BCEN 2020 Winners Extol Value of Board-Certified Nurses in Pandemic

BCEN 2020 Winners Extol Value of Board-Certified Nurses in Pandemic

The importance of board certification was a key theme when two clinical nurse educators—one from California, the other from New Jersey—received this year’s BCEN 2020 Distinguished Awards. Each year, the Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing (BCEN) honors an emergency nurse and a pediatric ED nurse for combining outstanding clinical work with successful advocacy on behalf of specialized board certification, and Lisa Chambers and Jude Lark do indeed stand out.

Board certification pays off: BCEN 2020 award winner Lisa Chambers
CPEN Lisa Chambers

The 2020 Distinguished CPEN Award winner is Lisa Chambers, MSN, MPS, RN, CEN, CPEN, TCRN, an emergency services/trauma clinical educator, and clinical nurse III at CHOC Children’s Hospital in Orange, California. Described as “One of CHOC Children’s finest,” who “passionately guides frontline staff in integrating knowledge, skill, and behaviors to improve nursing practice and patient care” by Melanie Patterson, DNP, MHA, RN, vice president of patient care services and chief nursing officer at CHOC Children’s, Chambers is proud of her staff’s determination to become board-certified during the pandemic. Far from being slowed down by COVID-19, she notes that “In fact, six of our nurses got certified as soon as the testing centers reopened. We had certification after certification. To me, that just showed they were using their time to push themselves.”

Board certification pays off: BCEN 2020 award winner Jude Lark
CEN Jude Lark

The 2020 Distinguished CEN Award winner is Jude Lark, BSN, RN, CEN, CCRN, an emergency services clinical nurse educator at Atlantic Health System’s Overlook Medical Center in Summit, New Jersey. Lark is “the consummate emergency department nurse—proficient, professional and compassionate—and is highly deserving of this national recognition,” said MaryPat Sullivan, MSN, RN, CNS, the chief nursing officer for Overlook Medical Center. Lark’s team was an inspiration during this eventful year: “In 42 years of critical care nursing, I have never seen anything like what we experienced in the emergency department and critical care units across New Jersey. Our board-certified nurses used their knowledge of best practices and the most updated skills to help facilitate and drive the innovative practices and adaptations we had to quickly develop for our COVID patients, and for each other, too.” She added, “Over the past six years, we have increased our certified nurses by 52%!”

Lark also remarked upon the way board-certified nurses took the lead during the pandemic, noting that “board-certified nurses really helped with that advanced level of thinking and effective utilization of CDC guidelines and ENA current COVID practice and trends, and in collaborating with our other sites. I actually have chills, because I think of all the emergency nurses and what they went through, while also taking care of each other.”

The BCEN site includes full interviews with Lisa Chambers and Jude Lark.

ED nurses seeking information on becoming board-certified should visit the BCEN site. Details on preparing for emergency nurse certification and other nursing certifications are available at Nurses Get Certified.

BCEN White Paper: Certification Can Improve Patient Outcomes, Job Satisfaction, Salary

BCEN White Paper: Certification Can Improve Patient Outcomes, Job Satisfaction, Salary

The benefits of certification can include “greater career success and satisfaction including higher pay, greater opportunity for advancement, and higher employability as well as higher self-efficacy,” according to a report by the Board of Certification for Emergency Nurses (BCEN). In sum, says BCEN executive director Janie Schumaker, “Certification instills confidence, boosts engagement and ownership, and enhances collaboration and communication, all of which contribute to better, safer care.”

The BCEN paper points to studies that indicate certified nurses tend to raise the level of patient care. Certification researcher Diane K. Boyle, PhD, RN, FAAN, a professor at the University of Wyoming’s Whitney School of Nursing, comments, “Research-based evidence shows that there is a link between certified nursing practice and better patient outcomes and increased patient satisfaction. We also have beginning evidence that the higher the proportion of certified nurses there is on a unit, the better the outcomes.” By studying for certification, explains Marianne Horahan, of the American Nurses Credentialing Center, “Nurses fill in knowledge gaps as they study the entire body of knowledge for their specialty… The employer benefits by having nurses on staff who are up to date on the latest in their specialty practice.”

