Certified Nurses Day: Recounting Certification’s Impact

Mar 15, 2018

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In honor of Certified Nurses Day on March 19, acute and critical care nurses share how certification has influenced their practice.

ALISO VIEJO, Calif. – March 15, 2018 – Hospitals and healthcare groups, including the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN), will celebrate and recognize the essential work of certified nurses as part of Certified Nurses Day Monday, March 19.

Like many other professional credentials, nursing certification involves a willingness to test one’s knowledge, skills and abilities against national standards of excellence. Why do thousands of nurses choose to become certified each year, and thousands more renew their certifications? Here’s how some critical care and progressive care nurses describe the impact of being certified on their nursing practice:

“The process of setting a goal, reviewing, studying and keeping current, as well as the validation certification provides, definitely made me a more confident nurse. I’m more likely to take on tough patient care conversations with colleagues and care providers, and more likely to assert my opinion. And there is always something I pass along to colleagues that I initially learned as part of my certification journey,” said Michelle Garson, RN-BC, CCRN-CSC, PCCN-CMC, staff nurse in the Cardiac Recovery Unit at The Queen’s Medical Center, Honolulu.

“Our education and clinical staff work hand-in-hand to apply evidence-based practices at the bedside and deliver the best care possible to our patients. That means we all need top-notch knowledge and skills, and certification is an excellent way to validate our practice against national standards,” said Leslie Foran-Lee, MSN, RN, PCCN-K, advanced clinical educator at Virtua West Jersey Health System.

“The knowledge and confidence I had gained through preparation for my certification exam allowed me to discuss treatment and care with the cardiologist and other physicians on a higher level. I advocated for medications, temporary transvenous pacing and balloon pump therapy. I was able to benefit my patient and his family by providing expert cardiac critical care nursing to the best of my ability,” said Timothy Neff, RN, CCRN-CMC, cardiac critical care staff nurse at Franciscan Health Indianapolis.

Lifelong learning
“Certified nurses have inspired me to strive to be a better nurse and to become an expert in my chosen specialty. They have encouraged me to be open to all opportunities and to become a lifelong learner,” said Kathleen Stacy, PhD, RN, CCNS, CCRN-K, PCCN-K, clinical associate professor at the University of San Diego.

“Certified nurses go above and beyond. They challenge themselves professionally to stand among the best of the best. Their excitement when they successfully pass the exam is contagious. They inspire me to do more. I want all nurses to feel that inspiration,” said Deborah Hurley, DNP, RN, CCRN-K, CNL, senior clinical nurse leader at University of Rochester Medical Center-Strong Memorial Hospital.

Career opportunities
“Certification enables me to feel more satisfied with my career. It has opened doors to career opportunities that I might not have had otherwise and has introduced me to knowledgeable, compassionate nurse mentors and a community of nurses dedicated to delivering excellent care,” said Karen Kesten, DNP, APRN, CCRN-K, CCNS, CNE, associate professor at George Washington University School of Nursing and chair of the AACN Certification Corporation board of directors.

Mark of excellence
“Acute and critical care nurses need to practice to their highest potential and have the right knowledge, skills and abilities to care for really complex patients. Certification helps protect patients and families by ensuring nurses have these competencies. It’s a mark of excellence,” said Denise Buonocore, MSN, RN, ACNPC, CCNS, CCRN, CHFN, acute care nurse practitioner for Heart Failure Services at St. Vincent’s Medical Center and chair-elect for the AACN Certification Corporation board of directors.

According to data collected by the American Board of Nursing Specialties in 2016, more than 769,917 nurses in the United States and Canada held certifications. These certifications were granted by 28 certifying organizations and represent 144 different credentials.

Currently, more than 110,000 certified acute and critical care nurses hold AACN Certification Corporation’s credentials: CCRN, CCRN-K, CCRN-E, PCCN, PCCN-K, ACNPC, ACNPC-AG, CCNS, ACCNS-AG, ACCNS-P, ACCNS-N, CMC and CSC.

Certified Nurses Day is an annual worldwide event dedicated to celebrating certification as a means to help ensure high standards of patient care and to promote continuing excellence in the nursing profession. Initially proposed by the American Nurses Credentialing Center, the day honors the birthday of the late Margretta “Gretta” Madden Styles, an international pioneer in nursing certification and longtime friend of AACN and AACN Certification Corporation. Styles designed the first comprehensive study of nurse credentialing.

For more information about Certified Nurses Day, visit www.aacn.org/certnursesday.

About AACN Certification Corporation: AACN Certification Corporation, the credentialing arm of the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses, drives patient health and safety through comprehensive credentialing of acute and critical care nurses, ensuring practice consistent with standards of excellence. Since 1976, AACN Certification Corporation has granted more than 110,000 nursing certifications.

About the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses: Founded in 1969 and based in Aliso Viejo, California, the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) is the largest specialty nursing organization in the world. AACN represents the interests of more than half a million acute and critical care nurses and has more than 200 chapters throughout the United States. The organization’s vision is to create a healthcare system driven by the needs of patients and their families in which acute and critical care nurses make their optimal contribution.

American Association of Critical-Care Nurses, 101 Columbia, Aliso Viejo, CA 92656-4109; 949-362-2000; www.aacn.org; facebook.com/aacnface; twitter.com/aacnme