How Important Is Continual Training In Nursing?

Whether degrees prepare people for the everyday demands of nursing is an ongoing debate. On the one hand, many nursing academics argue that only higher education can prepare nurses for the analytical, medically, and scientifically complex facets of the job. The same academics insist that ongoing training in nursing is essential.

On the other hand, some remain adamant that the praxis of care and compassion is impossible to teach. One school of thought claims that degree-level nursing is more beneficial to the status of the profession than to patient care.

While a question mark hangs over the necessity of degree-level education for nurses, most people agree that continuing professional development (CPD) is vital for medical employees. In fact, the UK Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) makes ongoing training mandatory for nurses.

Continual training in nursing

The NMC council ruled that from 2016 onwards:

“Nurses must continue to undertake at least 35 hours of CPD every three years. However, 20 hours of this will have to be committed to ‘participatory’ learning activities, such as seminars, learning workshops, shadowing other colleagues, etc.”

What’s more, these activities must be recorded so ongoing learning can be monitored:

“Nurses are required to ensure that when they do undertake any CPD-related learning that they can evidence learning outcomes which are directly relevant to their specialty. To help monitor this, the NMC requires nurses to record all learning outcomes in a portfolio which should be kept up-to-date.”

As you can see, continued education is vital for nurses, whether in the form of a Nursing Degree Apprenticeship or non-educational training – here are some of the reasons why:

1. Nurses must keep up with advances and research

Like GPs and other medical staff, nurses have a duty to keep up with medical advancements and new research. While patient care and compassion are vital to the nursing profession, a nurse’s knowledge can be the difference between a patient’s life or death.

2. Nurses should have broad career prospects

As with any job, the more training you do as a nurse, the broader your career prospects. With ongoing qualifications, you could you go on to specialise in a particular area of nursing (such as paediatrics or orthopaedics). Alternatively, you could become a Nurse Researcher or Nurse Partner.

3. Training improves nursing skills

Ongoing training for nurses improves your decision-making abilities and clinical skills. Not only will these qualifications make you more eligible for senior positions, but you’ll also be better equipped to care for your patients.

Types of CPD for nurses

Most nurses undertake training that is partially funded by their employer. However, there is currently no legal requirement for employers to provide time for continual learning, making it difficult to fit around a full-time position. Despite this, the NMC is clear that employers have a responsibility to support their staff to meet mandatory CPD requirements, even in the absence of protected time.

In the UK, there are two different types of continual professional training for nurses:

1. Higher education CPD

Higher education CPD refers to training that is provided by an accredited institution. Some of these courses may result in the acquisition of a formal qualification such as a master’s degree, and most are funded by employers within the public sector. While some employers will provide financial support for nursing PhD qualifications, this is rare. Nurses can choose to take specific university modules or an entire course.

2. Non-higher education CPD

Non-higher education CPD is any learning or training that takes place outside of the education sector. This training may include nursing conferences, webinars, online learning modules, reading, mentoring, or any other training materials. Mandatory workplace training usually falls within the non-higher education framework.

Finding the time and financial resources for ongoing training in nursing can be tricky, especially if the hospital where you work is already understaffed.

However, continuing your development doesn’t need to be difficult. You can apply for nursing jobs on the EBPCOOH Recruitment website to find employers who will fund your ongoing education, while offering more flexible and rewarding ways to work. To find out more, visit our jobs page or contact us on 03000 243 333.