AACN News—December 2001—Certification

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Vol. 18, No. 12, DECEMBER 2001

Indiana Hospital Helps Nurses Achieve CCRN Certification

Nurses at Deaconess Hospital, Evansville, Ind., enjoy support from their employer
in seeking CCRN certification.

Deaconess Hospital, Evansville, Ind., recognizes the value of CCRN certification not only for its nurses, but also for healthcare consumers in its area.

Citing a desire to further demonstrate its commitment to providing high-quality healthcare services, Deaconess recently issued a news release about a special program it offers to help nurses achieve distinction as CCRNs.

In its second year, the program is sponsored by the Deaconess Hospital Foundation, which sees the support as representing a commitment to the community through an investment in nurses.
Last year, 15 nurses who participated in the program achieved CCRN certification. Currently, 35 nurses are participating. Thirty of these participants are Deaconess nurses, with the rest coming from other healthcare organizations in the region.

“Critical care nurses practice in areas where patients require a very high level of care and continuous nursing vigilance,” said Maria Shirey, RN, Deaconess’ director of cardiovascular services.
“Consequently, it is in the best interest of our community for us to cultivate excellent nurse clinicians to competently care for critically ill patients in the hospital setting.”

The two-day Deaconess program, which helps prepare critical care nurses to be successful in taking the CCRN examination, is targeted to nurses practicing in ICUs, telemetry units and emergency departments, as well as other highly skilled areas. Focusing on a review of advanced critical care concepts, the program this year included national speaker and author Robin Donohoe Dennison, RN.

“Our primary goal with this program is to provide critical care nurses with the opportunities needed to continuously enhance their knowledge base,” said Shirey. “This, in turn, increases the number of nurses educated in critical care nursing to help ensure that patients in the Tri-State area receive high-quality nursing services.”

Deaconess has also been one of the largest participants in the three-person discount program offered by AACN Certification Corporation. (See related article below.)

In addition, Deaconess recently approved allowing its CCRN-certified nurses to display their credentials on their identification badges. Lynn Schnautz, RN, MSN, CCRN, who was joined by colleagues Bev Farmer, RNC, MSN, CCRN, and Maria Shirey, RN, MS, MBA, in seeking the approval, said they are excited about the change.

“What an awesome way for our nurses to display the pride of being CCRN nurses,” Schnautz said.

Take Advantage of Group Discount to Take CCRN Examination

Have you nd your colleagues talked about taking the CCRN certification exam, but just never taken the final step? Now is a great time to follow through on this goal.

Originally scheduled to expire Dec. 31, 2001, the special, discount offer for three or more candidates to apply as a group to take the adult-, pediatric- or neonatal- exam has again been extended. The discounted exam fee is $175 for AACN members and $255 for others, saving each applicant $45.

To be eligible for the discount, applications must be accompanied by the “3-Person Discount Flyer,” which is included with the application materials. The flyer can also be printed from the AACN Certification Corporation Web site at http://www.certcorp.org, or requested by calling (800) 899-2226 or e-mailing certcorp@aacn.org.

Confirmation letters are sent within three to four weeks of applications. Applicants then have 90 days to take the exam. Co-applicants are not required to take the exam at the same time,

CCRNs, CCNSs Offered Special 15% Discount on AACN Membership

CCRN- and CCNS-certified nurses can now take advantage of a special AACN membership offer that saves 15% off the already discounted three-year membership rate. That’s in addition to the fact that certification exam and renewal fees are discounted for AACN members.

This new membership rate is being offered in recognition of the achievement and commitment to excellence that CCRNs and CCNSs demonstrate by becoming certified in their critical care specialty area. The special three-year membership can be renewed at the special $179.35 rate for as long as your certification is current. All you have to do to take advantage of this special offer is make note of this special price on your application or renewal.

For more information about this special offer, call (800) 899-2226.

Volunteer to Serve on an Exam Appeals Panel

AACN Certification Corporation is seeking volunteers to serve on its adult, pediatric and neonatal CCRN and CCNS Exam Appeals Panel. Between six and eight volunteers are needed for each.

Appeals Panel appointees, who review and deliberate exam appeals, work primarily through written and electronic correspondence and participate in several conference calls that can be taken from home or work.

These positions are part of AACN’s annual Call for Volunteers. The deadline to apply is March 1, 2002.

To apply complete the application on the back of the special pull-out section or visit the AACN Web site at http://www.aacn.org. Send the application, along with required support materials, to AACN, Attn: Volunteer Services, 101 Columbia, Aliso Viejo, CA 92656-4109; fax, (949) 448-5541; e-mail, stephanie.demiris@aacn.org or volunteers@aacn.org.

Chart a Course Toward Successful Certification

By Margaret M. Ecklund, RN, MS, CCRN, APRN-BC
Chair-Elect, AACN Certification Corporation Board of Directors

As the theme of AACN President Michael Williams, “Journey of Rediscovery: Looking In and Reaching Out,” the road to certification requires both internal reflection and external resources.

The decision to take a certification exam begins with recognizing the professional value of a certain credential. CCRN or CCNS certification may be motivated by admiration, direct experience or career planning. Whatever the reason, when you decide to move toward that goal, you must map out a successful route.

