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DiversityNursing Blog

Nursing Credentials Matter To Patients, Employers And Nurses

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Mon, Jan 26, 2015 @ 12:23 PM

By Debra Anscombe Wood, RN

computer technician certifications resized 600

While credentials may seem like an alphabet soup after one’s name, the letters tell the world much about a nurse’s qualifications, including licensure, certifications and fellowships.  

“Credentials are not only a source of pride for the nurse, but communicate to patients, colleagues and hospital leaders the nurse’s commitment to standards of excellence,” said Mary Frances Pate, PhD, RN, CNS, associate professor at the University of Portland School of Nursing in Oregon and chairwoman of the board of directors for AACN Certification Corporation, the certification organization for the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses.

Other academic nurses agree. “Credentials matter to the public,” said Rebecca M. Patton, MSN, RN, CNOR, FAAN, Lucy Jo Atkinson Scholar in Perioperative Nursing at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, adding that they also demonstrate growth and lifelong learning valuable to the nurse and to nurse managers and administrators.

Depending on the position, “some nursing positions require certification demonstrating expertise, and some do not,” said Robert Hanks, PhD, FNP-C, RNC, assistant professor and clinical/FNP track director at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Nursing. 

Marianne Horahan, MBA, MPH, RN, CPHQ, director of certification services at the American Nurses Credentialing Center, reported an increase in certification applications this year, in part because of employers’ promotion of certification. A new “Success Pays” program allows the hospital to directly pay for successful exam completion. 

Employers also seek nurses with degrees, as evidence suggests organizations with a higher percentage of BSN- or MSN-prepared nurses have greater patient outcomes, said Paulette Heitmeyer, MSN/ED, RN, CNO at Marina Del Rey Hospital in California. 

Pate said nurses whose clinical skills and judgment have been validated through certification often make patient care decisions with greater confidence, recognize problems and intervene appropriately.

While many believe credentials lead to better care and patient outcomes, research is limited. The Institute of Medicine recently released a research agenda to help fill this gap. 

Nurses should list the highest degree first, immediately after their name, then licensure, any state designations, national certifications, awards, honors and other recognitions, according to the ANCC. 

“Certification provides a foundation for lifelong learning and professional development,” Horahan said. “The purpose of certification is to assure the public that this individual has mastered the body of knowledge and acquired skills in the specialty.”


Topics: jobs, experience, emergency, Nursing Nurse, credentials, certificates, titles, certification, patitents, training, nurses, medical, hospital, patient, career

Care Experience Does Not Make Students Better Nurses, Study Shows

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Mon, Dec 08, 2014 @ 11:42 AM

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Nursing students with previous caring experience are less likely to perform better academically and clinically than those who have none, research shows.

A study assessing the criteria for selecting nursing students found that high emotional intelligence did not mean students performed better on their courses.

Researchers also found that of the students who have withdrawn from their studies, nearly 60 per cent had previous caring experience.

The ongoing study, led by the University of Edinburgh, is tracking performance and emotional intelligence - the ability to recognise your own and other people's feelings and act accordingly - of nearly 900 nursing and midwifery students from the University of the West of Scotland and Edinburgh Napier University.

Researchers found, however, that performance improved with age and that female trainees scored significantly better than male counterparts.

The findings come after the 2013 Frances Report - which highlighted care failings at the Mid Staffordhire NHS Foundation Trust - recommended an emphasis on creating a more compassionate end empathetic culture in nursing.

As a result, aspiring nurses in England could potentially be required to spend a placement year as a carer before undertaking their training.

Lead researcher Rosie Stenhouse, lecturer in Nursing Studies at the University of Edinburgh, said: "The research should sound a note of caution to such pilot schemes. They are potentially expensive, politically motivated and not backed up by evidence."


Topics: student nurse, studies, experience, education, nurses, medical, career

A Seasoned Nurse

Posted by Alycia Sullivan

Mon, Sep 23, 2013 @ 10:00 AM

By Joyce Riddle, RN-CPN, BSN

Nurse with elder male resized 600

One day, as I was relaxing during some quiet time, it dawned on me that I was a seasoned nurse with the ability to influence some of my younger or less-experienced co-workers. I have worked as an RN for the same organization for 23 years, and I had something to offer them.

Too often, older nurses are seen as being a bit crotchety, negative or uncaring to some of the younger nurses or newbies. That has to change; why make people feel uncomfortable?

Years ago, as a new nurse, I went through an orientation to the unit. Once competent with some skills, I became the team leader for my patients. If I had questions, I knew I could ask my charge nurse, but I never had a mentor or felt there was one particular nurse to whom I could always turn. I knew I wanted to become that go-to person for my younger counterparts. I enjoyed teaching and helping new employees master skills and tasks.

I am a spiritual person with Christian beliefs. This is part of what makes me who I am. On my commute to work, I get motivated for the day by listening to Christian music. I understand others may not share similar beliefs, but I think everyone needs to find what fulfills them and practice it daily before work, whether it is exercising, reading or just spending time alone.

Make it a point to bring your best to work each day. After all, that is what we are getting paid to do. Once at work, acknowledge everyone with a smile, eye contact or a simple "hello." I've seen how acts of inclusion or kindness filter down to others. On occasion, unfamiliar colleagues may come by my unit and I smile at them, furthering the process of encouragement to others. Kindness can be contagious.

My mantra or focus is to encourage young nurses so they will establish themselves at our facility and become great, seasoned nurses. I have watched some start out as new graduate nurses and then continue their education and grow professionally. I have seen many nurses come and go, but others stay and continue with their education. I support my co-workers who decide to go this route.

For the longest time, I talked myself out of obtaining my certification in pediatric nursing. Once I chose to pursue it, I immediately wondered why I waited so long. Now I routinely ask my co-workers, "When are you going to do it?" Supporting them and encouraging their growth adds more satisfaction to my daily work. It will be gratifying when all my immediate co-workers obtain and maintain their CPNs.

We all have different strengths we can bring to work. Some nurses have a soft touch. Others have a friendly smile or a knack for speaking kind words. All of these can be examples of conduct for the young nurse. 

Remember, just like young children who watch and mimic their parents, the newbies are watching our responses toward one another and our patients. Positive expressions are necessary for their growth.

Before speaking or doing something, I ask myself, "Is this going to encourage or discourage?" I want to know I am encouraging someone to be a better nurse. I will not gossip or make any unkind comments toward my co-workers for the newbie to hear. The younger nurses will not overhear derogatory comments from this veteran.

Every day, I tell myself with pride, "I am a seasoned nurse." I will embrace that I am a little older and more experienced, and will welcome opportunities to use that experience. I hope my seasoned co-workers will join me to make our jobs productive by helping our younger nurses. We all have something to contribute to foster hope and encouragement. 


Topics: encouragement, experience, RN, veteran, compassion

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