AACN News—February 2009—Certification

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Vol. 26, No. 2, FEBRUARY 2009


Creating a Culture of Certification in a Neuroscience ICU



By Martha Heath Eggleston, RN, MS, CCRN, CCNS
Neuroscience CNS/Educator, Tampa General Hospital

Today, intensive care units are just that – intense. Providing increased care to patients, with fewer resources, has become accepted practice. With that in mind, finalizing the decision to sit for a certification exam requires increased dedication, determination and personal drive. Our Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit at Tampa General developed a culture of certification, despite these challenges.

Our unit experienced tremendous growth within a short period of time. Over two years, the unit expanded from 12 to 32 beds, and the size of the staff grew, which required a significant focus on education and orientation. Many newly hired nurses were first-time nurses, just out of school. Other nurses possessed little or no ICU experience. To address the issue of competency, certification became a goal, and we created a culture of certification throughout the unit.

To create this culture, it was important to recognize our currently certified nurses. Nurses earning their certification are formally recognized at each staff meeting. To encourage others toward certification, our unit maintains a bulletin board with printed applications for easy distribution. Exam fees and study materials are reimbursed directly by the hospital. Once certified, nurses are encouraged to proudly display their certification on their employee badge. Finally, a certification plaque, mounted along the ICU entrance, displays the name and certification(s) of each nurse.

Currently, we are hosting a 10-week CCRN study session hospital-wide with 22 qualifying nurses. Encouraging a culture of certification has created a sense of excitement, bonding and professional achievement among our staff.

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NTI and Certification Events – 2009


Certification Celebration Reception and Dinner

AACN Certification Corporation will celebrate certified nurses at our annual dinner. Nurses who hold current certification as an ACNPC, ACNP-BC, CCNS, CCRN, PCCN, CMC, CSC, CNML, CCRN or Alumnus CCRNs may attend. The celebration dinner will be held Tuesday, May 19, from 6:45 to 8 p.m. A cash bar will open at 5:45 p.m. to give you a chance to relax, chat with colleagues and enjoy a beverage before the dinner festivities begin. The event will include recognition, prize drawings and more. Tickets can be purchased with NTI registration or on-site at the Registration Desk. The dinner will be co-sponsored by Hill-Rom, in partnership with AACN Certification Corporation. Casual business attire is appropriate for the Certification Celebration.

Paper and Pencil Certification Exams

A paper and pencil version of the CCRN, PCCN, CCNS, ACNPC and CNML exams, as well as the CMC and CSC subspecialty exams, will be offered Monday, May 18 from 2 to 6 p.m., with a 1 p.m. check-in. Preregistration using a special NTI exam application is required for each applicant. The special NTI exam application may be obtained online at www.certcorp.org > Certification News or by calling (800) 899-2226 and requesting one via e-mail or mail. To be eligible, your special NTI exam application must be postmarked by Wednesday, April 1, 2009.

Certification Oasis

The Certification Oasis, co-sponsored by Clarian Health Partners in partnership with AACN Certification Corporation, provides ACNPC, ACNP-BC, CCNS, CCRN, PCCN, CNML, CMC and CSC certified nurses, and Alumnus CCRNs with a place to catch a quiet moment between sessions and enjoy light refreshments and conversation with colleagues. Individuals interested in attaining certification are welcome to stop in and speak with representatives of AACN Certification Corporation about our certification and renewal programs and other questions you may have about certification.

Creating a Culture of Certification: Best Practice Roundtable

This interactive mastery session on Tuesday, May 19, from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m., is designed to facilitate sharing of best practices in creating a culture of certification. Panelists will share their experience with innovative and successful strategies in moving organizations and individuals to excellence through nurse certification. Participants will also have an opportunity to debrief best practices and discuss potential implementation strategies and barriers in their own work setting. In addition, participants will share and learn from one another’s experiences with additional best practices for certification promotion.

Concurrent Session: Certification and Empowerment: Tips for Enhancing Your Influence

During this concurrent session, on Wednesday, May 20, from 2:15 to 3:30 p.m., Joyce Fitzpatrick, PhD, RN, FAAN, will focus on the components of empowerment that enhance the work environment for acute and critical care nurses. Data from a national study of AACN staff nurses will be presented, and practical applications will be discussed. Particular emphasis will be placed on enhancing nurse retention.

CCRN, CCNS, PCCN, CMC, CSC and CNML Exam Reviews

AACN will be offering preconferences to assist participants to prepare for the CCRN, CCNS, PCCN, CMC, CSC and CCRN examinations. Two-day Adult CCRN, Pediatric CCRN, PCCN, CSC and CMC exam review courses will be held Saturday, May 16 and Sunday, May 17. The CNML exam review course will be on Saturday, May 16, and the CCNS exam review course will be held Sunday, May 17.

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Full Implementation of Renewal by Synergy CERPs Only 11 Months Away


Are you working on CERPs in all categories: A, B and C? As of January 2010, Renewal by Synergy CERPs will be the renewal program for CCRN and PCCN certificants. Now is the time to ask questions. You will need a minimum of:

60 CERPs in Category A

10 CERPs in Category B

10 CERPs in Category C

Plus 20 more CERPs (in category of your choice: A, B or C)
Total of 100 CERPs for the 3-year renewal period

To learn more about Renewal by Synergy CERPs, visit www.certcorp.org > Certification News > CCRN & PCCN Renewal by Synergy CERPs. Resources include a fact sheet; PowerPoint slide presentation with narration; the Renewal Handbook with full details; a bookmark with handy references and definitions of categories; and a quick reference sheet of common topics and activities that meet requirements in each category.


CCRNs from University Medical Center, Lubbock, Texas, in front of their Certification Wall of Honor are (front row from left) Steven Locke,Young Moore, Robyn Williams, Whitney Miller, Carolina Al-Sheikh, (back row): Page Watkins, Neil Wolf, Genaro Marquez, Kristi Crofts, Alex Fowler and Grace Grooms. Twenty-five percent of the hospital’s critical care nurses are certified. For details about
creating a Wall of Honor at your hospital e-mail us at certification@aacn.org.

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