The BCEN report found widespread support for the certification of emergency nurses within the profession itself and among physicians. In the largest study to date, 92% of emergency nurse supervisors stated that it was important to have Certified Emergency Nurses (CENs) in their institution and that overall, CENs were preferred for their clinical expertise, technical performance, accuracy, safety and ethics. Often, hospitals support certification by offering an honorarium. In Illinois, for example, the emergency physicians at Edward-Elmhurst Health established an honorarium program for board certified RNs in 2006, with nurses receiving $1,000 for initial certification and $500 when they recertify. The hospital’s Emergency Services Chair, Dr. Tom Scaletta, calls the cash rewards “A small investment when you look at the improved relationships, improved patient safety and the message of appreciation we’re sending. It is worth every penny when it comes to ensuring nurses have the knowledge to care for our patients.” And, high-quality care is of course the ultimate goal. With a board certified nurse, says Richard E. Hawkins, the president and CEO of the American Board of Medical Specialties, “Patients can be confident that those treating them have the skills and knowledge… and are uniquely qualified to provide the best care possible.”

For information on how to obtain certification, visit the BCEN site or see Nurses Get Certified.

The Path to Board Certification for Emergency Nursing

The Path to Board Certification for Emergency Nursing

With the country in chaos during the spread of the coronavirus, we’ve published many stories on how to deal with it in various ways. But in addition to dealing with it now, this experience may have gotten you thinking about your career in the future—especially with emergency services.

While the Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing (BCEN) will celebrate its 40th anniversary this coming July, we interviewed its leader now to give you information that you may want if you’re contemplating moving into this kind of work and want to know about the Board Certifications available and how to get them.

Janie Schumaker, MBA, BSN, RN, CEN, CENP, CPHQ, FABC, is the Executive Director of the BCEN, which is based in Oak Brook, Illinois. She answered our questions about what board certification for emergency nursing means and how to go about it.

What is the importance of being board certified as opposed to simply earning another kind of certification?

Holding a board certification vs. earning a certificate are often confused and misunderstood.

A board certification, like for example BCEN’s Certified Emergency Nurse (CEN ®) or Trauma Certified Registered Nurse (TCRN®) designation, is an earned credential that demonstrates the individual’s specialized knowledge and skills across an entire specialty body of knowledge. Certification is awarded by a third-party organization, like the Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing, and high-quality programs are accredited by an organization such as the Accreditation Board for Specialty Nurse Certification (ABSNC).

Individuals receive their certification after meeting strict eligibility requirements and successfully completing a rigorous national certification examination. In addition, board certifications have ongoing requirements that must be met to maintain the credential, ensuring the holder is sustaining their level of expertise. Certifications are nationally recognized and are appropriately included with the earner’s signature along with their academic credentials.

Where board certification is about validating mastery across a specialty, a certificate and other instruction-based certifications importantly help nurses acquire focused knowledge and skills. Examples of certificates are Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) or Trauma Nursing Core Course (TNCC™).

Board certification is the highest professional credential a nurse can earn, and being board certified demonstrates a commitment to one’s career, patients, and organization.

How do nurses earn this?

Earning a board certification from BCEN requires an unrestricted U.S. RN license or equivalent. Just recently, we announced a new international candidate process that for nurses educated and/or practicing outside the U.S. We recommend that a nurse has two years of practice in the specialty area before sitting for that exam. When ready, nurses complete an application to sit for the exam, chose a testing time and site that works for them, and then take the test on the specified day. Of course, there is much preparation that is necessary prior to the exam.

If nurses think they might be interested in becoming board certified, what do they need to do?

Nurses who are interested in becoming board certified should incorporate preparation into their career plans early. Often it is required or recommended nurses have a certain amount of time working in their specialty area—for example, 2 years.

Start by researching the nursing specialty certification board that provides the credential in your specialty area. Take a look at their website. They will have a candidate handbook that explains eligibility and testing. Each certification exam has a test blueprint or content outline. This is very helpful in determining what to expect on the exam and what to study.

