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Certified Nurses Day is here again! In honor of this special day, DailyNurse interviewed Matt and Jesse Malone, a pair of married CCRNs whose shared nursing experience included working together on their certification.

How did you meet?

Matt: We first met early in my nursing career in 2005. I was working in the emergency department at Inspira Medical Center in Vineland, N.J., and Jesse was shadowing a fellow nurse and mutual friend, Jane, to see if nursing was for her.  Over the years we crossed paths a few more times, until I finally got the nerve up to ask her out on a date in 2010. We have been inseparable ever since. We were married in 2012 and now have two sons, Trevor and Bryce.

Did you decide to work toward your certification at the same time–or did you take turns? And how did that decision work out?

Matt: One summer day in 2017, Jesse brought home a flyer about a CCRN prep course being held in the fall. We had been talking about taking the exam for quite some time. A few days later, on my birthday, we found out we were pregnant with our first son, Trevor. That flyer was still on the counter and literally the next day, we said either we buckle down now and do this or it will be a long time until we get another chance to give it the preparation it deserves.

Jesse: That’s exactly what we did. Study, OB appointments, study, furnish the nursery, study, discuss baby names… it was a blur. We can’t forget our dog Rocco. He was a big help, serving as our practice patient from time to time. After listening to us for months, we joked he should sit for the test as well.

At 20 weeks, we wrapped up our own studying, attended a three-day prep course, and sat for the exam at the same time. We went into it promising each other if one of us didn’t pass the first time that we would treat it like we both didn’t pass and keep studying together.  Luckily we both passed on the first try!

What do you think are some of the benefits of being certified?

Jesse: One of the biggest benefits is the recognition that you are well versed in your area of specialty. Medical team members recognize the caliber of a person it takes to obtain national certification and respect your input on the care of the patient. It feels good when a physician specifically seeks you out in the ICU to ask questions.

Matt: Another large benefit is the doors it will open. Ever since I was an EMT before nursing school, I wanted to become a flight nurse. Most programs will not even schedule you for an interview until you are nationally certified. They recognize that it puts you one peg higher. It confirms you know the care needed to take care of the most critical patients. Thanks in part to my CCRN certification, I have been working my dream job as a flight nurse since 2018 and loving it.

What advice can you offer to nurses considering certification?

Jesse: Go for it! Yes- it’s scary, yes, it is time consuming, but it will all be worth it in the end. Do not let the material overwhelm you and get a study buddy if you can to prepare with you. Hardly anyone is an expert in every part of the content on those exams. Recognize your strengths, but even more important your weaknesses. Key in on those areas and improve your scores.

Matt: Exactly… recognize areas where you need to beef up your knowledge and keep tackling practice questions. Honestly, one of the biggest benefits in preparing for the CCRN exam was the fact we both agreed we became better nurses because of it. Brushing up our skills in those weak areas truly has made both of us better nurses.

How will you celebrate Certified Nurses Day?

Matt: Certified Nurses Day will be the perfect day to cash in on the massage gift cards (with babysitting included J)my mother gave us for Christmas. Every so often, it is important to take a few minutes to relax and unwind. Otherwise, you won’t be at the top of your practice for your patients, coworkers, family, or yourself.

For more information about Certified Nurses Day, visit here.

Koren Thomas

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