AACN News—December 2007—Certification

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Vol. 24, No. 12, DECEMBER 2007

CCRNs Celebrate Certification at Meridian Health

By Christine Hedges, RN, PhD, CCNS

Certified nurses at Meridian Health are (front row) Kathleen DeSpirito, Lori Rickert, Kelly Rubino, Nancy Fariello, (second row) Dawn Heath, Kristin Disandro, Gen Bahrt, Carolyn Sickler, (third row ) John Hanlon, Vernon Buntin, Kathy Day, Dan Hogan, Tana Whitney, Jenna Barto, Maryanne Unger and Catherine Loughery.

At Meridian Health (MH) Hospitals (Jersey Shore University Medical Center, Riverview Medical Center and Ocean Medical Center) in Monmouth and Ocean Counties, N.J., national certification is highly valued and supported. MH boasts a 41% certification rate among its 1,721 RNs, an impressive number given the national average for certification still stands at 11 to 13%.

Success can be attributed to a number of initiatives designed to reward and encourage the attainment of national certification. In addition to awarding a salary differential for up to two national certifications, MH nursing leaders took a bold stand to require national certification within two years for nurses hired on their “model of care” units. While this expectation is yielding significant increases in the numbers of certified nurses, MH nursing leaders realized that support was needed to overcome some commonly expressed barriers to achieving national certification. For example, fees are paid for certification review courses, many of which are offered on-site (for example, the CCRN review). Individual, on-site tutoring that focuses on test-taking strategies is offered by MH nursing faculty. Certification exam fees are reimbursed or paid up front so that costs are never a barrier to taking the exam. As a continued incentive, initial certification and renewal fees also are reimbursed.

Each unit celebrates in its own unique way when nurses become certified, but a sense of joy and pride is common to all. Many units frame individual certificates and display them on a wall of honor while others, such as the Cardio-Thoracic ICU at Jersey Shore University Medical Center, enter the names of CCRN certified nurses on the AACN plaque. The proud display signals to other nurses that certification is an expectation and is highly valued. Furthermore, it informs families of critically ill patients that their loved ones are being cared for by a highly competent, educated and skilled nursing staff. At Meridian Health, we are proud of our high rate of certified nurses and are on our way to accomplishing our goal of 100% certification!

(Hedges is a nurse researcher at the Ann May Center for Nursing, Meridian Health. She may be contacted at chedges@meridianhealth.com.)

Certification Roundtable Best Practices What’s Working for Promoting Certification

“The most influential thing I did to create a culture of certification on my unit was that I became certified. Being CCRN certified on my unit was basically nonexistent prior to spring 2006 when five of us took and passed the exam. Since then, I have presented the importance of certification to my co-workers during team day presentations.”

Do You Qualify for CCRN-E Status?

If your CCRN expired due to not meeting direct bedside hours because you were working exclusively or primarily in the remote ICU (virtual ICU) environment, you have until Dec. 31, 2007 to apply through the Review and Appeals Process to be reinstated under the CCRN-E status. For more information, refer to the CCRN-E Renewal Handbook at www.certcorp.org > What’s New.
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