AACN News—June 2002—Certification

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Vol. 19, No. 6, JUNE 2002


Certification Corporation Welcomes New Leaders


New members of the AACN Certification Corporation Board of Directors will begin their duties July 1, when Margaret M. Ecklund, RN, MS, CCRN, CS, succeeds Elizabeth M. Nolan, RN, MS, CS, as chair.

Taking office with Ecklund are Suzanne S. Prevost, RN, PhD, chair-elect, and Directors Roberta Kaplow, RN, PhD, CCNS, CCRN, and Judy Verger, RN MSN CCRN.

The appointments by the AACN Board of Directors followed a nominating process in which representatives of AACN Certification Corporation screened, evaluated and interviewed prospective candidates for the national leadership positions.

Completing her term on the board is Wanda G. Wright, RN, DDS, who represents the consumer perspective. Returning to the board are Secretary-Treasurer Beth A. Glassford, RN, MSHA, CHE, and Mindy A. Hecker and Thomas L. Hickey, both representing consumer interests. Debbie Brinker, RN, MS, CCNS, CCRN, and Rebecca E. Long, RN, MS, CNS, will also serve on the board as the appointed representatives of the AACN Board of Directors.

Following is information about Ecklund, Prevost and the other newly appointed members of the AACN Certification Corporation Board of Directors:

Margaret M. Ecklund
Ecklund is an advanced practice nurse on a pulmonary step-down unit at Rochester General Hospital, Rochester, N.Y. Prior to becoming chair-elect, she was secretary of the AACN Board of Directors for three years and also served on the AACN Certification Corporation board for two years.

Ecklund began her nursing career in 1979. She has been certified as a CCRN since 1989.

An AACN member since 1987, Ecklund is also a member and former president of the Greater Rochester/Finger Lakes Chapter of AACN. In addition, she has been a representative to the National Kidney Foundation for the Creation of the Communication Document for Donor Recipient Families.

Suzanne S. Prevost
Prevost is a professor and the National HealthCare chair of excellence in nursing at Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, Tenn.

She is also consulting editor of Critical Care Nursing Clinics of North America.

Roberta Kaplow
Kaplow is the critical care nurse educator at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York City.

She has been an active volunteer with AACN and AACN Certification Corporation in a variety of roles, including as a member of the Adult CCRN Item Writers and Exam Development Committee. She has also served on the Chapter/Membership Award Review Panel and the Research Grants Review Panel.

A director of the New York City Chapter of AACN, she currently is the Chapter Advisory Team representative for Region 2.

Judy Verger
Verger is a teaching assistant in the School of Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania and a pediatric critical care nurse practitioner in the pediatric ICU at Children�s Hospital of Philadelphia.

She is a member of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Chapter of AACN. Verger has been an active AACN volunteer, having served on the Research Review Panel, NTI Work Group, Advanced Practice Work Group, AACN Online Continuing Education Item Writer and Pediatric Advisory Team.

Certified Critical Care Nurses Share Three Gifts

AACN Certification Corporation Chair Elizabeth
Nolan (left) joins speaker Therese Richmond
at the annual Certification Luncheon at the NTI.
Richmond�s presentation was cosponsored by
Nabi Biopharmaceuticals. Atrium Medical
Corporation provided the traditional mugs.


Certified critical care nurses are modern-day heroes because their skills allow them to help patients and families through some of the most difficult times of their lives, Therese Richmond, RN, PhD, CRNP, CS, FAAN, said at the annual Certification Luncheon during NTI 2002 in Atlanta, Ga.

�Heroes aren�t gods, they are human beings just like everyone else. But when they start their heroic journey, they are given three gifts,� said Richmond, an associate professor of trauma and critical care nursing at the University of Pennsylvania. �These three gifts are absolutely important. In fact, they�re critical to our journey as heroes in critical care.�

Gift of Knowledge
The first of these gifts, she said, is the depth and breadth of knowledge that the profession requires.

�You all have this first gift,� she said. �You�re all certified, and that�s why you�re here today. This gift of knowledge that we work so hard for, that we study so hard for, is a gift that we give ourselves.�

When Richmond asked for a show of hands, most participants indicated that they became certified to be the best nurse they could and to help their patients.

�I really think it comes down to I want to be the best that I can be, and my patients absolutely deserve it. What an absolutely wonderful reason,� she said. �It doesn�t matter if you�re a CCRN or a certified acute care nurse practitioner. It always comes down to the same thing, our patients. Our patients deserve it.�

Certified nurses also need to encourage and help their colleagues who are not certified attain more knowledge.

�For heroes to be truly heroic, we have to give our gift to a deserving person,� Richmond said.

