1. Carroll, V. Susan Editor

Article Content

Lifelong learning is a critical component of professional growth in nursing, contributing to the development of knowledge and skills. Continued learning keeps us abreast of trends, practices, treatments, and theories; it supports critical thinking and evidence-based practice. Lifelong learners value innovation, flexibility, adaptability, creativity, self-reliance, and accountability. Lifelong learning has been singled out as a tool to improve competency and performance in a profession that "depends heavily on knowledge that is becoming increasingly technical and complex" and one in which no degree can provide a nurse with all the information needed during the course of his or her career (Institute of Medicine, 2011, p. 202).

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In early 2009, the Josiah Macy Foundation (JMF) funded a consensus panel led by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) to explore mutual interests related to lifelong learning, interprofessional education, and continuing education, as well as workplace and point-of-care learning. The panel addressed the work needed "to address the shifts in the nation's patient population, growing complexity in the healthcare system, and exponential growth of knowledge and advances in technology, biomedical, and related fields" (AAMC-AACN, 2010). Although the panel addressed some very broad educational objectives, they emphasized the role of continuing education (CE) in moving learners beyond the validation of individual practice and competence, skill acquisition, and narrowing of performance gaps, so that CE supports improved patient outcomes, the integration of knowledge, performance and judgment, and increased professional satisfaction to prevent or diminish burnout. The JMF-funded panel also addressed some of the very real challenges that each nurse faces as he or she continues to learn-time, costs, relevance to practice of CE offerings, technical barriers, worker shortages or imbalances, and differing educational mandates and priorities from employers, regulators, and payers.


So, you ask, how does this brief look at lifelong learning and CE relate to JNN? The Journal of Neuroscience Nursing offers free CE hours to all members of the American Association of Neuroscience Nurses (AANN) and inexpensive credit to non-members. Each issue of JNN includes a CE feature that has been selected to touch the practice of as many readers as possible. The CE selections are also chosen to address the learning needs of nurses outside the AANN "family" who care for neuroscience patients in a variety of settings.


In this issue, we are making a change to our long-standing practice of including a printed CE test in each issue; we will no longer print the test within the pages of the Journal. Instead, the test will be available online only, through CE Connection on Lippincott's, LWW's web-based educational resource. Registration for this professional development site is free and opens the door to not only JNN's educational offerings but more than 1,000 other learning opportunities. In addition, by making our CE test an online, rather than paper, offering we can include more content and add to or expand some other features. A PDF test will still be available to download and print on the Journal website,, for those who are most comfortable with a #2 pencil (with an eraser) and paper.


For some of us, this format change is long overdue; for others, it's another inevitable move into an increasingly digitalized future. However you view the change, remember that each of us learns in unique ways but the underlying message is "Keep Learning."




AAMC-AACN report: Lifelong learning in medicine and nursing. (2010, June 30). Retrieved August 12, 2012 from[Context Link]


Institute of Medicine. (2011). The future of nursing: Leading change, advancing health. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. [Context Link]