Why is professional development so important for nurses?

professional development for nurses

While it might be easy to assume getting into nursing means studying for a year or two and then accessing on-the-job training, this side of healthcare is likely more complex than it looks. However, that’s not bad as it means nurses get the chance to develop their skills and confidence in an industry that will always demand their talents.

While there will always be opportunities for nursing staff at any level, the world of nursing specialty and development is wide open. Therefore, it’s a great career path for those people who want to care for others while tapping into their own professional potential.

In this guide, we’ll look at why professional development in nursing is so important in modern healthcare and how nurses can harness their career potential early on in their studies.

What does continuing professional development (CPD) mean?

Continuing professional development, or CPD, refers to the process nurses go through while training, building skills and confidence on the job, or taking courses that may arise. Typically, CPD and other initiatives arise when there are new opportunities in healthcare, technology, and patient demand.

Professional development opportunities cover various different bases. For example, they might include workshops, publication review, or even taking part in audits of clinical practice and healthcare processes. It’s worth remembering that there will always be opportunities for nurse executive development if students are willing to take advantage of them, especially from professional bodies such as Baylor University. Graduates will be armed with a wealth of knowledge, and the confidence, to develop into a more effective leader within their healthcare organization.

That said, nurses don’t have to progress into executive leadership alone. There are various specialties and areas for healthcare practitioners to dive into. However, it’s a good idea to focus on all-around professional development to ensure there’s a firm foundation before choosing specific routes forward.

Reasons why professional development is so important for nurses

Nurses never stop learning and developing. While they’ll graduate with skills and confidence to help patients and their team members keep care standards high, there will always be opportunities to go further than one’s station. Let’s take a look into a few key reasons why nurses might wish to pursue professional development.

It helps to improve patient outcomes

As should be obvious, nursing and healthcare in general is all about making sure patients receive the best possible care from admission to discharge. That, ultimately, depends on to the competence and guidance of the staff within a healthcare setting.

Nurses who continue to learn and develop on-the-job will continue to build competence and confidence. They’ll learn new ways to help provide patients with care, support, and resolutions to complex health problems.

What’s more, they will gain new powers and permissions to work with additional departments, specialists, and technology. For as long as nurses continue to develop, they can continue to improve experiences for patients of all ages, needs, and conditions.

It helps them reach new qualifications and specialties

Some nurses are happy to work via the hospital floor as it is both rewarding and challenging. However, there are scores of different routes forward for nurses to branch out into different areas of healthcare from a BSN or other healthcare degree.

For example, one nurse might be interested in working with older people via gerontology. Another may wish to pursue working with new mothers through midwifery. In other cases, there might be nurses who want to help develop and inspire the next generation of staff to come, in which case they’d look into becoming nurse educators or leaders in their own right.

Such career paths and opportunities are only open and available to nurses who wish to pursue professional development. Depending on the hospital and location a nurse works in, advancement opportunities in nursing and care planning might vary – meaning there will always be something new and exciting to explore.

Development boosts productivity and morale

Professional development in any shape or design always breeds confidence. There’s nothing quite like feeling you’re building yourself up to be more competent, professional, and influential over patient outcomes.

Nurses who continue to develop and progress within healthcare will find they feel more productive and more energized. They feel they’re making a positive impact on healthcare in general and will therefore feel better motivated to help their teams, patients, and the general systems they work with.

Professional development does more than simply help patients or help to boost salaries for those who work in healthcare; it’s a major morale booster and purpose-builder. A nurse who is building skills and following developmental pathways will feel more energized to do his or her best and go above and beyond.

Nurses stay up-to-date on developments

Finally, professional development in nursing is a must, thanks to increasing technological and patient care developments. Patient care has evolved hugely since COVID-19, for example, meaning nurses progressing in healthcare should always take time to learn about the latest tools and techniques.

By pursuing professional development in-house, they will always have the opportunity to learn new skills and how to use the latest technologies to their advantage. For the sake of patient health, doing so is an absolute must.

Nursing: it’s all about continuous development

While there’s nothing wrong with wanting to stay in bedside nursing once they graduate, nurses all over the world are encouraged to pursue professional development for the sake of patient care and to help their hospitals and clinics provide continuously-high standards of treatment.

Above all, professional development in nursing provides purpose, confidence, and direction. It’s a superb career opportunity for those who want to help others and while adding diversity in what they do. Graduates will already know that nursing is diverse, and they’ll likely be ready to leap into whatever new challenges await them – and personal development is certainly on that list.

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