Continuing education is not a foreign concept. We often hear about professionals from different fields going back to training regularly to upgrade their skills. However, in most industries it is not regarded as absolutely necessary. This is in stark contrast to the healthcare field where continuing education, especially in some specialties, is considered mandatory. So why is it so important for healthcare professionals to participate in ongoing education and training? In a scenario where health research is continuously changing almost every day and where one mistake can cost lives, what we find out tomorrow may be quite different from what we know today. Continuing education helps medical professionals to keep up with the huge strides being made in technology and medicine and to implement newer techniques and approaches for better patient care. Types of continuing education Continuing education in healthcare will vary vastly from one specialty to another. For a physician it may involve learning about an innovative diagnostic approach to a specific disease. Additional learning for nurses could involve upgrading their skills in a specific therapeutic area to allow for further specialisation. A lab technician may benefit from learning about more effective ways to protect high-risk blood samples or minimise contamination. Continuing education is relevant even in a healthcare management role where seminars may cover more efficient modes of delivery. How to start training Many employers today have structured policies pertaining to continuing education for their medical staff. In some instances you may be asked directly to participate in specific seminars, workshops or other forms of education. In other cases, you may initiate the additional learning by speaking to your employer. Most private companies take continuing education in health seriously and will bear the costs of training. Some private companies may even fund upgrades to your formal education such as covering the cost of a postgraduate degree. This is assuming that your training is directly relevant to your ability to improve your performance on the job properly. To make a compelling case, it is important to have a clear outline of why it benefits your employer to fund the training and how you will bring the newly learned skills to the workplace. Getting the most from a career in healthcare If you are considering a career in healthcare, be sure to give careful consideration to this aspect of the profession. In this field in particular, no matter what your degree or area of specialisation, learning does not stop after you graduate from medical school. If you truly want to succeed in your health career, you need to think about keeping aside the time and energy needed to upgrade your knowledge and abilities through specialised programmes. They may be needed to improve your work output and success in your current health role or they may be a stipulation for getting a promotion to a position that brings greater responsibility. With the fast pace of changes taking place in the health industry, participating in continuing education programmes regularly is the only way to stay in touch with the latest breakthroughs and to keep your skills updated and relevant. Fortunately, the rewards – improved patient care, deeper job satisfaction and higher job potential – are well worth it. Eye-opening hospital work experience International hospital shadowing for school and university students Find out more You might also be interested in ... The Persisting Challenge of Polio Eradication What Happens After Medical School?