Learning does not end for health care professionals after they graduate and start working. Instead, they embark on a journey of lifelong learning that continues throughout their career.
After all, most states require health care professionals to complete a certain number of continuing education (CE) hours every year. As time passes, some of the information and practices that they learned during their student days may become obsolete.
Since health care professionals work in a fast-paced environment, it might seem like a daunting task for them to update their knowledge progressively. However, this goal is possible because the present generation of health care workers has convenient access to a vast amount of health care professional resources, such as educational and training materials.
3 Types of Training & Educational Resources
As health care grows as an industry, so do the options of health care professional resources. After your formal education is done, you pick up more knowledge on the job, through conferences, and continuing education courses. There are even more ways to keep your education going.
Here are some of the training and educational resources that are available to health care professionals like you:
1. Nursing Organizations and Associations
A great way to boost your nursing knowledge is by joining a nursing association. There are important advantages of being a part of a professional nursing organization, according to the Nursing2005 journal.
Nursing associations usually provide their members with valuable educational opportunities. Here are some of the typical health care professional resources that members of an association have access to:
- Free or discounted CE credits or contact hours
- Annual conferences and local chapter meetings
- Live webinars and archives of past webinars
- Subscription to journals, publications, newsletters, position statements, and informational documents
- Discounted rates on certification exam fees and online courses
Aside from educational resources, membership in nursing organizations also offers other significant benefits like:
- Networking with colleagues in the health care community
- Advocacy on state and national levels on crucial health issues
- Leadership and volunteer opportunities
- Career development resources
- Discounts on products and services
While some associations are exclusively available to professionals practicing a specific nursing specialty, many organizations are open to nurses, health care workers, and students in general.
2. Conferences and Workshops
A good way to enhance your skills and knowledge as a health care professional is by attending conferences and participating in workshops. These interactive events are a significant source of resources for health care professionals.
Medical conferences play an essential role in the ongoing education of physicians, nurses, and health care providers, according to the Indian Heart Journal. You are likely to be invited to annual conferences if you are a member of a nursing association.
National or regional conferences are usually hosted or sponsored by professional nursing organizations on a yearly or biannual basis. These major conferences commonly feature speakers who are experts in the field. Relevant health issues and topics are typically discussed at these events. Aside from gaining valuable information and insights through conferences, you also have the opportunity to interact and network with colleagues and mentors during these meetings.
Members usually get reduced rates on registration fees on conferences organized by their association. However, there are also conferences you can attend even if you are not a member of a nursing organization. It’s a worthwhile learning experience for you to attend conferences in person, but due to the ongoing pandemic, you may also consider attending virtual conferences online.
Another way that you can sharpen your practical skills in the medical field is by participating in workshops. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, a workshop is composed of activities that demonstrate the real-life application of skills and knowledge. Workshops also focus on active learning, lively discussions, and open feedback on health care topics.
Some workshops are stand-alone events, while others take place during national or regional meetings and conferences. Due to their interactive nature, it’s ideal for you to join workshops in person, but online workshops are also a viable option.
3. Online Educational and Training Resources
Older generations of health care professionals used to purchase books, subscribe to print publications, and research at the library if they wanted to learn more about medical topics and stay updated on medical news. Today, health care workers can enjoy convenient online access to more than a library’s worth of resources at any time of the day or in any place.
You can learn at your own pace by using your laptop, smartphone, or tablet, and the internet. A simple online search will quickly lead you to a treasure trove of digital education and training materials, such as websites, blogs, journals, and news.
Here are some examples of the many online resources:
- The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) provides free continuing education in numerous areas, including patient safety and care management. The mission of AHRQ is to improve the quality of health care by closing the gap between research and practice. TeamSTEPPS is one of the self-paced curriculum programs offered by AHRQ that aims to develop effective communication and teamwork skills.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers the latest news trends and clinical information for health care workers. Most of the training content from the CDC comes in the format of recorded webinars and online courses.
- The American Journal of Nursing (AJN) is one of the oldest and most popular nursing journals in the world. It serves as a premier source of peer-reviewed and evidence-based information to promote excellence in nursing and health care. Most of the online articles may be accessed for free by the health care community.
- The American Heart Association provides interactive tools and educational materials that health care professionals can use to engage their patients. These free online resources enable health care workers to guide their patients through the process of heart disease management and recovery. Free downloadable handouts are available on various health topics, such as stroke, heart failure, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and more.
- The Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) has created resources and guides that are useful to hospitals, health system leaders, and health care workers. These educational materials promote awareness of safety and quality health care to communities all over the globe. In addition to online self-paced educational content and webinars, IHI also offers live virtual learning hours on a regular basis.
- As the sister site of Clipboard Health, Clipboard Academy connects health care professionals to the best educational resources and opportunities available. Health care workers can stay updated on quality news through the website. They can take learning to the next level by studying content produced by experts in the field. Training materials, including additional courses and quizzes, are coming soon to Clipboard Academy.
3 Tips for Choosing the Right Training & Educational Resources
There are plenty of training and educational materials available to health care professionals. However, you might feel overwhelmed when you face the huge amount of options that you need to choose from.
Here are some tips on how to select the perfect health care professional resources for you:
Consult your employer and your state to find out the specific guidelines on educational requirements for your position. This will help you to determine what type of training you should pursue and what materials you need to study.
While there are many training materials out there, not all of them are created equally. Confirm the credibility of the educational resources – and the reliability of their sources – which you are planning to use.
Select the educational materials and training programs that are relevant to your position and your specialty in the health care field. While most health care professional resources will help you learn new things, it’s best to choose the programs and materials that will directly increase your knowledge in your specific area of practice.
By following these guidelines, it will be easy for you to pick the educational resources that can contribute to your career success and fulfillment as a health care professional.
Benefits of Education & Training for Health Care Professionals
There are many benefits to increasing your knowledge as a health care professional. Proper education and training empower you to:
- Build trust in your relationships with patients and teammates
- Improve the quality of care you provide to patients
- Reduce the chance of experiencing work-related burnout
- Be more confident and satisfied with your role within the health care community
- Be prepared for opportunities for career advancement that you might encounter in the future
Stay at the top of your game by taking advantage of health care professional resources, especially training and educational opportunities.
Working in the health care field can be both rewarding and challenging. Each shift you work is filled with new patients, sometimes unexpected experiences, and