Gift of Caring
Richmond said the gift of caring doesn�t come until the first gift is in place.

�Caring is what the knowledge lets us do. As certified nurses, we have solid knowledge. We can now put our energy into other things. Because that knowledge is solid, our energy can go elsewhere,� Richmond said.

Invitation Into Lives
Richmond said the third gift is the most extraordinary.

�We really can�t get this third gift until we get the knowledge and caring under our belt,� she said. �The third gift is a wonderful invitation that we are given to walk into the lives of patients and families during the most vulnerable points of their lives.�

Richmond praised certified nurses for remembering that times of illness and suffering are the very difficult times for patients and families.


Nolan Reviews Achievements of Past Year; Reaffirms Commitment to Certified Nurses

AACN Certification Corporation has made important strides the past year, with even more exciting projects on the horizon, Elizabeth M. Nolan, RN, MS, CS, chair of the corporation�s Board of Directors, told 1,430 nurses gathered for the annual Certification Luncheon at the NTI in Atlanta, Ga.

Ensuring that the strategic plan of AACN Certification Corporation reflects the needs of nurses and is relevant to today�s workplace environment has been the goal the past year, she said.
�We are firmly dedicated to building awareness and recognition for your credentials,� Nolan said. �By working together, we can make certification the norm in our critical care units and ensure that certified nurses are properly recognized and compensated for their commitment to excellence.

�By sharing what we know about the distinction and advantages certification provides us, our hospitals and patients, we move closer to making our vision a reality.�

The luncheon was attended by CCRNs, CCNSs and ACNPs. After acknowledging the years of continuous commitment by CCRNs attending the luncheon, including Diane Ogren, RN, CCRN, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., who has been certified since 1973, Nolan outlined some of the accomplishments of the year:

� A contract with a new testing service, Applied Measurement Systems, has improved customer service, especially because of the ability to provide candidates official results on site, immediately after testing.
� The comprehensive study of practice survey was launched. Results will help ensure the relevance of the current certification exams and guide future test development.
� The Alumnus CCRN program was established in response to the expressed desire by those transitioning from bedside clinical care to another role for a way to retain certification in some form. Many in this valuable pool of talent, experience, history and loyalty will mentor and coach nurses considering certification.
� The Value of Certification initiative continues through a variety of activities. A key influencer survey will gauge the perceptions of employers, consumers, insurers and legislators regarding certification. Development of a certification �white paper� will serve to educate these key influencers about critical care certification so that they can recognize, reward and champion the certification credential.
� The CCRN Liaison program was so successful that the concept has been expanded and is now known as the AACN-CCRN Ambassador program. The CCRN liaisons are now part of a significant force of more than 1,400 ambassadors. Our goal is to have at least one ambassador in every hospital in the country to be a voice for certification and a resource for staff pursuing certification.

She noted that the strategic goals of the corporation are to ensure standards-based, quality programs, define and validate outcomes of certification, promote the value of certification, ensure responsive organizational infrastructure and effectively manage financial resources. Achieving these goals will ensure that the CCRN and CCNS certification credentials continue to represent excellence in critical care nursing.

A Final Word
In his opening session address at the NTI, AACN President Michael Williams, RN, MSN, CCRN, focused on his theme of �A Journey of Rediscovery: Looking In and Reaching Out.� Throughout the past year in AACN News, several nurses shared their journey in becoming certified, reflecting on why they became certified and what helped make them successful in this endeavor. Their reflections sparked an interest in members who now plan to try similar strategies on their own certification journey. At the NTI closing session, incoming President Connie Barden, RN, MSN, CCNS, CCRN, shared her theme of �Bold Voices: Fearless and Essential.� The bold voice of certified nurses that were heard in AACN News this past year must continue.

Incoming AACN Certification Corporation Chair Margaret Ecklund, RN, MS, CCRN, CS, is certainly a bold voice, who is known in the Rochester, N.Y., area through her frequent letters to the editor of her local newspaper. She is also an astute and expert listener, who will welcome your input, thoughts and questions. Make your voice heard by sharing your comments and ideas regarding certification. Send your comments to AACN News, 101 Columbia, Aliso Viejo CA 92656; fax, (949) 362-2049; e-mail, aacnnews@aacn.org.


Offer Expires June 30: CCRN Exam Fee Discounted for Groups of 3 or More

It�s not too late to take advantage of the special CCRN exam discount. The offer for three or more candidates to apply as a group to take the adult, pediatric or neonatal exam expires June 30.

The discounted exam fee is $175 for AACN members and $255 for others, saving each applicant $45. Co-applicants are not required to take the exam at the same time.

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.
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