Continuing education is different from in-service training or coursework for a degree because it builds on the primary education and experience of the professional registered nurse. A continuing education activity is designed to enhance practice, education, administration, research, or theory development.
In-service education, on the other hand, includes activities that teach content required to meet the responsibilities to the employer or information that is so basic that it would have been part of an initial school curriculum. Employer-specific topics include learning an electronic medical record system, or product-specific training on how to use a new monitor or infusion pump. Basic knowledge, for example, would be renewing a CPR verification.
The most critical aspect of any professional education is to maintain the focus on the patient. It is the professional’s responsibility to maintain competence through a commitment to lifelong learning, professional and personal growth.