A Community of Exceptional Nurses
Creating a Culture of Certification - Heather Maude, Atlanta, Ga.
Creating a Culture of Certification - Cher Hagaman, Newport Beach, Calif.
View additional best practices on the AACN Certification Corporation webpage
Beginning in February, 2011, I will be giving my new hires an empty folder that contains inside pockets. The outside of the folder will have their name on it I let them know that the folder is to be used to collect documents to encourage them to reach for certification or to support advancing the clinical ladder.
They would keep items such as patient or peer letters, written encouragement about certification, etc. The response has been positive and they like the idea of gathering information.
Since becoming an AACN Member and receiving my CCRN certification in May, I was on a mission to increase our number of CCRN's within our level 1 trauma critical care unit at Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno, Calif.
I was inspired by the feeling of competency it gave me that I desperately wanted to share. That same month I applied to become an AACN Ambassador to further my ability to get our nurses certified.
With my ambassadorship I posted numerous posters and sent many emails on gaining membership with AACN while promoting certification. My annual goal was to increase our certified nurses from 42% (61 nurses in May) to 50% (73 nurses) by the end of the year. Using the group discount offered, I am very excited to say that I had 12 critical care nurses apply in August and have an additional 10 applications that will be submitted in November.
In addition, I have also attended local chapter meetings and have given posters, pens, and other pamphlets on the value of AACN membership and certification to other hospitals throughout the San Joaquin Valley.
My goal to increase our number of certified nurses from 42% to 50% within our ICU is part of my clinical nurse III goal worksheet done in July.
The 12 nurses that applied in August have until the middle of November this year to test. If all pass, I will have reached my annual goal however I am continuing my mission until we are 100% certified.
With this goal in mind I am forming quarterly groups of 10 or more and have almost finished a second group of applications to be completed by the end of November. These will test between January and March 2011.
In this group I have reached out beyond our ICU and have targeted areas such as CVU, burn, NICU and step-down (for their PCCN certification).
But as an AACN Ambassador in such a large hospital community, I feel it is my duty to continue reaching out to other hospital critical care units to increase awareness and promotion for AACN and to join as a member and certify in their expertise.
I started a PCCN study group with telemetry nurses. Many nurses had taken a review course months ago but had not taken the exam.
We are starting a 6-week review course with staff presenting the information obtained from the PCCN test guide. Other managers heard about the course and want their staff who are interested to participate also.
By the end of the six weeks all will have submitted an application to test. We will have created and developed a certification wall when testing completed.
Study group starting in two weeks with orientation and assignment of topics. No data to date.
I compiled current information following the CCRN blue print and created a presentation along with copies and handouts. Each body system ended with an interactive question-and-answer session with an anonymous audience response system.
Evaluations were very positive and 11 RNs are preparing for their CCRN certification exam at this time. My fellow educators also offer certification exams for their specialty areas.
Reporting of RNs passing the CCRN exam as many have and will continue to do so. We just finished a wave of certification review courses and have others scheduled.
The complete data is not yet available.
From the day that I volunteered to be our unit's first AACN Ambassador, I have represented AACN to our staff of 150 nurses. I an the go-to person for questions regarding AACN, CCRN and NTI.
I always encourage bulk membership to help decrease the cost. Over six years ago, I introduced the idea at our unit's leadership meeting that all of our charge nurses and clinical nurse IIIs should be CCRN-certified.
The idea was accepted and encouraged by our patient care manager. With funds from our ICU medical director, I purchased over $300 of CCRN study materials and started a lending library for our nurses.
When nurses pass their CCRN exam, I present them with a CCRN pin and CCRN pull-ID tag. Their names are engraved on our CCRN plaque displayed on the wall by our nurses front desk.
Our medical director just told us this week that he would pay for half of the CCRN test fees to encourage more CCRNs in our 2010 Beacon Award unit. Whoopie!
I am so pleased to tell you of our receiving the Beacon Award this year. I have worked in this unit for 29 years and feel blessed to work with such a high-caliber staff.
They always place their patient's first, work as a team, have good relationships with our interdisciplinary health team and have the full support from our unit patient care managers, clinical nurse specialist and ICU medical director.
The patient-focused, evidenced-based culture of our unit has been critical to the success that I have experienced in implementing our drive towards each nurse becoming CCRN certified.
It was a proud moment. One of my co-workers with 3 years experience and I, with 23 years experience, had a midnight chat about the value of being a CCRN and the value of being part of AACN.
She decided to join and asked for my member number to use as a reference. Three months later she passed her CCRN!
She never told me she was taking the test so my heart was filled with pride when I heard. It was such a proud moment that started from a 15-minute midnight talk.
I just bought her a special card to leave in her mailbox as a surprise from her mentor! It really is the little things sometimes.
Some of our critical care staff expressed an interest in becoming certified in critical care. To that end we established a CCRN seminar workshop.
We initially met once a month, but quickly realized that was too infrequent. Now we meet every two weeks, same time and same day of the week.
We answer review questions and discuss the rationale for the answers. As the ICU educator I serve as a moderator and a resource.
We began by answering questions based on body systems but I think this is going to change and we'll answer questions as they follow in our guide book. We started with 12 RNs signing up for the workshop but have had three — four consistently come at the biweekly meetings.
We're still quite new at this process so we're still feeling our way. Interest remains fairly consistent.
If we encountered a treatment, diagnosis or phrase no one in the group can identify we either look in my reference material or assign someone in the group to research it and report at the next meeting. This has worked well.
Our goal is to increase the number of CCRNs in the unit. Right now we are at three.
Our director has informed us she is willing to purchase study material in the form of CDs or books. The group has been charged to come up with some ideas of materials and how they will be used.
I am facilitating a study group for the CCRN exam that uses the DVD set from AACN. We have a 5-month plan of review and then an expectation that the nurse will take the exam in the first quarter of 2011.
I have also posted AACN posters to encourage staff members to join.
During our annual reviews, I discuss career and practice development. I also discuss certification and offer the staff member the certification information.
As a chapter board member, I worked to have a PCCN/CCRN review course and not just a CCRN review course. We now annually have a combination review course.
In addition, I make sure that my staff has an opportunity to attend.
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