Nurses are trained professionals who strive to improve the delivery of high-quality patient care. But as trained and qualified healthcare practitioners, it is their duty to participate in regular continuing professional development (CPD) to develop, enhance, update, and maintain their skills and knowledge.
It is also through CPD that nurses can improve their performances, which is essential in helping them to deliver safe, competent, and appropriate patient care.
CPD aims to help nurses to broaden and improve their professional expertise to meet their obligations of providing effective, ethical, and competent practice. Knowledge is a useful tool in healthcare practice. A well-educated and skilled nurse can be the difference between the life and death of a patient.
Continuing professional development in nursing is also important for many reasons including:
- Helps to reduce the theory-practice gap
For newly qualified nurses, managing the gap between practice and theory can be challenging. The theory-practice gap occurs when nurses strenuously attempt to combine the knowledge acquired in academic environments with real-world hospital practice.
Today, patient care standards are evolving from practices rooted in tradition, to evidence-based professions. Thus, there may seem to be a disconnect between what nurses consider actual practice and best practice.
While a nurse should not anticipate knowing everything, continuing professional development helps them to understand practice in relation to theory. CPD allows nurses to adopt an evidence-based practice, which is a crucial element of bridging the gap between theory and practice. It is also through CPD that nurses can keep their theoretical knowledge and practical skills relevant and updated.
- Improves competency in a nurse’s area of work
Nursing competency is a cluster of elements an individual nurse must possess. These include knowledge, thinking ability, values, attitudes, and skills. CPD allows nurses to enhance all these elements to ensure that they can apply them to different situations in a clinical setup.
CPD also allows nurses to acquire core abilities or competencies that they need to fulfill their roles in a clinical setup. Having competency can lead nurses to offer improved patient care and increased patient satisfaction.
Nursing competency ensures that nurses have the necessary individual traits to perform their duties more effectively. It also ensures they can understand people and situations as well as the ability to apply knowledge, build interpersonal relationships, and provide people-centered care.
- Stay updated on the latest discoveries and developments in healthcare
In this digital age, there is a lot of new information that is flooding the healthcare industry. The challenge for most nurses is that the information is coming out at a rapid rate. To overcome this challenge, a nurse should stay current to ensure they provide the best patient care. One way of remaining current is through continuing professional development.
CPD helps nurses to update and maintain their skill sets so that they can remain competent to practice. It also helps them to respond to the ever-changing demands and technologies of the healthcare industry.
For nurses, learning and development occur throughout their careers. Continuing Professional Development is an essential foundation for a nurse’s lifelong learning. It helps to maintain a safe and competent practice and ensure better delivery of patient care.