Many certification boards also provide a list of reference books used to create their exams. These can be very helpful to know what resources to use to study. Another thing that is highly effective is for nurses interested in certification to form a study group and prepare for the exam together.

Nurses interested in certification should also ask their employers about the support and resources they offer. Many employers value the impact certified nurses make in the workplace and offer support in various forms. Membership in a professional association can mean you qualify for a discount on certification and recertification fees.

[BCEN’s resource page, which includes everything from content outlines to test anxiety resources is here. Their resource page for students is here.]

A Certified Team: Married CCRNs Share Their Story

A Certified Team: Married CCRNs Share Their Story

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.

Magnet Status: Superior Care or Marketing Gimmick?

Magnet Status: Superior Care or Marketing Gimmick?

Some nurses charge the program has strayed from its original mission

Like many nurses, Alene Nitzky, PhD, RN, went into nursing because she wanted to help people. She had moved through the U.S. healthcare system as both a patient and an advocate, and wanted to draw from her experience to deliver quality, compassionate care to others.

She joined a Magnet hospital in her hometown that was recognized for “nursing excellence” and high-quality patient care.

But the longer she worked there, the more she felt that Magnet status was less about supporting nurses and providing the best care, and more about hospital marketing and profits.

“I felt like all they wanted from me was to hang bags of chemo and keep my mouth shut,” Nitzky told MedPage Today. “I felt I had no future there, that my skills and abilities beyond that were not valued.”

Nitzky acknowledged clashing with management and eventually leaving the hospital, but her concerns about Magnet status were shared by several nurses contacted by MedPage Today. Many similarly acknowledged a lack of autonomy, excessive documentation, and understaffing issues that detracted from the original intentions of Magnet. But some also felt that the program’s value depended on its execution by management — thus varying widely from hospital to hospital.

Principles of Magnetism

Magnet status is awarded to hospitals that meet a set of criteria designed to measure nursing quality by the American Nurses’ Credentialing Center (ANCC), a part of the American Nurses Association (ANA).

It was developed in the early 90s to help hospitals attract and retain nurses during a nursing shortage spurred by poor working conditions, partially due to the introduction of managed care organizations. In response to increasing pressure about the cost of care, hospitals reduced staffing and implemented mandatory overtime. For bedside nurses, this meant an increased workload and less control over scheduling, without a bump in pay.

To combat those challenges and boost the nursing profession’s image, ANCC developed the Magnet designation program, based on a 1983 ANA survey of 163 hospitals, deriving its key principles from the hospitals that had the best nursing performance. The prime intention was to help hospitals and healthcare facilities attract and retain top nursing talent, foster a collaborative culture, and empower nurses to deliver better patient care — ultimately improving clinical outcomes.

Pursuing Magnet status varies from hospital to hospital, but on average it takes a little more than 4 years to achieve, and it needs to be renewed every 4 years.

As of 2016, a total of 445 hospitals had achieved Magnet status, an increase from 387 five years earlier. Notably, U.S. News & World Report‘s top five hospitals of 2017 — the Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, Massachusetts General Hospital, Johns Hopkins Hospital, and UCLA Medical Center — have all pursued Magnet designation.

Repulsed by Magnet

But several nurses told MedPage Today that the program has strayed from its original mission.

“I think that the original intent of Magnet was good, but that intention is completely lost,” said Sara Koeller, RN, BSN, a California-based nurse who has worked at both Magnet and non-Magnet hospitals. “The overall thing is to get a banner in front of hospital which says we are Magnet status and no one really knows what it means — even the nurses in the hospital.”

Chief among their concerns was that Magnet limited nurses’ independence and flexibility in practice. Nitzky said bedside nurses at Magnet hospitals often don’t have time to think; instead they go through the motions, doing the minimum in hands-on care.

“Nurses do not have autonomy,” she said. “They are railroaded into yes-men and yes-women, ‘Stepford’ nurses who simply function according to the mandates and requirements put on them by the administration.”

Koeller agreed that nurse happiness and critical thinking skills aren’t paramount. She said her hospital often focuses less on patient-centered care and more on technology.

