How Can Nurses Stay Informed About New Medications and Treatments?

Staying informed as a nursing professional is an ongoing objective. With ground-breaking, life-changing clinical research occurring constantly around the world, keeping up becomes critical, and it is important to commit to continual learning and education. 

For nurses, this means more than just attaining a formal qualification and administering medications. You should also be doing your own research to keep abreast of any major developments in your industry. As well as this, don’t discount the value of learning from others around you. Your peers can also be valuable to your growth, and can often assist with keeping you informed of everything you need to know as a nurse. 

Let’s discuss. 

Educate Yourself: Complete the Relevant Formal Qualifications

To stay informed as a nurse, you need to have access to formal education. This means not only completing the required qualifications to become a registered nurse (RN) but also taking your learning a step further. Consider postgraduate education, such as an online MSN to DNP. Pursuing postgraduate study will not only add to your existing knowledge but will also look great on your resume – which can help you stand out from other less qualified candidates when you are seeking a new job or promotion. 

Keeping your academic knowledge fresh and relevant is also key to staying informed of any advances in the medical field – including new developments in medication and treatments. After all, if you don’t keep learning, your existing knowledge can quickly become obsolete. This is especially true of the fast-moving medical industry, where global clinical trials and studies are being conducted at a rapid pace – especially in our post-pandemic era. So, as our medical knowledge continues to evolve thanks to the findings of these studies, if you don’t stay informed, you could get left behind.

How Can Nurses Stay Informed About New Medications and Treatments 2

Google It: Do Your Own Research Online

With so many changes happening so rapidly in the world of clinical study, if you don’t do your own research, you could be left in the dark. To avoid industry ignorance, you could always “just Google it.” By this we mean, use an online search engine (specifically, Google), to look up the latest research in your field. There is a plethora of information online about pretty much any subject you can dream of (including medicine), just waiting to be discovered. As smartphone users, all of the digitally stored intelligence in the world sits quite literally in the palm of our hands. Given this thrilling potential for virtually limitless information-sharing, it’s mind-boggling to think that most of us choose to use these technologies to post photos of our breakfast instead. 

Of course, when you’re googling, you need to take what you find in your search engine result pages with a grain of salt. The information you come across on the Internet may not always be coming from credible sources. This is particularly important when it comes to information that pertains to medical issues. The now-infamous collaborative resource that is Wikipedia in particular, is notorious for being guilty of misinformation. Why? As a ‘crowdsourced’ form of information sharing, what we read here is not always true. For this reason, Wikipedia is, for the most part, banned from use in academic research, with the utilization of more reliable and accurate sources strongly encouraged. 

Despite this, there is still much to learn from doing your research online (albeit, in the right places). Academic and medical journals, digital news and current affairs resources, and industry-accredited online forums can all help keep you up to date with any pertinent updates to medical treatments and medication. 

Listen Up: Learning From Others 

Lastly, don’t negate the learnings you can glean from the experience of others around you.  Chances are, communicating with your colleagues including nurse practitioners with doctorates can teach you things you don’t already know. You may even learn more effective ways of doing things. Of course, as a nursing professional, there will be standard procedures and protocols you need to follow for specific duties. But when it comes to more run-of-the-mill tasks, your teammate may have thought of a better way to get it done. You may be surprised by what knowledge your peers can impart! For this reason, it’s important not to underestimate others, and to view every interaction as an opportunity to learn from someone else. 


Joan David-Leonhard

Joan David Leonhard is a recent Pharm.D graduate with a strong passion for the pharmaceutical industry and a particular interest in pharmaceutical media and communication. Her brief internship experience includes roles in pharmacy where she built strong patient-pharmacist relationships and a pharmaceutical media internship where she actively contributed to drug information articles, blog posts, social media engagement, and various media projects.

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