Professional development in nursing – Part 1

October 17, 2014

Article by Global Pre-Meds
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The two most crucial elements of professional development for nurses – Academic development & professional presence

A pre-nursing student with her mentor Professional development is an important aspect for nurses, not only in terms of delivering better patient care but also in terms of being able to achieve your professional goals. So what exactly does professional development entail? The two most crucial elements that make up professional development are academic knowledge and professional presence. Both of these are equally important if you want to advance in your career in nursing.

This article takes a look at academic development. Part 2 will discuss professional presence.

Academic development in nursing

With new advances being made almost every day in the field of medicine, it is absolutely vital for nurses to stay updated on the latest developments. As a member of the nursing profession, it is part of your ethical responsibility to be knowledgeable and competent. Fortunately, this does not mean you need to keep going to nursing school every few months just to stay on top of things.

Here are a few ways that you can enhance your nursing knowledge without going back to school.



Reading is the absolute best way to acquire up-to-date information on almost any subject you are interested in at little or no cost at all. Bookmark a few good resources and visit them regularly. Check out authority websites and blogs and subscribe to reputable electronic newsletters. Most establishments have online libraries and getting access to relevant publications is easy for industry professionals. Be selective though or you could run the risk of becoming overwhelmed with the sheer amount of information available.


Join a professional nursing organisation

Whilst reading is a great source of information, what you are receiving is only passive information. On the other hand, joining a professional nursing organisation allows you to actively participate in discussions. Not only does this provide you with the knowledge you are seeking but it also gives you the opportunity to share what you know with others and offers you a dynamic platform to hold stimulating discussions on any topic related to your field. Getting involved with a professional nursing organisation gets you recognised as a leader and looks great on a resume too!


Never stop learning

Take things up a notch by attending relevant seminars, workshops and conventions. Some seminars are free but even when you have to pay, you will find that they are usually inexpensive and well worth it. In addition to giving you the opportunity to learn from experts in the field, organised seminars and other similar educational activities also present fantastic opportunities for you to network with other professionals.


Get certified

Sitting a certification exam can be scary and many nurses allow this fear to hold them back from achieving certification. Unfortunately, lack of certification restricts your working opportunities, as many employers are reluctant to hire uncertified staff. Acquiring certification in nursing validates your credibility and competence to your colleagues, your patients and the general public.


Get an advanced nursing degree

Continuous learning is a huge part of your professional growth and development. If you have an associate’s degree or diploma in nursing, consider getting your BSN and from there go on to get your masters or a doctoral degree. 


The key is to advancing in your nursing career is to always be on the path towards acquiring more knowledge. With greater knowledge comes greater responsibility, greater leadership opportunities and most important of all, improved patient care.