AACN News—June 1999—Certification

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Vol. 16, No. 6, JUNE 1999

ID Badges Display Credentials

When Teresa Roe, RN, CEN, SANE, passed the exam to become a certified emergency nurse (CEN), she was excited and proud—and anxious to share her achievement by adding the credential to her hospital identification badge. She was disappointed, however, to learn that her hospital’s policy was to allow only academic degrees to be included with the RN licensure on the badges.

After discussing her concern with her nursing superiors, she pursued what turned out to be a constructive approach. AACN Certification Corporation was among the entities from which Roe accumulated documentation about the value of certification for nurses.

In the end, her employer, MedCentral Health Systems, which operates hospitals in Mansfield, Shelby, and Crestline, Ohio, altered its policy. MedCentral nurses are now allowed to include one certification credential on their identification badges.

MidCentral's former policy was based on a desire to “clean up” the appearance of the badges, which many thought had become too “busy,” according to Patti Stuht, RN, MS, CNA, director of nursing for critical care and emergency services at MedCentral. The decision was made about a year earlier that only the minimum credential required to practice in Ohio would be needed on name badges, though the highest academic degree would also be allowed.

MedCentral’s policy applied to not only nurses but also other healthcare professionals including lab technicians and respiratory therapists. However, the impetus for change came from within the nursing ranks. MedCentral has a high percentage of certified nurses in critical care, emergency and oncology services, Stuht noted.

In a written position submitted to MedCentral administrators, Stuht recommended that the policy be changed.

“These certifications are honors, which are an advertisement for our clinical strength and expertise at MedCentral,” she wrote. “They are an individual commitment to continuous learning and professional development. We should be so proud of these people, because they were not required to do so (obtain clinical certifications); they did it because it strengthens them as clinicians and caregivers.”

She concluded that allowing the credentials would represent “goodwill, recognition, respect, and honor” toward the certified nurses.

Following a review at a senior administrative meeting, the policy was changed within 2 weeks. Stuht estimated that at least 95% of the nurses who are certified responded that they wanted their name badges remade to include those credentials.

The issue of nurses being allowed to display certification credentials has quickly surfaced on a number of fronts. In fact, several informal coalitions comprising representatives of nursing specialty organizations have identified the issue as a mutual concern and are working on the most effective and appropriate ways to address it.

The AACN Certification Corporation Board of Directors recently designated this issue as a priority initiative in the coming year.

CCRN Makes Certification a Driving Force

Janine Henson, RN, BSN, CCRN, has found a unique way to display her pride in CCRN certification, and promote the value of certification at the same time. In fact, she does both just about everywhere she goes.

Her “vehicle” is her vehicle, which displays a personalized license plate reading “CCRN.” The plate was a surprise gift from her husband Scott.

“Individualized license plates are big in our area,” said Henson, a staff nurse at Edward Hospital in Naperville, Ill. “I wanted something that would really mean something to me.”

She said she had considered other options including a message related to the Cord Blood Registry, where she was working at the time. However, CCRN quickly became the obvious choice.

“I may work in many areas, but I will always be a critical care nurse,” said Henson.

In addition to displaying her pride in her practice, the CCRN plate prompts questions about its significance.

“That gives me a chance to talk more about critical care nursing and about certification,” Henson said.

Henson is community chairperson for the Joliet Chapter of AACN.

Award Cites Special Contributions

A part of the Circle of Excellence recognition program is the AACN Certification Corporation Special Contributor Award, which is presented to individuals who make significant contributions to the work and mission of the corporation.

Recipients demonstrate far-reaching influence that relates directly to helping maintain AACN Certification Corporation’s position as a leader in credentialing and in creating safe passage in healthcare for patients.

Recipients receive a plaque and are honored at the annual CCRN� Luncheon at the National Teaching Institute.™ Nominations are accepted year round.

For more information about the Circle of Excellence awards program or to obtain an awards guide, call the National Office at (800) 899-AACN (2226) or visit the AACN Web site at http://www.aacn.org.

Abstracts Sought for ACNP Conference

Paper and poster abstracts are being invited for the eighth annual Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (ACNP) Conference, which is scheduled for April 6 through 9, 2000, in Chicago, Ill. The deadline is July 1, 1999.

“ACNPs: Moving Healthcare Into the Next Century” is the theme.

Abstracts should be 250 words and describe current ACNP issues related to clinical practice, education, research or legislation.

Submit abstracts to Ruth M. Kleinpell, RN, PhD, CCRN, CS, Conference Chair, Rush University College of Nursing, 600 South Paulina Ave., 1062B AAC, Chicago, IL 60657;

Committee Chairs Appointed

AACN Certification Corporation Chair-elect Kimmith M. Jones, RN, MS, CCRN, has appointed the following members to chair the 1999-2000 volunteer committees:

Exam Development Committee/Item Writer
CCNS Patricia J. Atkins, RN, MS, CCRN
CCRN Adult Wendy P. Blakely, RN, MSN, CCRN
CCRN Pediatric Karen K. Thomason, RN, MSN, CCRN
CCRN Neonatal Beth C. Diehl, RNC, MS, CCRN, NP
Appeals Panels
CCNS Terese M. Verklan, RNC, PhD
CCRN Adult Michele L. Lerch, RN, CCRN
CCRN Pediatric Barbara J. White, RN, BSN, CCRN
CCRN Neonatal Harriet S. Hawkins, RN, CCRN
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