Does Advanced Education Make You a Better Nurse?

As a licensed nurse, you may be confident in your abilities. However, it is more likely that the longer you work in nursing, the more you come to realize that there is a lot that you don’t know. If this sounds like you, it might be time to look into continuing your nursing education. If you’re on the fence about it, here are a few ways that advanced education can make you a better nurse.

  1. Leadership Skills

Whether you think you are or not, you are a leader. As a nurse, you have to work well with coworkers and with patients. Everyone you work with should trust you as a professional and have confidence in your abilities. Your patients should listen to you and respect your authority as their nurse. Continuing your education will help you improve your skills and heighten your knowledge, making you that much more effective as a nurse.

  1. Critical Thinking

Nursing is all about finding solutions to problems. Most problems you will have learned about in nursing school and addressing them becomes second nature in your practice. However, you have certainly had patients with more difficult issues that you perhaps haven’t seen before or aren’t very familiar with. Those cases can put you in a tricky spot where you may need to seek the help of others. There’s nothing wrong with this, of course, but continuing your education means you are more familiar with uncommon issues and more prepared to tackle them yourself. Critical thinking is a necessary skill for nurses looking to perform better at work.

  1. Understanding Policy

Unless you are taking it upon yourself to research all the newest information on healthcare policy in the state or country, you might be missing out on a lot of information that will affect the way you practice and how you deal with patients and coworkers. While continuing your nursing education, you will learn about the most recent laws and legislations for nursing practice. For instance, laws about resources ad budgets will affect the quality of care your facility is able to give, so it is good to know what’s going on in that arena.

  1. Know the Research

The field of healthcare is ever-changing and ever-growing. We know a whole lot more about the human body, diseases, and treatments now than nurses of the 1800s did. It’s reasonable to assume, then, that it’s impossible to have perfect knowledge of nursing, even if you went through nursing school and aced all of your licensure exams. If you decide to go back to school, you will get the chance to read the most recent researches and reports for your field. Once you understand new techniques or knowledge about a disease, you can adjust your treatment methods and change your care to better suit new knowledge.

  1. Confidence

If you passed nursing school and were able to find a position after graduation, you know how it feels to be confident in your abilities and knowledge. As you continue to work, that confidence grows. Procedures become second nature, you understand discharge processes, and you work well with your team. However, there comes a time when you will see that things are changing around you and you aren’t quite as prepared as you used to be. Going back to school can offer you the confidence boost you need. You’ll come to learn new materials that you can bring back to work. Intense academic preparation will help you feel self-assured, and others will come to see that as well. After all, when you know more, you can do more.

  1. More Jobs

If you feel stuck in a rut with your job, that is reason enough to continue your education. Sure, you could simply look for another job elsewhere, but unless you’re getting into a different position, chances are that you’ll experience the same kind of burnout or “stuck” feeling that you had before. But by enrolling in further nursing studies, or perhaps even a degree program, you can bolster your resume and be prepared for a variety of different jobs, whether that’s in a specialty you choose or even in nursing education. If you’re interested in even more leadership opportunities, pursuing a master’s degree could be the best option for you.

Final Thoughts

Whether you need a boost in confidence, a new job, or just want to stay updated on the newest in healthcare policy, there’s no better time to continue your education than now. And with so many options available in person and online, you’ll definitely be able to find a suitable program that will work for you.