Top 6 Reasons to Run In-Service Education


Published: 30 April 2018

I think nurse educators will agree when I say:

Ensuring staff are up-to-date with the latest clinical knowledge and skills is key.

However, many nurse educators are often left wondering:

“What’s the best way to ensure staff are up-to-date?”

Well, it turns out in-service provides the perfect solution towards enhancing the knowledge and skills of staff within the working environment.

Even with the boom in online education, in-service is still one of the most common modes of teaching within healthcare.

Here are 6 reasons why you should be running regular in-service education and training sessions for your employees.

But first -

What is in-service and why is it important?

Simply put, in-service is education that takes place at work during a time dedicated towards a shift.

Therefore, employees do not have to give up their personal time to attend an in-service education or training session.

With constant changes and new evidence emerging within healthcare in-service is a great way to bridge these gaps in knowledge and skill.

The vast majority of healthcare organisations and facilities will run in-service to keep their staff up-to-date with the latest information that’s most relevant to their workplace.

1. In-service enables staff to keep up-to-date with the latest evidence

What is deemed ‘best practice’ within healthcare is always changing.

Research studies are constantly generating new and valuable information that must be applied in order to align with best practice.

As new evidence could potentially change the way certain clinical tasks must be performed, it’s important that staff are kept up-to-date.

Running an in-service is an easy way for educators to deliver relevant new evidence to their staff along with any implications for practice within their facility.

2. It’s the perfect time to introduce new equipment

The introduction of more advanced equipment in a workplace will require employees to update their understanding on how it functions.

While this could be achieved via written explanations, physical demonstrations and opportunities for staff to ‘try out’ the new equipment are much more effective.

As equipment is rarely able to be removed from the facility, in-service is therefore the solution to updating staff.

3.Enhance staff retention

An employer providing regular opportunities for continuing education demonstrates a clear commitment to their staff.

However, education in the workplace does not end with mandatory competencies.

In-service sessions are offered to further support employees towards the enhancement of their skills and knowledge.

This leads to employees feeling valued.

The loyalty that develops between the employee and employer can contribute towards enhanced staff retention.

Staff retention will reduce the need to hire new staff, which enhances cost-effectiveness in the organisation (Beynon et al., 2015).

4. Build the confidence of your employees

A nurse’s confidence is boosted when they know that they are trusted to independently provide safe, quality care to patients.

This trust is borne from being up-to-date with the relevant skills and knowledge required to provide such care.

Having this knowledge also empowers nurses to confidently make independent decisions without having to constantly consult a colleague.

5. In-service encourages self-directed learning

In-service training and education also empowers nurses to be self-directed in their learning.

Where mandatory competencies are compulsory in the workplace, nurses are given the freedom to choose which in-service sessions they would like to attend based on which are of interest to them.

6. It opens up opportunities for career advancement

Senior nursing positions require potential candidates to be knowledgeable, skilled and up-to-date with the latest evidence.

Keeping abreast with best-practice and new company policies and procedures through in-service sessions is a great way to carve a path towards a promotion or a more acknowledged and versatile role.

How does in-service differ from mandatory competency training?

Mandatory competencies are vital to keep all staff updated and current with the latest developments and applications of competencies.

Successfully completed competencies deem nurses competent to perform the prescribed duties within their role.

Mandatory competencies are:

  • Compulsory
  • Limited to the required competencies
  • Time-sensitive

On the other hand, in-service education extends the knowledge and skills of employees beyond what is compulsory.

It often covers courses and topics that spread across the boundaries of mandatory competencies and enables employees to enhance their knowledge in areas that interest them.

In-service sessions are:

  • Flexible
  • Non-compulsory
  • Wide-ranging

The level of care in the healthcare sector is assessed based on current best practice.

Current best practice contributes towards safe nursing practice and standards that enhances the quality of care provided to patients.

Providing regular in-service education sessions to staff in your facility enables them to enhance their knowledge and skills and ensure that they are up-to-date with current best practice.




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Denise Turner View profile
Denise Turner began her nursing career in South Africa in the year 2000 as a passionate orthopaedic Registered Nurse. In 2002, her qualifications brought her to Perth, Western Australia, where she now resides. Denise developed into a clinical nurse educator, starting from a staff development nurse in the West Australian health sector, clinical nurse facilitator at higher education teaching facilities in WA, as well as the corporate sector. Denise is driven by her passion for expanding her own knowledge whilst contributing to enhancing the knowledge of others. She is always ready for the next challenge her life brings on a personal, as well as a professional, level. She is now pursuing a path of combining her passion for teaching with research studies related to the nurse educator in the hospital, training institution, and the corporate world.