Sunday, November 4, 2007

This presentation is part of : Professional Development in the Clinical Setting
Continuing Education and Professional Development: A Survey to Determine Topics of Interest and Value to Nurses in the Midwest
Susan A. McReynolds, BSN, Faculty, Blessing-Rieman College of Nursing, Quincy, IL, USA
Learning Objective #1: identify key topics of interest and value for continuing education of nurses in rural Midwest United States.
Learning Objective #2: identify barriers to participating in continuing education as perceived by nurses in rural Midwest United States.

     Over the past eight years as an active member of the Pi Pi Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau Program Committee, I have been involved in planning numerous scholarly events including Research Days, Continuing Education (CE) programs and other professional development activities.  We always put much thought into planning programs that will appeal to the professional needs and interests of a wide variety of nurses.  Particular efforts are made to include the clinical nursing staff of our local hospital which is the primary employer of nurses in our locality.  Despite our efforts, and at times great expense to procure national speakers, the majority of attendees at most programs are nursing school faculty and students who are required to attend the programs for a class. 

            Currently our state does not require continuing education credits for renewal of nursing licenses.  However, with the Nurse Practice Act about to sunset, proposals are being made to include the requirement of CE credits in the proposed new Nurse Practice Act.  In an effort to explore what nurses in our rural Midwestern area desire and value in continuing education and professional development, I prepared a survey to elicit a variety of information.  The survey content includes three areas: demographic information, continuing education information, and continuing education attendance.   The sample of nurses surveyed represents a variety of clinical areas, administration, management, and nursing faculty.

            Survey questions explored what CE topics nurses find valuable; their beliefs as to the importance of CE to their professional practice; usual source of CE credits; perceived barriers to CE; and preferred format for CE programs.  Highlights of the results of this survey will be shared and may be used for planning continuing education programs that will appeal to a large spectrum of nurses and help to facilitate an optimal environment for professional development.