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Why we nurses have to stay on top of our game

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We’ve discussed the subject before: Is nursing a profession or a vocation? I believe one of my take home points for why nursing is a profession is the continuing education (CEU) requirement. As nurses, we are required to maintain a certain number of continuing education units (or hours).

I vaguely remember some comments debating why or why not CEUs are good. I believe there are nurses out there who still think CEUs are a waste of time.

Here’s why they are not.

We need to stay on top of our game–the “game” being the delivery of care (NO, I don’t consider my job a game. It’s just a figure of speech). If you haven’t noticed, the “game” has been changing drastically over the past decade. Heck, it’s drastically changed in the past 3-5 years!

We’re using machines and seeing medications that didn’t exist. We’re also treating patients for disorders and diseases that were less known and less seen, not to mention our patients are living much, much longer.

Case in point. If you’ve been around a cardiac patient or even a surgical patient recently, you’ve probably heard of a new anti-coagulation medication that was recently approved by the FDA for the treatment of chronic non-valvular heart disease Atrial Fibrillation. I won’t name the medication, but it’s a unique drug that elicits the same end result as previous anti-coagulation medications with a very different mechanism of action.

It’s this medication’s mechanism of action that changes our “game.” We as nurses need to understand this medication. How it works. Why it’s used. And what about it raises our eyebrows during overdose emergencies, surgical procedures (pre- and post-op) and when prescribing it upon discharge from the hospital.

If we don’t stay on top of our “game,” guess who suffers?

That’s right, our wonderful patients.

Who out there still thinks CEUs are a waste of time?

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One Response to Why we nurses have to stay on top of our game

  1. Nurse Rene RN

    Quite right, Sean. CEUs, even ‘informal’ ones such as keeping up with Journals online are absolutely VITAL for practicing nurses. Even more so for NPs with prescriptive authority. We must even, at times, plant enough question in an MDs mind to make him/her stop and think twice before ordering a particular drug, procedure or course of treatment.
    Excellent article!

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