What it is and why it matters?
In this article, I would like to present the recent European Association of Urology Nurses (EAUN) efforts to ensure the EU-ACME would create a high quality and user-friendly system of accrediting nursing education (in addition to the existing system for accrediting medical specialist education).
These systems are based on international standards and I will explain why this is important to you. Continuing nursing education or continued professional development are geared towards practising nursing professionals. Both can be defined as the systematic maintenance, improvements and broadening of knowledge and skills, and the development of professional qualities necessary for the execution of professional and technical duties through the professional’s working life. They are designed to provide information and knowledge that is both relevant and essential to nursing practice. To achieve this aim, programmes are required to be based on effective educational principles that promote the acquisition of knowledge while promoting efficiency, professional integrity and high ethical standards.
What is Accredited Nursing Education?
Continued nursing education is a critical part of preparing healthcare professionals to provide high-quality patient care. Accreditation is a process that ensures that nursing education programmes meet certain standards of quality and rigor. Accredited nursing education programmes provide individuals with the knowledge and skills they need to become competent healthcare professionals.
Accreditation is a process that evaluates the quality of educational programmes. EAUN has been the motor behind the current EU-ACNE system, built to credit or recognise programmes for education undertaken by an individual, thereby gaining credits for the activities. This system provides an assurance that an internationally recognised standard of quality has been met.
Why is it important for you?
Many countries do not require their nurses to attend accredited courses or have any form of accreditation. So, the question you may ask is, why is it important for me? The answer is simple: it is a means of demonstrating your commitment to continuing professional development. Having an EAUN accredited nursing portfolio is a way for you to stand out from the crowd, such as at your next job interview.
Other countries however, such as the Netherlands, do require specific nursing professionals to gain accreditation points, for example to renew their registration as a Nurse Practitioner. The EU-ACNE provides a system for nurses to gain accreditation points for both international and local activities.
For individuals, the purpose of accessing the EU-ACNE accreditation system or using accredited programmes is to be assured of the quality or for your employer to be assured of quality. Also, to know that it is recognised as such by the EU-ACNE. The gained credit points will also give healthcare professionals a means of demonstrating their continuing professional development. As a member of EAUN, you have access to your own continuing nursing education (CNE) account.
Further benefits can be realised through improvements in patient outcomes; identifying strengths and gaps in your career progression; improved communication and staff empowerment; and demonstrating a commitment to quality improvement.
Have your meeting accredited
Should you run, create or present educational courses, activities or events, as an individual or an organisation, you can apply for accreditation. This provides your attendees with credits, but also with the assurance that what you are providing meets a set standard. Please check How to Apply for Accreditation – EU-ACME/CNE, or contact the EU*ACME/ACNE by email at info@EU-ACME.org to be registered as a provider.
Every EAUN member has a CNE account, but any nursing professional can become an ACNE member and create a portfolio. The interface is user-friendly, easy to access with a simple format. Here, credits for accredited events or activities are collected, creating a repository or portfolio that can be presented as proof of commitment to quality patient care. There are many activities that credits can be gained for: lectures or presentations (including posters or videos); publications; educational material produced; participation in committees; reading an article in a recognised urological journal and answering the multiple choice questions; or any other learning experience that have the required documentation. To collect the credits the meeting/event/activity must be accredited by a (inter)national accreditation authority, such as one in your own country or the EU-ACNE.
In concluding this short article, we can all agree that continued nursing education in whatever format is an essential part of our practice. How we evidence this, is where the EAUN has stepped in to ensure such a system would become a reality for its members. In providing a system which is userfriendly and easy to access, educational credits can be collected in one place. These can then be used to demonstrate commitment to improving quality urology nursing care and help you stand out from the crowd.
The EU-ACNE website can be found here: EU-ACME online CME/CPD portfolio
Dr. Jason Alcorn, EAUN Board Member, Wakefield (GB) email@example.com