Thursday morning, I was walking down the hall with one of the flow supervisors from my department. When I asked her where she was headed she replied “well, there is a class that is being offered upstairs about pediatric care after resuscitation. I thought I might learn something so I decided to go”.
Being an emergency nurse is hard work. We have to know a whole lot about a whole lot. Patients come through our doors with a variety of complaints, histories, medications and co-morbidities, and we must be able to identify and intervene on potential and actual life or limb threatening conditions. It seems as if every month, there are new medications, breakthrough treatments, or an evidence based practice change we need to get up to speed on. Essentially, the learning process never stops.
Many of you are fortunate to work in organizations that provide free continuing education for nurses. Some organizations only cover what is “mandatory”. There are even some hospitals that may not cover those mandatory courses. I often hear from ED nurses “well, my employer doesn’t cover the class so I am not going to go”. My question is, how do we move our profession forward if we don’t seek out opportunities to learn? Part of being a professional is being accountable to keep up with “what’s new” in emergency nursing. There are ways to seek out those opportunities and keep your costs to a minimum.
For example, did you know that as a benefit of your ENA membership, there are free CEU’s available to you on the ENA website? Right now there are over 14 contact hours available to you, for free, 24/7/365. Just click here to access the information. You do need to log into the website, and then start learning.
Another benefit that comes with membership is your peer-reviewed Journal of Emergency Nursing. When was the last time you picked up your copy? Here is your chance to learn about cutting edge emergency nursing research and share those articles with your peers. The journal also provides members a low cost option to obtain CE credit.
The issue of workplace violence has been the topic of my last two blog posts. There is a great FREE workplace violence training program offered through the CDC and NIOSH. It is specific to nurses and you will receive 2.6 CE for completing it. The course can be found by clicking here.
My favorite kind of educational experience is a national conference. The ENA Leadership Conference starts next Friday in Phoenix. For two and a half days, emergency nurses from across the country and around the globe will gather to hear new ideas, learn about new processes, and identify quality and safety initiatives we can bring back to our departments. We will also network with other emergency nursing leaders to build “brain trusts” of new ideas and innovations that can change the face of emergency nursing. For those who will be in Phoenix, I look forward to seeing you there! I challenge each of you to bring back some of those nuggets of wisdom you pick up at that conference to your colleagues back home. This way, we can all learn from your experiences.
Lifelong learning means just that. As professionals, we need to recognize that it’s our job to stay current and keep learning. Thursday, Mary Beth reminded me of what it means to be a lifelong learner. It’s not about what I have to do or what class I am “forced” to go to. It’s a mindset that I proactively seek out opportunities to learn because when I keep learning, I keep becoming a better and better nurse. One of my favorite things about being an emergency nurse is that I learn something new each and every day in the ED. The day I stop learning is the day I need to move on. And I have no thoughts about doing that anytime soon. I encourage all of you to become lifelong learners. Don’t just do the “mandatories”. Seek out opportunities to learn and grow as a nurse, as a professional, and as a human. I guarantee it will make you a better emergency nurse!