This journey follows different routes for different people. It may start with inquiry, perhaps talking with certified colleagues at work, at a conference or at a chapter meeting. Information about the successful paths others have taken can help you determine the type of vehicle you want to take on your journey. You may want to talk with a certification liaison in your area. You can locate liaisons by calling (800) 899-2226 or online at http://www.certcorp.org.

Following are some tips to pack for your journey:

• Start planning your journey months ahead of the date you are scheduled to arrive at your destination, the exam.
• Begin by assessing your knowledge. Resources, such as the exam blueprints outlining the content, are available on the AACN Certification Corporation Web site at www.certcorp.org. Make a list of your
areas of strengths and weaknesses so that you can concentrate your study where you need to.
• Attend a CCRN or CCNS review class. These local chapter and regional AACN programs are great sources of learning. Many of these can be found online at www.aacn.org > Education > Events or in your
AACN publications—American Journal of Critical Care, Critical Care Nurse and AACN News.
• Identify resources that will help you prepare for the examination. You can find many of these on the certcorp.org Web site, where you can also link directly to the online AACN Bookstore. AACN also offers
resources in the Clinical Practice area of its Web site. Other study tools can be located through AACN’s Practice Resource Network at (800) 394-5995, ext. 217, where clinical practice specialists will
recommend resources. These resources come in various formats, including texts, videotapes, audiotapes and CD-ROMs. Audiotapes are great to listen to in the car if you have a long work commute.
• Use examination review books to drill yourself once you have mastered the content. Correct answers provide positive reinforcement and incorrect ones help you identify areas that need more study.
• Download tips for taking the exam from the certcorp.org Web site. These tips can also be obtained through the AACN Fax-On-Demand service at (800) 222-6329. Request Document #8109. A complete list
of certification resources is also available through Fax On Demand. Request Document #8000.
• If some of your colleagues will be preparing for the examination, form a study group to help clarify ideas and gain shared knowledge and confidence. This approach works well if all the participants are
focused on passing the exam. Allowing the gatherings to become too social may detour your journey.
• Take advantage of the Internet. For distance learners, online continuing education may be the best way to gain knowledge. The Internet can also provide an important link for you and your colleagues to “study
and share” from a distance.
• If you choose to travel the certification path alone, seek out a mentor or coach who will provide you support and encouragement to continue despite obstacles and barriers.

Becoming certified will likely boost your esteem and professional stature. If your preparation journey leads you successfully to your destination, take time to celebrate your achievement with others, including your patients. Your success can inspire others.

However, if you missed a connection on your journey to certification, grieve only briefly. Then begin the journey of rediscovery again to identify strategies that will get you to your destination on time. Don’t give up. You can redirect your journey, using all the same resources.

I have never learned as much as I did in the four months I studied to take the CCRN exam. After successfully passing the exam, I found myself more confident to move to other challenges and to share this success with others.

Later in my career, I prepared for the Acute Care Nurse Practitioner exam, which I took within a year of graduating from my master’s program. Although the journey was different, it was also one of success and fulfillment. I proudly carry both credentials and share them with my patients and colleagues as I continue my professional journey.

What approaches and resources did you find useful in preparing for the certification exam? Help your colleagues who want to become certified by sharing your tips. Send your stories to AACN News, 101 Columbia, Aliso Viejo, CA 92656; e-mail, aacnnews@aacn.org; fax, (949) 362-2049.

Alumnus CCRN Designation Recognizes Service

AACN Certification Corporation is proud to announce the Alumnus CCRN designation, which will be formally available Jan. 1, 2001. As you are aware, many exemplary CCRNs often transition from bedside clinical care but remain in nursing in some other capacity. Until now, there has been no opportunity for these nurses to continue their affiliation with CCRN certification, which many expressed great pride in achieving.

These colleagues constitute an invaluable pool of talent, experience, history and loyalty to CCRN certification and have expressed willingness to serve in liaison or mentor roles for nurses who are considering becoming certified.

To answer the needs of this group of valued colleagues, the Alumnus CCRN program was developed.

To apply for this Alumnus CCRN designation, you must be moving from acute and critical care bedside practice to another role or specialty, with no intention of returning to acute and critical care bedside practice. You must have been a CCRN in good standing at some time in your career. Although the Alumnus CCRN designation can be used on resumes, it cannot be used after a signature or on an identification badge.

All Alumnus CCRNs will receive the monthly issues of AACN News and a certificate suitable for framing. In addition, a lapel pin denoting Alumnus CCRN status will be available for purchase.

To obtain the Alumnus CCRN application after Jan. 1, 2001, call (800) 899-2226 and request Item #8019 or Fax on Demand at (800) 222-6329 and request Document #8019; e-mail certcorp@aacn.org; or visit the AACN Certification Corporation Web site at http://www.certcorp.org. The fee for application renewal every three years is $75 for AACN members and $90 for nonmembers.

Is Your Practice Synergistic?

Do you apply the Synergy Model in your practice? Do the unique characteristics of your patients dictate the nursing competencies you use? If so, we would like to share your special stories in the “Synergy Model in Practice” feature in Critical Care Nurse. Send your stories to AACN Certification Corporation, Attn: Certification Specialist Liz Miller, RN, 101 Columbia, Aliso Viejo, CA 92656; e-mail, Liz.Miller@aacn.org.
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