Lifelong learning: A key to competence : The Nurse Practitioner

Secondary Logo

Journal Logo

Department: Editor's Memo

Lifelong learning

A key to competence

Editor(s): Newland, Jamesetta A. PhD, FNP-BC, FAANP, DPNAP, FAAN

Author Information
The Nurse Practitioner 44(9):p 6, September 2019. | DOI: 10.1097/01.NPR.0000577984.29134.9f
  • Free
Jamesetta A. Newland:
Jamesetta A. Newland

“Let us never consider ourselves finished nurses...we must be learning all of our lives.”

—Florence Nightingale

Recommendation six from The Future of Nursing is to ensure that nurses engage in lifelong learning, whether they are students, faculty, clinicians, administrators, or others. This recommendation is part of the broader key message in the report: “Nurses should achieve higher levels of education and training through an improved education system that promotes seamless academic progression.”1 How many nurses have taken the long route to attaining a terminal degree—from LPN, to diploma RN, to associate degree RN, to bachelor's degree RN, to master's degree RN and possibly advanced practice registered nurse (APRN), to doctoral prepared RN? How many years and nursing programs were involved to complete the journey?

The authors of the report advocate for seamless progression for nurses through the education system. New York was the first state to pass legislation mandating a bachelor's degree for all nurses within 10 years of initial licensure as an RN.2 However, a nurse's education does not stop once any degree is conferred.

Flexibility, adaptability, and accessibility

Continuing education (CE) or “competency programs” are intended to develop, maintain, and improve competence in practice, teaching, research, and/or policy.1 The healthcare delivery system is constantly changing; populations are more diverse than they were just 10 years ago in every sense. In addition, the requisite knowledge and skills required for practice, education, research, and advocacy, continue to expand.

Academic nursing program faculty are obligated to develop curricula that place instruction on the cutting edge and their scholarly productivity high while preparing graduates who are capable of meeting these challenges. One charge to clinicians is to lead teams that will translate research evidence into practice; bringing state-of-the-art findings to the clinical setting more quickly than in the past. Administrators and others in positions of authority are expected to facilitate the work of all. The report also calls for flexibility, adaptability, and accessibility in competency programs.

NCNP Fall 2019

Wolters Kluwer, publisher of The Nurse Practitioner, is the sponsor of the fall National Conference for Nurse Practitioners (NCNP): The Conference for Primary and Acute Care Clinicians, which will be held September 24-27, 2019 at The Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas.

The success of this conference is reflected in the variety of clinical topics, expertise of speakers, clear organization of the meeting, responsive attendees, and the generous amount of food provided. The program brochure and registration information are available at If you are a little short on this year's continuing-education (CE) credits, including pharmacology, you may be able to complete the requirements by attending.

For APRNs, earned CE credits must be reflective of your certification. For example, this means that if you were educated and trained to care for individuals across the lifespan, the CE programs you complete must also address content across the lifespan whether or not you provide care to a population that includes patients of all ages. The planning panel for NCNP keep this fact in mind when selecting topics and speakers for the meeting; there is something of interest and value for everyone. Pack your sunblock, sunglasses, sombrero, sandals, and shorts. See you in Las Vegas.


Jamesetta A. Newland, PhD, FNP-BC, FAANP, DPNAP, FAAN
Editor-in-Chief [email protected]


1. Institute of Medicine. The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press; 2011.
2. Newland JA. BSN in 10: it's the law! Nurse Pract. 2018;43(2):6.
Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.