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The 3 Things You Never Stop Learning As a Nurse


Nursing and lifelong learning

As a student nurse, one of your biggest goals is to graduate, to reach the light at the end of the tunnel. That light represents the end of the struggle, a great accomplishment and a testament to all that you’ve learned preparing to be a nurse. You’re ready to serve patients and communities in your hometown or anywhere in the world. And yet: Once you get your first job as a nurse, you’ll realize that your education is just beginning.

One of the best things about being a nurse is that you never stop learning, ever. Healthcare is an evolving door of policy changes, new research, and new patients. Once you step into the hospital, clinic, or patient’s room, you begin building on a set of skills that will continue to grow throughout your career. As a nurse, you’ll never stop being a student of the work, especially when it comes to your ability to communicate, adapt, and lead.

1. Communication

Communication is a fundamental part of being a nurse. Healthcare communication is an art, and like most art it requires continual practice. You’ll pass along orders to your colleagues, your colleagues will pass them along to you, and your patients will look to you for information and guidance on their treatment and care. Every day will present different situations and patients, all requiring you to effectively communicate, sometimes in ways you never even considered. Because of the wide-array of cultures, religions, and generations you’ll encounter as a nurse, your communication skills must be flexible. The way you speak and relay information has to be tailored to your patient and his or her family’s needs, because good communication calms nerves, helps education, and builds trust. Most importantly, it raises the quality of care.

Related Resource: The Best Advice for Dealing with Angry Patients

2. Adaptation

The words “healthcare” and “change” seem synonymous. New technology, change in patient care models, digitization, and new treatment options continue to shift the healthcare landscape, and nurses must learn to adapt or be left behind. Don’t worry, though! It’s also an exciting time for nurses, especially on the larger scale of healthcare. Adapting means more than just going with the flow of your day, navigating organizational change, and addressing new challenges as they appear. Learning adaptation for nurses in modern healthcare means learning new, multifaceted roles with more responsibilities than ever before. Healthcare will continue to evolve, and adapting and embracing the change as it happens will only open up doors for new opportunities in your career.

3. Leadership

Nurses who embrace the idea that learning far exceeds the walls of the classroom can look forward to a meaningful career — and one that will take them places. While most nurses might start by the bedside, those who take an interest in other specialities, further their education, ask questions, or pursue leadership positions, are the nurses who become influential, credible, and irreplaceable.

Part of your job as a nurse is to keep your finger on the pulse and take advantage of the knowledge of your peers and the unpredictability of your unit or practice. Even if you never pursue higher education like a BSN or MSN, you can lead by example — and by sharing your experience with new nurses, how you succeeded and how you struggled. As a nurse leader, you need to be curious. You should become an active participant in your career. Learn and attend more than just the mandatory seminars. While your registered nursing education will give you a solid knowledge base, being a true lifelong learner in healthcare sets you up for a lifetime of leadership.

Related Resource: The Lesser-Known Benefits of Being a Nurse Manager

At Ameritech, we foster an environment of higher learning and curiosity. We want our nursing students to graduate and continue what they started in school, because we believe that learning, as a healthcare professional, is never done. Whether you want to pursue a BSN or develop new communication, adaptation, and leadership skills through experience, you never stop learning as a nurse. If you have any questions about our programs or philosophies, please don’t hesitate to contact us!