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Determinants of and opportunities for continuing education among health care professionals in public health care institutions in Jimma township, Southwest Ethiopia

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Netsanet Fentahun,1 Ashagre Molla21Department of Health Education and Behavioral Sciences, 2Department of Nursing, Jimma University, Jimma, EthiopiaBackground: An effectively prepared and continually updated workforce of health professionals is essential to maintenance and improvement in patient care. The major goal of continuing education is to improve and promote quality care. Continuing education is also important to an organization's strategic plan because of its positive influence on the quality of care provided. The purpose of this study was to identify the determinants of and opportunities for continuing education among health care professionals at public health facilities in Jimma township.Methods: A cross-sectional study of 319 health care professionals working in the public health facilities of Jimma township was conducted from January 10, 2012 to February 28, 2012. A self-administered questionnaire was used to collect the data. First, descriptive analysis was done to describe the characteristics of the study participants. Finally logistic regression was then used to determine the independent predictors of continuing education.Results: Only 70 (25%) of the study participants were participating in continuing education. As working experience increased, participation in continuing education did not steadily increase. The working hours per week were higher for diploma holders than for those with any other qualification. One hundred and fifty-three (71.8%) participants mentioned lack of support from their current employer as the reason for not participating in continuing education. Health care professionals with a lack of support from management were 2.4 times more likely not to participate in advanced education. Health care professionals with lack of funding were 0.3 times less likely to participate in advanced education. Health care professionals with lack of resources other than financial were 2.2 times more likely not to participate in advanced education.Conclusion: Participation of health care professionals in continuing education is low in Jimma township. The hospital management and town health office should support health care professionals in pursuing advanced education.Keywords: health care professionals, continuing education, public health institution

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