an asset to the community. The best way you can polish your skills and knowledge further is by continuing your education. Experience and learning go together hand in hand. It would help if you had the clinical exposure and theoretical concepts to make an impact. But when you have a full-time job, how can you go back to school? Luckily, we answer that question for you. Here are some ways you can continue studying without abandoning your job:

Choose an Accelerated Program

There are numerous ways you can become a nurse. If you are a registered nurse (RN) but want to get your Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree (BSN) without going back to school full-time, you can opt for an accelerated program. Traditionally, to become a nurse, you need to complete a four-year degree to be eligible for your licensing exams. This can be difficult to manage while trying to make ends meet.

If you need a solution to your current predicament, you can go for a hybrid accelerated Bachelor of Science program that allows you to get your degree in one year. This program condenses the curriculum and gives you all the practical skills, knowledge, and clinical expertise you need without the added burden of investing four years of your life. While it may seem like you’re skipping steps, becoming a nurse in 12 months is the best option for enthusiastic nurses who cannot wait to climb up the ranks or those who simply do not have the time to complete a four-year degree. The degree is highly self-paced and entirely online, except for two workshops. So, you can comfortably navigate through this 57-credit curriculum and get your license in no time. 

Attend Conferences 

Attending conferences or signing up for workshops can help you stay on top of industry trends and innovations that will influence your career. Conferences are great for gaining valuable experience and traction within your job. These avenues give you an insight into the latest developments within the healthcare sector, showcase the strides made in research, and what new practices are entering the medical industry. These conferences can also do more for your career. 

Specific panels offer continuing education credits that allow you to develop professionally and become more suited for your role.

Furthermore, you also get to network and collaborate with other healthcare workers, which can give your nursing profile the boost it needs. Mingling with like-minded professionals makes it easier for you to exchange ideas, make connections, and learn more about your career. Likewise, you may also meet a mentor and dive into potential research opportunities that can do wonders for your job. 

Seek Employer Support

You need to start turning to your employer for support, especially if you want to continue your education. Don’t try to tackle every challenge on your own; instead, let your employer know you need help managing your professional commitments without compromising your education. The hospital administration recognizes the importance of continued learning and growth of their employees. Depending on where you work, there is a high chance that your healthcare organization may already have a support program in place. These include providing financial assistance, tuition reimbursement, or connecting you to resources that facilitate your pursuit of education. 

Most healthcare institutes recognize that by investing in their nursing staff, they can harness a more capable team. However, if you don’t know how to approach your healthcare administrator, talk to your nurse manager first and highlight your competency to build a strong case for yourself. While employers are here to support you, nursing is a competitive field, and to make sure you reap the rewards, you will need to give yourself a push to stand out. 

Go for In-house Training Programs

Some healthcare institutes have in-house training programs to help nurses flourish further in their careers. You should find out if your healthcare institute has such programs and sign up for them. These training programs often collaborate with educational bodies so that they can design coursework that allows you to gain helpful knowledge without getting in the way of your work. In-house training programs are highly specific. They are curated according to the needs of the institution so that the training you get is relevant to your job and addresses the challenges of your workplace. For instance, you may register for a program that helps you become a nurse manager.

In-house programs are incredibly flexible, and if you’re able to complete your program, you can end up with a certificate or an advanced degree that can make your resume stand out. Hence, look into these programs to become a more seasoned nurse without letting go of your clinical duties. 

Utilize Your Downtime

As a nurse, you must become more proactive about effectively using your downtime. While it is understandable that you may need a break, it’s best to use your free time to continue learning. The healthcare sector is exceptionally demanding, so if you get some time, invest it in educational pursuits. You can read articles, participate in online forums, or listen to nursing podcasts. You don’t need a classroom to continue learning. You can also seek advice from senior nurses at work and allow them to guide you about your next steps. You can also find many online certificates and short courses that you can join. These will further enhance your professional standing and update you with the latest healthcare trends. Self-improvement is also a vital part of becoming a proficient nurse. Hence, study, revisit what you know, read more, and continuously challenge yourself to learn more for your career. 

Final Thoughts

Nursing is a challenging yet rewarding field. The healthcare sector is rapidly evolving; new technology, research, and practices are entering the picture, and as a nurse, you need to know all of them. This is why if you’re looking for ways to continue your education, take advantage of the resources the 21st century offers. These include online classes, seminars, hybrid programs, and in-house training workshops. Engage with your community and discover what’s in store for you, allowing yourself to tap into your maximum potential.

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