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Lifelong learning
empowers nurses
EDITOR'S NOTE: Jennifer Mensik, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, is division director of care management at Oregon Health and Science University and instructor for Arizona State University College of Nursing and Health Innovation DNP program. She also is treasurer for the American Nurses Association. Formerly, Mensik was vice president of CE programming for Nurse.com published by OnCourse Learning. A second-edition book she authored, "The Nurse Manager's Guide to Innovative Staffing," won third place in the leadership category for the American Journal of Nursing Book of the Year Awards 2017.
As nurses we are lifelong learners. Whether though formal or informal channels of continuing education, we have many options. Each educational choice has its own benefits and the potential to improve patient care and expand career advancement opportunities.
Research indicates patient outcomes benefit from nurses continuing their education. A 2011 study by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing found that a 10% increase in hospital nursing staff holding a BSN degree was associated with a 2% to 6% reduction in patient mortality rates. Let’s look at the benefits to nurses of going back to school for an undergraduate or graduate degree or a specialty certification. Specialty certification is important because it recognizes that you have studied, and in many instances passed a test, which demonstrates a higher level of expertise in your practice area. The American Nurses Credentialing Center recognizes the importance of lifelong learning through both its Magnet Recognition Program® and Pathway to Excellence® Program. Healthcare facilities that are on the Magnet journey keep track of their staff’s continuing education, including certification. Many healthcare organizations and departments have set goals for the percentage of staff obtaining certification. Having a certification in your specialty makes you much more marketable when you are applying for a new position, and demonstrates your commitment to education. The Magnet Recognition Program® maintains a list of certifications as well as criteria for the certifications it considers acceptable.
Learning is a lifelong process
Even though I have a PhD in nursing, I feel it is important to walk the talk and be certified in my nursing specialty of nursing leadership (NEA-BC, which is the ANCC certification Nursing Executive Advance, Board Certified). How can I tell others to become certified if I’m not myself? Learning is a lifelong process for all of us. Like other nurses, I need to obtain continuing education credits to maintain my certification, and I learn something new all the time. You might be wondering, which you should get first, a degree or certification? The 2011 Penn Nursing study found that certification did not statistically improve patient outcomes unless the RN also had a bachelor’s degree. At the same time, pursuing your certification first might help you get started on your educational path. Programs such as Magnet set a high bar for hospitals, but also provide a great roadmap for nurses in their educational journey. Do what you believe is right for you, but remember, education, formal or informal, is a lifelong journey for all of us.
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Many organizations require nurses who want to pursue leadership roles to have college degrees."
- Jennifer Mensik, RN
Seeking higher education, such as obtaining a bachelor’s or graduate degree is a big step that involves time and financial costs. Much like certification, employers who are on the Magnet or Pathway journey prefer nurses with a BSN. Check to see if your employer offers tuition reimbursement. Many organizations require nurses who want to pursue leadership roles to have college degrees. For example, a BSN often is required to be a charge nurse. Higher-level nurse manager or director of nursing positions can require advanced degrees, such as an MSN. For chief nurse executive and chief nursing officer roles, more and more organizations are looking for nurses with doctoral degrees. ANCC requirements for Magnet designation specify the types of degrees necessary for leadership positions. For instance, nursing leaders at Magnet facilities must have a bachelor’s degree or higher in nursing. A CNE or CNO is required to have an advanced degree, with at least a bachelor’s in nursing, according to ANCC Magnet standards.
Magnet program places strong emphasis on
continuing education, nurse certification
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By Jennifer Mensik
PhD, MBA, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN
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Contents
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Understand Magnet nursing
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Interim director discusses past and future of the Magnet program.
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The Magnet difference
Experts discuss some of the unique characteristics of Magnet hospitals.
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Find your Magnet hospital
A breakdown by state of all the Magnet hospitals in the U.S.
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Magnet has global appeal
Hospitals in other countries are seeking Magnet recognition.
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Frontline nurses take the lead
Nurses are taking on leadership roles as Magnet Champions.
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Free CE: From Novice to expert
Build your expertise by adding to your skills and experience.
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Magnet can be a lifesaver
Read first-hand account of how Magnet hospitals saves lives.
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Seeking Magnet: Pros and cons
A look at some of the benefits and costs of pursuing Magnet status.
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Improve patient care
Research suggests Magnet status can improve patient outcomes.
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Nurses battle Hurricane Harvey
Nurses at Magnet hospitals in Houston stepped up during crisis.
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Achieve accreditation
Key steps hospitals can take to help them in the Magnet process.
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Lifelong learning in nursing
Magnet program places a strong emphasis on continuing education.
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continuing education catalog
Continuing education catalog
A look at courses that can help nurses on the Magnet journey.
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APRNs and Magnet nursing
Magnet status can elevate nurse educational standards.
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When you get the Magnet call
Read testimonial from CNO of one of the newest Magnet hospitals.
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What being Magnet means
Learn about the continuing journey of the nation's first Magnet hospital.
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Achieve nursing excellence
Read stories of recent Magnet Nurses of the Year winners.
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It takes a special leader
Find out how transformational leadership leads to satisfaction.
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RNs gain support
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The Magnet culture dictates fitting education into nurses' routine.
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IOM goals are top of mind
Magnet supports education targets for 2020.
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RNs are at the helm
Transformational leadership plays big role in Magnet process.
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