In an earlier post I questioned the validity of specialty certification. With people cramming for certification, I think they have lost a little of what they used to mean.
That doesn’t mean however that certifications are a waste of time or money. So how can we make sure that we are using certification for what it was meant to be.
1. We need to establish a culture of certification in each facility. Using certification as a means to show a certain level of knowledge.
2. Establish a culture of learning. This is probably the most important step of all. All need to be involved, Attendings, Residents, Physician Assistants, Nurse Practitioners, Managers, etc. EVERYONE needs to be involved and supporting it. Although I had always been the type of nurse or medic that wanted to know more, it wasn’t until I got to Johns Hopkins that the whole culture of learning thing really came to it’s current level of importance in my thoughts on things. The attendings were as happy to teach the nurses as they were the residents, AND the nursing staff got pimped as much as the residents did. For somethings, if the resident didn’t know it, the nurses EXPECTED to know that answer. It became a challenge and as nurses we where looking things up on our own so we would know it when asked. The new nurses were actually comming in early so they would have time to look stuff up before rounds.
3.Make certification like a final exam. The goal is learning, the certification exam is the icing on the cake.
4. Set realistic time lines and goals. You really can’t go from zero to CCRN in a month.
5. Support REVIEW courses. After people have attended, and studied and learned, go ahead and send to a review course. They are a good review and especially helpful in the areas that your patient population may not have given you a lot of exposure one. I had never taken care of a patient on a balloon pump when I took my CCRN exam, the review course gave me some pointers that I might not have remembered if I hadn’t taken the review course.
6. Support certification. The whole hospital needs to support certification, and recognize those who have put in the work. And then tell the community about it.