Online Continuing Education: This is a brief analysis of online continuing education for nurses and presents how some employers are supporting online education for professional staff

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Online Continuing Education

"Quality patient care hinges on educated, compassionate, and skilled nurses. It also depends on nurses who maintain or increase their competence levels through continuing education and in-service activities" (McConnell, 2000 p. 40).

The nursing shortage, dwindling funds for employee support of continuing education, individual time constraints, work and family priorities has lead nurses and employers to tap into the growing industry of online continuing education courses. It is nurses's responsibility to maintain their licensure and competence in the workplace. Online health education courses have proven to be a viable method for employees to "enhance professional development and clinical knowledge" (Benson, 2004 p. 60).

Technology has enabled professionals who otherwise would not be able, to maintain their credentials and keep current on the rapidly changing health care industry and influx of new knowledge. The availability of web-based continuing education for working professionals holds many benefits. The only requirement is a computer

with internet access.

Professionals can access courses expediently and apply the learned knowledge and skills immediately to practice. Courses are accessible at any time of the day, anywhere giving the control of learning to the individual. Traditional classroom settings, attendances at conferences and the associated monetary expenditure are not essential ingredients to remain current in nursing practice.

There are many online continuing education courses available for health care professionals. Nurses can subscribe to any educational site pertinent to their specialty. For example, the Oncology Nursing Society presents web-based education in various online formats. Interactive, case studies, written text, pre, posttest, and audio visual are common modes of presentation. Some courses are from recent national conferences such as the annual Oncology Nursing Society convention held yearly each May. Online journals are another avenue for gaining new skills. features

new courses on a variety of topics that when...