Continuing Education

Why is continuing education necessary?

The health care industry is growing briskly with new techniques and information being added frequently. Research shows that about half of the curriculum that is taught in a medical school gets outdated in five years. Therefore, with such a huge addition of knowledge, it becomes necessary for health care professionals to keep informed with the latest trends in the market. Regular up gradation of skills is especially essential for nurses, doctors and dentists. This is particularly important as the welfare and safety of patients are in their hands. To provide quality health care, it has now become mandatory for health care professionals to undergo continuing professional education (CPE) for getting their license renewed.

Continuing education can be related to different health care fields as follows:

Continuing Medical Education

According to Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), “Continuing medical education consists of educational activities which serve to maintain, develop, or increase the knowledge, skills, and professional performance and relationships that a physician uses to provide services for patients, the public, or the profession.”

In the United States, thousands of physicians attend continuing medical education programs. These programs are often sponsored and customized to fulfill educational requirements in health care and delivery clinical practice, at an age of cutting edge new technologies and growing health demands. Continuing medical education programs are aimed at increasing professional development and clinical proficiency among physicians. These offerings include remote site teleconferences (RSTs), Clinical Refreshers, Seminars and Conferences, Affiliate Hospital Programs, Enduring Materials (online print, audio, and video rebroadcasts), community based presentations and Clinical Workshops.

Nursing Continuing Education

Nursing continuing education helps nurses in keeping their certification, license apart from promoting professional growth. Many universities in the United States offer a variety of courses such as credit and noncredit courses, certificate programs, degrees, various online programs, and custom training covering a wide range of subjects having flexible timings and a multiplicity of delivery methods. Advanced degrees in nursing include Master of Science in Nursing, RN-to-MSN, Direct Entry MSN.

American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) is the biggest and most respected nursing credentialing organization in the United States. Certifications provided by ANCC are greatly valued by local, state and national level organizations. Accrediting helps to increase the faith of the public about the quality of continuing nursing education.

Pharmacy Continuing Education

Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) is the national agency for the accreditation of professional degree programs in pharmacy and providers of continuing pharmacy education. The Pharmacists’ Learning Assistance Network (P.L.A.N.®) is a continuing pharmacy education information service provided to pharmacists through ACPE. A computerized compilation of all continuing pharmacy education programs offered by ACPE-accredited providers serves as the database for the service.

A variety of sources such as pharmaceutical companies (who usually offer free courses), university-based courses, and online CE offer courses to those interested in pharmacy continuing education.

Pharmacy continuing education requirements for license renewal vary by state. For instance, though online is acceptable for most continuing education hours, but live pharmacy continuing education credits are sometimes required in states.

Dental Continuing Education

Dental continuing education helps dental health care professionals in keeping their certification and license apart from promoting professional growth. The Program Approval for Continuing Education (PACE), earlier called National Sponsor Approval Program (NSAP) helps dentists and members in locating superior quality continuing dental education programs.

Rules of dental continuing education differ from state to state. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) training is a relatively new component of dental continuing education. Some states require mandatory training on HIPAA as part of the dental continuing education program. Obtaining HIPAA training helps dentists to understand HIPAA laws and regulations better and how these can be applied to the field of dentistry in addition to earning them a certificate.


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