The field of nursing is constantly changing. The rules and requirements, procedures and the knowledge base changes almost daily. You need to keep up with the latest trends and advances in order to get and keep the job you want, and provide quality care to patients. As you choose classes to keep your professional credentials up to date, here are some topics for education that may prove useful in the coming years. Privacy, Security and Confidentiality of Information As a nurse, you are privy to lots of private information about your patients, and one of your jobs is to deal with that information appropriately. You need to be familiar with requirements about who you can release information to and how it may be released. Mishandling confidential information may have major career and legal consequences, so this is one topic you really need to stay on top of. Changes in Health Care Insurance and Provider Models There have been major changes in health insurance regulations over the last two years, and there may be more alterations in the future. These changes may affect the type of care each patient receives and how that care is provided, so it is important for health care professionals to keep abreast of new developments. Immunization Issues The British study from the 1990s that claimed to link childhood vaccinations with autism has been discredited, but many people outside of the profession still don’t know what to believe about the matter. It is important for nurses and other health care professionals to have up to date knowledge about vaccinations, their importance and their safety, so they can convey that information to parents and patients. Long Term Management of Chronic Disorders Thanks in large part to medical advances over the decades; people are living longer with chronic disorders than they would have in the past. As a nurse, you are more likely now to meet people with special medical needs who may need help in managing their care. Knowledge about diabetes, HIV, tuberculosis and other chronic disorders is important if you will be dealing with a wide range of people. Social Networking, Professionalism and Confidentiality Social networking has become very popular. It can be a great way to release tension and relax, and can even be a way of sharing non-confidential information. Nurses need to be sure to maintain professionalism in any online postings that might be viewed by colleagues or the public. You need to know what is and is not appropriate for social networking. Dealing with Mental Health Issues A patient’s mental health may affect their affect their ability to manage their own care, as well as how they interact with health care professionals and others. Especially since people are now living longer and more often suffering from dementia and other mental disorders, it is important that nurses have the latest information on the topic. Communicating Accurate Information Patients need to be fully informed about treatment plans. Not having that information can lead to unnecessary stress, inappropriate decisions and unsatisfactory results. As medical professionals, you need to know how to communicate effectively to patients and their families. Any education you receive that helps to improve your communication skills will be worth the time and effort. Integrated Delivery Systems Medical professionals do not treat patients in isolation. The person you are helping to treat may also need assistance from insurers, social workers, therapists, in-home providers and other support services. Due to changing economic and political situations, there may be changes in the extent to which these resources are available and how to access them. As a nurse, one of your jobs is to keep up with these changes in order to help meet the needs of the patient. These are just some of the skills, issues and knowledge bases that you may need to brush up on as you continue in the nursing profession. Being up to date on these things may help you to get and keep the nursing job you want, or advance to a higher position. More importantly, education along these lines will help you provide better care for your patients.