Upon entering nursing school, some students think that these several years of studying will be the most learning-intensive in their lives. I used to be one of them; I considered that the knowledge I would gain at university would be comprehensive, and I would not need to return to studying as soon as I entered employment. However, now I know that the nursing profession is a very dynamic field, and, to be able to succeed in it, one should constantly update one’s knowledge of best practices, research advances, and technological improvements. I have embraced the idea of life-long learning, and I believe that it will help me to achieve development as both a nursing student and a future professional.
Using life-long learning in nursing school helps me get the most benefit from my studies and gain some valuable clinical experience. According to Gregory et al. (2018a), nursing students need to be “prepared and knowledgeable about the care” they will provide during their clinical practice (p. 264). To achieve the proper level of preparedness, students are expected to ask many questions from their instructors, senior colleagues, and mentors (Gregory et al., 2018a). Therefore, asking a lot of questions and showing a genuine desire to find out the subtleties of providing high-quality and safe care will be my first step to integrating the idea of life-long learning into my professional development.
After graduating from nursing school, I plan to receive unit-specific certification. I would like to work in an intensive care unit, so I will need to get a Critical Care Nursing Certificate. Studying for this certificate will involve a lot of learning about new care practices and the use of equipment, which proves that learning in nursing does not end after graduation from nursing school. However, even when I get the required certificate, my education will continue.
As Gregory et al. (2018b) note, the nursing field is constantly changing, and new learning needs emerge in practicing nurses, which may stem from the employer’s requirements, the introduction of new equipment, or difficult patient situations. In addition, nurses are responsible for providing patient education about the healthcare system, alternative and complementary treatments, nutrition, etc., so they should have extensive knowledge in each of these fields (Keatings & Adams, 2019). Moreover, nurses should annually demonstrate to the registering bodies that they have maintained their competencies (Gregory et al., 2018b). Consequently, for me to be able to remain a qualified specialist, I will have to update my knowledge regularly.
My further career aspiration is to obtain a Master’s degree in Critical Care Nursing. It will allow me to provide quality care to patients with complex health issues involving multiple body systems. To succeed in accomplishing my career goals, I will have to become a self-directed learner to be able to identify my learning needs and the resources necessary to meet them. Apart from engaging in formal learning, which includes enrolling in certification programs and a post-graduate program, I will make use of informal learning, such as reading recent scholarly articles and communicating with more experienced colleagues. Using these learning strategies will help me keep informed about the latest developments in patient care and remain a competent professional.
In conclusion, life-long learning is crucial in the nursing profession because it is a dynamic field that constantly changes in response to new research and technological developments. As a result, the facts learned in nursing school may soon become obsolete. However, the process of acquiring and implementing new knowledge becomes more and more refined as nurses engage in life-long learning. Since I plan to achieve professional development and growth in the nursing field, I have embraced the concept of life-long learning and am willing to regularly update and enrich my knowledge.
Gregory, D., Raymond, C., Patrick, L., & Stephen, T. (2018a). Improving patient and nurse safety: Learning from past experiences. In D. Gregory et al., Perspectives on the art and science of Canadian nursing (2nd ed., pp. 262-279). Wolters Kluwer.
Gregory, D., Raymond, C., Patrick, L., & Stephen, T. (2018b). Nursing as lifelong learning. In D. Gregory et al., Perspectives on the art and science of Canadian nursing (2nd ed., pp. 1264-1275). Wolters Kluwer.
Keatings, M., & Adams, P. (2019). Safeguarding patient rights. In M. Keatings & P. Adams, Ethical and legal issues in Canadian nursing (pp. 277-307). Elsevier Health Sciences.