AACN News—July 2003—Certification

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Vol. 20, No. 7, JULY 2003

Certification Luncheon Celebrates Achievements
Spotlight Shines on the Value of Certified Practice

Judith "Ski" Lower (left) and Margaret Ecklund addressed participants at the annual Certification Luncheon during NTI.

The achievements of critical care nurses in attaining and maintaining certification were celebrated at the 2003 Certification Luncheon during NTI 2003 in San Antonio, Texas, Margaret Ecklund, RN, MS, CCRN, APRN-BC, 2002-03 chair of the AACN Certification Corporation Board of Directors, welcomed the approximately 1,500 certified CCRNs, CCNSs and ACNPs who attended and provided an overview of what the corporation has accomplished and plans for the future.

Making Progress
Ecklund highlighted several accomplishments for AACN Certification Corporation the past year:� A 50% increase in new candidates for the CCRN exam
� Release of the certification "white paper" on the state of nurse certification and its links to nurse recruitment and retention, and to patient safety
� The study of practice of more than 4,500 nurses in critical care, the results of which will guide the content of existing and future exams to ensure that they continue to be reflective of practice
� Online access to a 50-question, self-assessment exam to
help nurses prepare for the
CCRN exam
� Online CCRN renewal process

On the Horizon
Looking ahead, Ecklund outlined future plans. She noted that the corporation"s five-year plan provides for developing new exams to meet the growing demand for further specialization. In addition, the CCRN exam is being updated to reflect current practice. She said plans are to develop a progressive care exam and a subspecialty certification program, the first of which will be for cardiovascular surgical critical care nurses and cardiology specialized nurses. She also noted that the corporation is exploring development of an advanced practice nurse practitioner exam, an entry-level exam and additional subspecialty certifications.

Safe Environments
Ecklund then introduced special speaker Judith "Ski" Lower, RN, MSN, CCRN, CNRN, nurse manager of the neuroscience CCU and neurovascular ICU at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. Her presentation, titled "Safe, Quality, Compassionate Care: A Reality?," focused on strategies to ensure a safe working environment where quality, compassionate care can be delivered.

Saying that the top issue facing critical care nurses is a toxic work environment, Lower noted that revenue-focused hospitals try to operate at 100% capacity, yet staff their units as if 75% of the beds are occupied. The result is that the nursing staff is accepting patients, though they may not be able to appropriately accommodate them.

"We are putting patients first, self-sacrificing, and it"s getting us into trouble," she said. "We need to look at the consequences of what we are doing.

"The thing that has caused the biggest challenge for me and for our patients is that we do not have the resources we need for our patients," she said. "Our workload interferes with our ability to monitor our patients."

Seeking Partners
Lower suggested ways to improve the environment within a unit. For example, she said standards of care within a unit should be evaluated and discussed with attending physicians, and objective criteria should be developed for deciding when available resources do not match what is needed.

Partnering with triage physicians on making decisions concerning the number of beds to fill and other aspects of care can help in that process. Additional help in making decisions regarding standards of care can be attained from hospital and organizational ethics committees, she said.

Lower"s appearance was cosponsored by Nabi Biopharmaceuticals. Atrium Medical Corp. again provided the commemorative Certification Luncheon coffee mugs.

Volunteers Make Significant Contributions to Certification

Volunteers make significant contributions to the work of AACN Certification Corporation. The following nurses have accepted appointments to CCRN and CCNS appeals panels:

CCRN Appeals Panel Adult
Pamela Bradshaw, RN, BSN, PhD, CCRN, CNA, Henry Geiter, RN, ADN, CCRN, Carol Knauff, RN, MSN, CCRN, Tujuana Land, RN, ADN, CCRN, Margaret McNeill, RN, MS, CCRN, CCNS, Justin Milici, RN, ADN, CCRN, CEN, CFRN, Jane Miller, RN, BSN, CCRN, Joyce Roth, RN, MSN, CCRN, CNA, Lynn Simko, RN, PhD, CCRN, Elliot Stetson, RN, BS, MSN, CCRN, Tracey Stover-Wall, RN, BSN, CCRN, CEN, CFRN, EMT, Karen Todd, RN, BSN, CCRN, R. Scott Weyland, RN, BSN, CCRN, CEN

CCRN Appeals Panel Neonatal
Lou Ann Montgomery, RN, MA, PhD, CCRN, CCNS

CCRN Appeals Panel Pediatric
Eileen Briening, RN, MSN, CCRN, NP, Linda Esposito, RN, BS, BSN, CCRN, Annette Fleck, RN, BSN, CCRN, Fran Iacobellis, RN, MS, MSN, CCRN

CCNS Appeals Panel
Linda Ikuta, RN, MN, CCNS, PHN, Mark Pavlick, RN, ADN, BS, CCRN, Mary Lou Sole, RN, PhD, CCRN, CCNS, FAAN

Connecticut OK Brings Total of States Recognizing CCNS Certification to 22

Connecticut has joined the list of states that now recognize CCNS certification as meeting the criteria for advanced practice nursing designation or licensure.

The state boards of nursing in Alabama, California, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin have already either approved the CCNS exam, or listed AACN Certification Corporation as an approved certification body. Some states, including New Mexico and Virginia, accept the CCNS exam but do not use a formal approval process.

Note: Certification obtained through AACN Certification Corporation is a voluntary process and is intended to test only for specialized knowledge. AACN Certification Corporation is not authorized to define qualifications of any person for nursing practice. The significance of certification in any jurisdiction is dependent on the statutes in that jurisdiction, and it is the individual candidate"s responsibility to contact the appropriate state board of nursing to obtain information pertaining to licensure requirements.

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