Advances in health care and scientific discoveries are reported every day. Internet access to this information is almost immediate. Drugs are recalled; significant findings are reported regarding diagnostics, treatment options, and other items such as genetics; and lifestyle links are reported on a daily basis.
Keeping up with this information can prove to be quite a challenge for anyone, but it is important to stay abreast of the most important changes and know where to access more information as it impacts your practice or profession.
Continuing education was voluntary for a while, but not everyone took advantage of it, and many felt they didn't need to bother. Now most health care professions require a significant amount of continuing education in order to renew licenses, usually every one to three years. In most cases, choices of education opportunities are still up to the individual. Continuing education should focus on your specific area of practice, assist you in learning new skills and techniques, or broaden your knowledge base.
For some fields, home study and online courses are also available. Professional journals offer continuing-education units (CEUs) for reading articles and taking short quizzes. Continuing education is also given to those working on advanced degrees. Specific information about continuing education can be obtained from your state licensing agency and/or professional organization.
Continuing-education units (CEUs) and courses are seminars, workshops, and in-services provided by experts in the field, professional organizations, and sometimes by drug companies and vendors of equipment, software, and treatment modalities. In most instances one CEU is equal to one hour of study. Most professions require the approximate equivalent of thirty to forty-five CEUs every two years.
Health care is a lifelong learning commitment. As trends change and demographics of the consumers change, professionals will have to learn new skills, techniques, and procedures to meet the needs of the public. This is in addition to any technological advances and scientific discoveries. Those entering careers in the health care field need to be willing to make the commitment to seek out the best and most relevant learning opportunities for themselves and their patients.
The pursuit of an advanced degree in your profession can also count toward continuing education and often qualifies for a significant number of continuing-education units. Check with your state licensing board, and time your education with your renewal dates appropriately so that you get the most credit possible.