Understanding the Importance of Continuing Education

Patricia Hines, CTR NCRA Leave a Comment

Understanding the Importance of Continuing Education

As the year winds down, deadlines loom and people rush to get things turned in on time. For some cancer registrars, December 31, 2022, marks the end of their two-year CE cycle. This is the deadline to turn in their minimum 20 required CEs (continuing education credits) due every two years to maintain their CTR credentials per NCRA.

According to EHL Insights, “Continuous education is the answer to a society that is constantly changing. To remain professionally agile, we should constantly be looking to learn and gain new skills. Improving yourself, staying current and moving up in your profession or switching sectors is what comes from investing in your education.”  The same idea applies to the field of Cancer Registry. As we all know, this field is constantly changing and it is important for every registrar to stay abreast of the new and latest edition of manuals, treatments, abstracting guidelines, and much more.

According to What Is Continuing Education? | Study.com, one type of continuing education is known as professional development. This type of education includes conferences, workshops, seminars, and courses. For the cancer registrar, “NCRA provides a variety of ways for cancer registrars” to obtain CEs, which include live webinars, learning modules, online courses, annual conference sessions, and quizzes.” Other companies, such as NAACCR, AAJC, MRA, SEER Educate, state cancer registry associations, and many more also provide additional opportunities to earn CEs both free and paid. For more information go to Cancer Registry Continuing Education (CE) Resources 2021 (mrahis.com) for a great list of companies and organizations that provide CE opportunities for Cancer Registrars.

MRA's 2023 Education Series provides Cancer Registrars with a total of 4 free CEs for the year. Be sure to check out MRA's cancer registry education, The ABC's of ICD's, available now! 

The premise of only 20 CE credits every two years is the basic amount of education a registrar needs to stay abreast of the everlasting changes occurring every year or two with the standard setters. A registrar can easily accumulate 50+ hours a year if they tried to keep up with all the new changes and attend as many conferences or webinars as possible.

Regardless of the number of CEs that are earned each year, a registrar is responsible for their own learning. There is not always someone who will remind them to attend a conference or watch the latest lung cancer webinar. With each conference or webinar attended, the registrar will receive a certificate that they must keep a copy of in their personal records in the event that they are audited and must present proof of attendance in order to stay compliant.

The opportunity to grow and advance within the field of cancer registry comes with continuous learning and staying on top of all the latest changes. When we increase our knowledge and learn new skills, procedures, and additional tools to assist with our daily jobs, we are increasing our confidence in the work we are doing. We are helping ourselves to ensure our job is being done correctly and to the best of our ability. Increasing our knowledge and our own confidence in our job can lead to advancements within the facility we work in or within the registry sector. MRA offers many opportunities for career advancement within the cancer registry field. Contact our HR department today or visit our website to view all available positions. 

Additional opportunities for registrars outside a hospital and abstracting include positions in a central registry, a software company, an educator, and much more. We are not confined to just staying an abstractor, although our jobs are very important in the research of cancer, we have so many more opportunities if we work hard and go after our goals.

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