A recent column by MedPage Today contributor Milton Packer, MD, echoed those frustrations with the Magnet system, which Packer experienced first-hand during a relative’s 5-day stay in a Magnet hospital. He said nurses did everything by the book, regardless of whether it made sense.

From taking vital signs to responding to personal needs, he noted that “every movement had been dictated in advance. Every word used in communications had been pre-approved. Forms needed to be checked, whether or not they had relevance. But the really important questions were never asked.”

“Instead of spending time with patients, nurses sit in front of computers,” Packer wrote. “Instead of interacting with patients according to their needs, nurses simply ask formulaic questions that are dictated by the Magnet program. The process takes up all of their time. And their compliance with the process is the only thing that matters.”

While Magnet status is supposed to symbolize better working conditions, nurses still work 12-hour shifts and are expected to take on a huge burden of electronic documentation for the program, Nitzky said. And since hospitals frequently understaff their nursing, the extra burden often leads to not having enough time for real lunch breaks or regrouping during hectic rounds, she said.

Gerard Brogan, lead nursing practice representative for National Nurses United (NNU), the nation’s largest union and professional association of registered nurses, called Magnet designation a “commercial product,” and argued that it’s part of a strategic effort to deregulate the profession.

“The ANA has decided to back the healthcare industry over the bedside nurse,” Brogan told MedPage Today, adding that Magnet promotes short-term financial incentives that drive hospitals to cut costs and skimp on nursing requirements.

Many nurses contacted by MedPage Today complained that hospitals viewed Magnet merely as a marketing tool. Though they went through the certification process, they ultimately did little to support a thriving nursing culture.

“They hire a team of people to go through the program and make the changes in the hospital, to check a box and please the Magnet people, but as soon as they get it, the chief nursing officer is fired,” said Sandy Summers, RN, MSN, MPH, founder and executive director of the Truth About Nursing, a nonprofit organization that raises awareness about the role of nurses in modern healthcare.

“All the changes that the hospital went through to increase professionalism, performance, and vision are reduced and it becomes clear that it was all window dressing and they weren’t interested in changes,” she said.

Nitzky said when Magnet inspectors left her hospital, it would go “back to business as usual, finding workarounds for any promises of nurse/patient staffing ratios, gutting committees where direct-care nurses had a voice.”

Who Benefits?

Hospitals shell out about $2 million for initial Magnet certification, and pay nearly the same amount for re-certification every 4 years — an obvious money-maker for the ANCC and the ANA. The organizations did not respond to a MedPage Today query about total annual revenue from Magnet.

Magnet status is also a good return-on-investment for hospitals. A study by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found that achieving Magnet status not only pays for itself, but actually increases hospital revenue down the line. On average, Magnet hospitals received an adjusted net increase in inpatient income of about $104 to $127 per discharge after earning Magnet status, amounting to about $1.2 million in revenue each year.

Jeff Doucette, DNP, RN, vice president of the Magnet Recognition Program at ANCC, spoke with MedPage Today about the Magnet program, but declined to comment about nurses’ aforementioned complaints.

He had previously sent Packer an email in response to his column noting that patients and nurses should “share these concerns directly with executive leaders at the organization and allow them to investigate. Then they will be given the opportunity to make the necessary changes to ensure the service breakdowns can be corrected.”

Still an Attractor

Doucette’s comments parallel the sentiments of other nurses who said the program’s execution varies widely by hospital.

Susan O’Brien, MS, RN, PCCN, has 41 years of hospital experience and has worked at both Magnet and non-Magnet hospitals. One Magnet hospital where she worked was keenly focused on exceptional patient care and had been recognized with national awards.

“The employees and leadership lived the mission,” O’Brien told MedPage Today. “The leadership in the hospital was committed to staffing ratios that allowed the patient to receive the care that the patient should and the [nurse] wanted to deliver.”

Data about quality were prominently displayed in the hospital for all to see, including patients, their families, and staff, O’Brien said. And the hospital was committed to ensuring staff had the education and equipment to do their job well.

Summers agreed that delivering on the mission of Magnet depends on the institution.

