Learning Never Ends in Nursing

Learning Never Ends in Nursing

Well, folks, I have some bad news. I don’t usually like to start out with bad news, but the truth must be told.

When you are done with nursing school, the learning never ends.

Yup, its true. No lies. You spent all this time in school. Moving toward the finish line. Hope and freedom insight. Only to find out, the learning never ends!

Now on to the good news – you likely will be more engaged in what you are learning and will likely find much more enjoyment! Crazy as it sounds – its true! As you enter your career after graduation, or even change jobs, there is always new information to be learned.

After graduation, when you start your first job, the learning curve tends to be steep! You quickly learn that although you felt completely overwhelmed in with information in nursing school, it really has just scratched the surface of what you need to learn to safely care for patients. This is especially true if you go right into a specialty area. (Yes, there is a place for new grads in specialty areas! Here’s my thoughts on that!) When entering specialty areas, such as the ICU or labor and delivery, the learning curve is steep and you will likely study more than you did in school. However, a strange thing happens – you like it! You find it interesting and you realize you HAVE to learn this stuff if you are going to make it through orientation and give good care to your patients.

As your career continues, depending on the state you live in, you may need to obtain a certain amount of continuing education hours. For instance, in the state I live in, I need to have 24 hours of continuing education every two years. The learning never ends! But, as I mentioned before, the learning is now useful and helpful to my career. I try to take classes along the way that keep me current. But, in all honesty, I get a lot of continuing education hours through in-services and other educational events at the hospital. To make it even easier, many hospital offer access to  continuing education services to aid in completing your required hours and assist in keeping current. Bonus!

But my favorite venue for continuing education is to attend conferences! If you need a lot of continuing education hours, this is a great way to rack up some hours. However, there is nothing more invigorating than being a group of like minded people learning how to be better at caring for their patients. The energy is usually palpable! I feel passionate that all nurses should attend conferences and could go on and on, but you can read more about it HERE. Make the time and invest in yourself. It doesn’t have to be some big, huge national conference, many local professional organizations hold one day conferences that are reasonable and often bring in great speakers. In fact, you could enjoy the benefits of a conference, including speakers, hands outs and networking from the comfort of your own home via the web. The Art of Nursing 2.0 – Navigating the Shifts in Healthcare will be happening this May during Nurses’ Week! (More info here Click here to visit Living Sublime Wellness.) Doesn’t get any easier than that!!

So, even though the learning never ends in nursing, it hopefully won’t be as painful as before. Sure there will be some mandatory in-services that would cure any bout of insomnia, but for the most part, your continuing education will be beneficial to your career. Heck, you might even learn something!

What was or is your favorite way to get continuing education? Let’s start the conversation by leaving your comments below – would love to hear from you!

Take care, be safe & wash your hands!…and keep on learning!


This post was written as part of the Nurse Blog Carnival. More posts on this topic can be found at The Days When I’m Not A Nurse. Find out how to participate.

Comments (21)

  1. Reply

    So glad I’m in a profession that values life-long learning. Makes me proud to be a nurse. Not to mention the rate at which best practice changes!

  2. Reply

    The fact that we are blessed with opportunities each day in our profession is a reason I love this career. Whether I am learning something new for my business or reading up on a nursing skill, I am contributing to my overall growth. And that helps me as a human being too. Great post, Joan!

    • Joan RN


      Very true! Any new knowledge is of value and really can only do good for us. Thanks for visiting!!

  3. Reply

    That is a fact ma’am- I never had a continuing education course anywhere near as painful as a nursing school! Many CEUs courses are not fun … but yet do not compare to the misery that is nursing school! Great post.

    • Joan RN


      LOL!! I probably should be offended (which is next to impossible), but I do agree – Nursing school is not the most exciting, funnest journey, but a journey none the less! Thanks for the comments and for visiting!! I LOVE the honesty!!

      • Reply

        This reminds me of one of my favorite Mary Tyler Moore quotes, “you can’t be brave if you’ve only had wonderful things happen to you.” And, nursing school definitely wasn’t a pleasurable experience. However, I’m all the better of a person as a whole because of it and what I can give of myself to others.

        • Joan RN


          That is a great quote! Definitely use that with my students and my own children. Thanks!

  4. Reply

    Truly, after nursing school, any type of continuing ed is relatively easy. I like taking online trainings, there are many choices on great topics, including nutrition & self care. Personally, I LOVE that learning never ends. It’s what keeps the creative juices flowing, keeps us engaged living our nursing career to the full. Perhaps we’ll meet at a conference one day!

  5. Reply

    Inspiring message, Joan. Makes me want to do a little research and get a conference on my calendar! I think my most favorite experience was a 4 day train-the-trainer course in Medical Improv at Northwestern University School of Medicine two years ago. There were nurses, docs, atty’s social workers and patient advocates. Not only was it an amazing learning experience, but I made new friends and colleagues. I was high for months…still am kind of. Now that you’ve reminded me! 🙂

    • Joan RN


      Thanks! I would go to every conference I could if I had the time and money! I not only love the information and meeting of the minds, but definitely the connections – can’t be beat! After NTI a few years back we did a post conference meeting for everyone to bring ideas and discuss if these were things/ideas we should consider. We actually called the meetings “Riding the wave after NTI” because we wanted to capture that momentum and passion. Hope you are able to make some time on our calendar – there are some great conferences out there!! Thanks for the visit & comments!

  6. Reply

    Hi Joan! The learning never ends… true. My favorite method of earning my CEUs are also conferences. You get the chance to learn with others who can offer a different perspective, even though you may work in the same field. And also, I love the opportunity to meet new people as well.

    • Joan RN


      Absolutely! You get so many ideas and also some validation that we might be doing this good already – if not better! You can’t beat the exchange of ideas! Thanks for visiting!!

  7. Reply

    I heartily agree with you, Joan, about conferences. For years I handled all my CEUs in other ways, all free and convenient. Conferences offer social and networking benefits that no CEU course can begin to match. I’ve benefited greatly from conferences and other professional meetings since I started attending them last year. Great advice!

  8. Reply

    What I like about learning in nursing is you can pick and chose what you want to learn. Particularly when it comes to CEU’s. Like you, my state requires 24 hours. One hour has to be law. Otherwise you can chose any topic. I like doing my CEU’s online because it is more convenient and relatively cheaper. But I also enjoy attending conferences once in a while.

  9. Reply

    I’m with you, gotta love a conference. Collect your mandatory CEUs the easy way…yes. But, exchanging ideas with my peers from all over the country is an education in itself. I always pick up something I take home with me that improves my practice. Continuing education is everwhere.

    • Joan RN


      It has been a few years for me, but I am definitely getting the bug!! Thanks for visiting!!

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