No organization is more aware of continuing education’s
critical role than the Society of Pediatric Nurses (SPN), the
premier pediatric nursing society representing over 3,300
pediatric nurses dispersed over 28 specializations.
“Requirements vary by state for the amount of continuing
nursing education contact hours that nurses need to maintain
their licenses. If their practice is specialized or they hold a
certification, such as a certified pediatric nurse, nurses may
require even more contact hours to maintain that certification,” said Kim Eskew, MBA, CAE, executive director of SPN.
“Additionally, the practice of pediatric nursing is con-
stantly evolving, and pediatric nurses need current, relevant
information to be effective in their jobs, especially in an
ever-changing healthcare environment,” Eskew said.
Rather than guessing what their members wanted or needed from an education program, SPN conducted an education
needs survey. The purpose was to identify the desired educational topics and delivery modes, in turn fueling SPN’s plan
for creating and implementing new education opportunities.
SPN’s 12-question survey was conducted on Survey
Monkey, a free online questionnaire tool. It was developed by
a nurse and customized to address the specific issues and
concerns of pediatric nurses.
“Overwhelmingly, our members responded that they
wanted specific clinical content in a variety of areas such as
behavioral and mental health as well as the care of children
with chronic conditions,” Eskew said.
In order to support its new educational programs, SPN
determined it must become an accredited provider of continuing education through the American Nurses Credentialing
Center (ANCC). Accreditation ensures that continuing nursing
education is accepted by certification bodies, and ANCC, a
subsidiary of the American Nurses Association, is the world’s
largest and most prestigious nurse credentialing organization.
Once accredited, SPN set out to craft new opportunities for
pediatric nurses to earn continuing nursing education con-
tact hours. SPN developed an online education center, which
provides easy access to online classes and helps members
track their progress. SPN also offers six free webinars annu-
ally for members and is publishing specialty books on mental
and behavioral health. Overall, SPN increased its accredited
contact hour offerings from 19.75 contact hours in 2014 to
an anticipated 83 contact hours in 2017.
Consequently, SPN’s new education programs led to
improved clinical performance. Last year, 62 percent of SPN
education participants reported actual changes in on-the-job
practices due to the education provided. SPN also created
pre-licensure and residency competencies that outline the
professional guidelines and standards expected in programs
for pediatric nurses. These professional competencies help
ensure that pediatrics remains in the forefront of the general
nursing curriculum, and they guide development of hospi-tal-based residency programs.
As a result of these initiatives, pediatric nurses placed
a significantly higher value on their SPN membership. SPN
had a 33 percent increase in membership renewals and a 56
percent increase in conference attendance over a three-year
“The survey helped us to better understand our nurses’
educational needs,” Eskew said. “The findings have been
incorporated into our organization’s three-year strategic plan,
which calls for the implementation of evidence-based education that will help our members provide high-quality care to
Is an Education Survey Right for Your
Any organization which deems education a top priority should
conduct an education needs survey to identify its member-
ship’s specific education needs and provide data to support a
strategy for developing targeted educational products.
“Surveys present an opportunity for associations to tailor
their education offerings specifically to the wishes of mem-
bers, with an aim toward improving participation in education
programing and increasing the relevance of that education,”
said Kaye Englebrecht, executive director for the Association
for Nursing Professional Development (ANPD), a 4,000-mem-
ber organization that advances the specialty practice of
nursing professional development for the enhancement of
ontinuing education sits squarely in most associations’ value propo-
sition. Done properly, an education program engages members and
attracts new ones. It is the foundation of the association’s products and
services, and it is often the catalyst for an association to thrive and grow.