“When going through the program with good intentions, it is a way to transform the hospital to one where nurses are stronger and more included in decision making,” she said. “Those nurses are much happier and confident, and the care they deliver is better. When people feel like respected professionals, they act like respected professionals.”

What Do the Data Say?

There’s no consensus in the literature as to whether Magnet status has an impact on nurse retention or on clinical outcomes.

Last month, a study of a single hospital found that nurses who worked there 2 years after it lost its Magnet designation reported significantly lower work engagement than those who worked there under Magnet status. Similarly, a 6-year-old study found that Magnet hospitals provide better work environments and a more highly educated nursing workforce than non-Magnet hospitals.

A 2010 study, however, found no significant difference in working conditions between Magnet and non-Magnet hospitals.

The clinical outcomes literature is similarly equivocal: one study from 2013 found that Magnet hospitals have 14% lower mortality and 12% lower failure-to-rescue rates than non-Magnet hospitals. But a 2011 study showed that non-Magnet hospitals generally had better patient outcomes than Magnet hospitals.

Regardless of whether they work at a Magnet hospital or not, nurses are likely to face continued pressure as hospital administrators focus on keeping costs down, Summers said.

But Nitzky still channeled the blame on Magnet: “What we really need is a massive sit-down strike of all physicians and nurses who work under these oppressive conditions to band together and say, enough. This is not healthcare. This is a profit-generating scheme that preys on direct caregivers and the uninformed public.”

This story was originally posted on MedPage Today.

Celebrating Certified Nurses Day

Celebrating Certified Nurses Day

In honor of Certified Nurses Day, we reached out to nurses who have earned certification to find out why they love being certified.

As you’ll see their answers are varied: some are glad to have the additional knowledge, some are proud of the accomplishment, and some like being able to have varied skills to help support patients and the nursing field as a whole.

What follow are just some of the quotes that we received. Some were edited, but only for length and/or clarity—we didn’t change the ideas expressed.

Certified Nurses Day

“Being certified in rehabilitation nursing benefits our patients and families with a documented level of knowledge and shows our commitment to patient care. It also benefits our coworkers as they have a mentor who can advise and support them with their patients and families.”

—Barbara Hennigan, BSN, RN, CRRN; Nurse Manager, Comprehensive Medical Rehabilitation Unit; University of Maryland Rehabilitation & Orthopaedic Institute

“Certification opened doors for me by allowing my supervisors to trust me enough to teach competencies and mentor new nurses. My supervisors trusted my nursing and clinical judgment enough for me to become a valued resource on our cardiac unit. Certification allowed me the opportunity to climb our clinical nurse ladder, which also provided an additional monetary component.”

—Kendra Armstrong, MSN, RN, ACNPC-AG, PCCN; acute care nurse practitioner; Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital; Albany, Georgia (Provided by AACN.)

“Nursing certification helps me provide the highest level of care to patients during some of the most vulnerable moments of their lives. Knowing that my certification provided me the skill set and knowledge to have meaningful effects on people’s lives is both rewarding and humbling.”

—Shentelle Parker, RN, BSN, TNCC; ICU Nurse; Southeast Louisiana Veterans Care System

“Certification offers me a sense of personal accomplishment and validates my knowledge, skills, and clinical judgment in my specialty area.”

—Robin Colchagoff, MSN, RNC-OB, C-EFM; Director, Clinical Nursing Practice; University of Maryland Capital Region Health

“Becoming a certified nurse affirmed my nursing knowledge within my specialty of practice, Critical Care. Since becoming certified, I have joined my professional organization and have an easier time staying up to date with new evidenced-based practices by reading publications distributed by AACN. I have also encouraged many of my peers to pursue certifications in their specialties, too. I proudly wear my “Nationally Certified RN” badge as a reminder of my dedication to provide the best possible care I can to Every Patient, Every Encounter, Every day!”

—Tracy Kline, MSN, RN, PCCN; Direct Care Nurse, Intermediate Care Unit; University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health

“Being certified is a validation of my commitment, experience, and clinical expertise. I am proud to work along with my fellow certified nurses every day. It is a constant reminder and reassurance to our patients and family members that they are receiving the highest quality care. Certified nurses are determined professionals who invest in their professional and personal growth – they inspire me to be the best.”

