By Karen Siroky, RN, MSN, contributor
Now that you are approaching the magical one-year mark of your new career as a nurse, you may feel you have learned more than you ever thought you could. You may also recognize that the knowledge base for nursing in general and your specialty in particular, is incredibly large and complex. Additionally, since healthcare is changing so rapidly, what you need to know today is different than what you need to know tomorrow.
So how do you stay on top of it all?
The following are four suggestions to take your career to next level:
Be a joiner: There are a number of ways to gain expertise and increase your knowledge. First of all, consider participating in your nursing specialty organization. Nursing is so fortunate in that there are a large number of very high-quality specialty organizations. They have solid foundations of practice, guidelines and standards. They are well respected by nursing leaders and peers. Become a member. Join a local group. Read the specialty journal. All these tools will help make you an even better nurse.
Be a reader: Nursing journals in general are another way to increase your knowledge. In addition to your specialty journal, consider subscribing to one or more of the general nursing journals. They offer a wealth of knowledge on a variety of topics.
Be a learner: Continuing education (CE) is a third method for gaining knowledge. Although formal continuing education may not be required until after your first licensing cycle, take advantage of continuing education in your facility. Most facilities offer free informal and formal in-service and CE classes. You may also have tuition funds available for CE courses. CEs can be online, through reading or live. Fortunately nurses have many options for gaining their CE credits. Seek outside CE education to supplement any education that your facility provides.
Be an Internet surfer: In all likelihood, the Internet is a part of your daily life. There are a number of terrific nursing websites to check out. There are also many nursing and healthcare newsletters that you can subscribe to. You can receive e-mail alerts when new items are posted. The online newsletters can come as often as daily or as little as monthly. They offer a very convenient way to get headlines and other information about all aspects of healthcare.
So which one of the ways listed above should you choose? Hopefully, you will consider more than one. Each of the possibilities listed above offer a different way to receive information and many offer different ways of receiving the information.
Through active pursuit of information and participation in various activities, you can increase your knowledge level and provide the highest care possible to your patients.
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