Online Continuing Education (CE) is an essential component of being a successful healthcare professional, and one that is largely unavoidable for anyone in the healthcare industry.
For many, continuing education courses or credit hours are required to maintain a license to practice. Although some employers or associations will provide you with license renewal dates and course requirements, the burden, to a great extent, falls on the individual to ensure their license is active and up to date.
In a society where people can barely take 30 minutes out of their day for a lunch break, who has time to fulfill what can be up to 30 hours worth of course requirements?
If you keep reading, I’ll explain the importance of online continuing education, as well as its ability to make your life a whole lot easier as a busy healthcare professional.
Why is online CE important?
The overall goal of continuing education is to bridge the gap between current practices and best practices. In the healthcare industry, patient care practices are evidence based and constantly being updated as new information or research surfaces.
Continuing education for nurses, doctors, and other licensed professionals propagates the most up-to-date evidence throughout the industry, so everyone can learn, understand, and put it into practice.
CE is a way for the industry to ensure that the most relevant practices are being taught to everyone and prevents gaps in patient care.
Traditionally, continuing education for licensed professionals took place in-person and in a classroom settings.
Often, your continuing education course requires you to travel further than your normal commute and could very well involve an overnight stay. The commuting cost, along with the cost of the course, plus the value of your time can really add up quick.
On top of that, your in-person course may not fit into your everyday schedule meaning time off from work and child care can come into play.
There are a lot of hospitals and associations that still host in-person or classroom setting CE courses for their employees. However, in recent years there has been a shift, with more online options than ever before.
According to a study by Babson Survey Research Group, “The number of students taking online courses grew to 5.8 million nationally in 2016, continuing a growth trend that has been consistent for 13 years.”
The shift of CE from the classroom to a web based service opens the door for more convenient and simpler continuing education.
The biggest draw to online CE is the flexibility it offers. You don’t need to worry about being in a certain place at a certain time, traveling, or taking time off from work in order to fulfill your requirements. You can take your courses at home, in the office, or during your commute.
Many online CE courses are presented as webinars or video lectures. Others, will opt for powerpoint presentations or e-books. These options help meet the needs of various learning styles, while remaining conveniently online.
Online CE is often cheaper than in-person CE. Course cost aside, all of the potential expenses outlined in the last section do not apply to online CE. The only cost for these busy professionals is the course itself.
Another benefit of online CE is that the results are usually instantaneous. There is no waiting for a teacher to grade your post-test or to receive your certificate. Almost all online CE providers will show your post-test results immediately and allow you to print your certificate, right after you pass.
In some cases, the provider may have established connections allowing them to automatically report your credits for you.
Choosing a Provider
Now, for the most important question regarding your online CE, which provider will you use?
Choosing the right provider can be dependent on many things. Budget, learning style, and circumstance all play a factor on what type of CE is best for you.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself before making a decision on your CE provider:
- Is the service subscription based, or do I pay per course? How much does it cost?
- Are my credits automatically reported?
- Can I start the course and finish it at a different time?
- How do I know the course will be accepted by my board?
- Do I need to attend a lecture? Are there non-lecture options?
Answering these question might bring some clarity to your decision for your CE provider.
Continuing Education for licensed professionals is a necessity to ensure the best patient care is practiced nationwide. Although licensed professionals have a few options to complete their required CE, the online form is the fastest, most accessible, and simplest process.
Each online CE provider has something slightly different to offer, but a provider who allows maximum flexibility, while providing the highest quality courses and service can certainly upgrade your CE experience.
Table Mesa, is a leading online continuing education marketplace who partners with industry leading CE providers to create the most convenient and simple CE experience available.
If you are interested in learning more about Table Mesa and how to upgrade your online CE experience, get in touch below!