3 popular learning methods for nurses
With more and more hospitals working toward achieving magnet status, a BSN degree is the new minimum qualification for many entry-level nursing positions. Meanwhile, nurses looking to advance their careers often must complete additional certifications and advanced degrees in order to compete for management-level positions. Consequently, as the nursing shortage continues to tighten the labor market, an increasing number of nursing employers are offering professional development incentives to attract the best job candidates and reduce turnover. But with nurses busier than ever before, how can they juggle work, life and education, and still remain effective on the job?
“Currently, 28 states (56 percent) require continuing education credits or the demonstration of professional competency for ongoing nursing licensure or re-certification, and this trend is spreading throughout the country,” says Glenda Tali, RN, BSN, MSN and campus college chair at the University of Phoenix Hawaii Campus. “If more employers encourage nurses to take time off for education via allotted education days, more nurses will take advantage of the opportunity [to increase their professional competency].”
“The current market drive for magnet status among hospitals is also driving nurses to seek additional education,” says Angie Strawn, MSN, RN and associate dean of the College of Nursing. “Plus there’s an element in the younger generations’ culture where employees choose their jobs and employers more out of personal enrichment than company loyalty. So if employers want to hang on to their nurses, offering opportunities for professional development becomes essential.”
Paper, online or onsite?
The best format for continuing education varies from nurse to nurse, but there are many options available. “Nurses have identified three barriers to continuing education: cost, time and access,” says Tali. “Older, more seasoned nurses are often more interested in reading print journals and doing paper-based continuing education offerings, while younger nurses who have grown up with computers and technology are often attracted to online distance-learning opportunities. Online programs provide a learning method for busy nurses that does not require being away from work or home, and can be completed at the nurses’ leisure.”
Some hospitals have developed an innovative learning option in partnership with University of Phoenix by bringing the University’s instructors and courses onsite so nurses can learn right on the job. Currently, Scottsdale Healthcare Shea Medical Center and Mayo Clinic Arizona are operating onsite nursing student cohorts — in partnership with University of Phoenix — with 12-15 students each; similar programs are currently in various stages of development at several more hospitals nationally. These types of onsite nursing programs may be an indicator of future trends in continued nursing education.