—Sherley John, MSN, RN, CCRN; Clinical Nurse, Neurosurgical ICU; North Shore University Hospital, Manhasset, New York (Provided by AACN.)

“Having a certification, NE-BC, has given me confidence in my role and supported growth in my career! I would encourage everyone to consider certification in their specialty areas.”

—Danielle M. Wilson MSN, RN, NE-BC; Director Nursing Innovation and Evidence Based Practice; University of Maryland Capital Region Health

“As a certified nurse, I have even more confidence when conferring with my clinical colleagues, because they understand that I have specialized knowledge about my field of nursing. Because of this, I can advocate even more strongly for my patients, consistently improving the standard of care—and the reputation of our nursing staff and hospital. My certification shows that I am a mentor, a leader in my field, committed to growth, accountability, and superior care.”

—Kristen Wolfe, RN, RNC-MNN; Nurse Manager, Mother-Baby Unit; University of Maryland St Joseph Medical Center 

“Becoming a certified nurse validates competence and knowledge within a specialty area, and it could increase job opportunities and potentially an increase in earnings. Some areas, such as case management, nursing administration, or being promoted within levels of practice for staff nurses, require certification.”

—Marilyn Wideman, RN, DNP, FAAN, Academic Dean and Vice President; the School of Nursing at Purdue University Global

“I am very proud to have been a certified rehabilitation nurse since 2007. This certification elevates our expertise in the way that we understand and take care of our rehabilitation patients after a disabling event or chronic illness. Maintaining the certification keeps me current with evidence-based practice specific to the needs of our rehab patients.”

—Holny Santana, BSN, RN, CRRN; Nurse Manager, Spinal Cord Unit; University of Maryland Rehabilitation & Orthopaedic Institute

“What I value most about my certification is the opportunities it’s opened up for me – the respect that I receive from my nursing and non-nursing peers, and the changes I’ve been able to make to the nursing practice at my current and previous organizations. I am a better practitioner because of my certifications.”

—Sam Merchant, MBA, BSN, RN, CCRN, PCCN, NE-BC, RN-BC; Progressive Care Unit; University Health System, San Antonio, Texas (Provided by AACN.)

“Earning my Medical Surgical Board Certification provided more professional credibility as a nurse. It helped me with my professional growth as well because it made me more confident in providing quality care to my patients. Patients I have taken care of expressed ‘feeling safe under my care’ just by them knowing that I have an RN-BC title in my badge.”

—Lina DeCastro, MAN, RN-BC; Clinical Nurse 4; Post-Surgical and Orthopedic Unit; University of Maryland Charles Regional Medical Center

“Besides personal satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment, certification validated all of the knowledge and experience I’ve gained working in the ICU for almost 10 years. My certification has made me a more confident nurse, knowing what I’ve been doing for my patients is aligned with national guidelines and standards for excellence in patient care.”

—Erica McCartney, BSN, RN, CCRN-CMC, ICU/IMCU; resource RN; Swedish Medical Center, Edmonds, Washington (Provided by AACN.)

“It is important for myself and my colleagues to become certified because it demonstrates that nurses have the knowledge, skills, and passion to provide high quality care to patients and their families. Certification shows that you are a lifelong learner who cares about the quality of care you deliver based on the most up-to-date evidence. Certified nurses are role models for other nurses and other health care professionals. It enhances their credibility among colleagues, patients and other members of the health care team. Certification shows that nursing is a profession that cares about safety, quality, and excellence.”

—Kathy M Reisig, RN-BC, BSN; Nurse Manager, NICU, Pediatric Unit, and Pediatrics After Hours; University of Maryland St Joseph Medical Center

“Certification provides validation and it indicates pride, dedication, self-direction and professional development for nurses. It also provides assurance to patients and families for quality patient care. I am proud to hold two certifications!”

—Katie Boston-Leary, PhD(c) MBA MHA BSN CNOR NEA-BC; Chief Nursing Officer; University of Maryland Prince George’s Hospital Center

Take a moment to celebrate Certified Nurses Day and tell us what you love about being certified in the comments below.

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