I am looking into Fetal Monitoring Certification through AWHONN. I have a co-worker who skipped Intermediate and went straight to Advanced by just studying on her own. She has more years of experience than I do, but I am wondering if this that is an advisable idea to save money and time. I have been on the L&D floor for a year.
My hospital does not require AWHONN certification, but I was considering getting it for personal growth and in case I need to go to another hospital. My hospital does recognize NCC fetal monitoring certification. Has any one completed both and noticed any major differences in the information? My hospital will reimburse for the NCC exam but not AHWHONN so I am heavily considering just doing both. I am not sure if studying for one or the other has any advantages or if they are just basically the same.
Mar 7, '13
The AWHONN Fetal Heart Monitoring Program is not a certification per se. It is a nationally recognized education program and will provide proof of competency in the area of fetal monitoring. It is highly recommended and usually mandatory in most facilities who care what JCAHO thinks and have a risk management department worth their weight in salt. The intermediate program is excellent and is my favorite course to teach. The adjuct text is outstanding and I highly suggest anyone in L&D have a copy. The advanced course is meant to be a follow up to the intermediate course and goes into other parts of fetal monitoring. While you can certainly take them out of order it is not recommended, although I can see where a more experienced nurse would skip over the intermediate course. For anyone new to OB, I would highly suggest not skipping the intermediate course. I really can't imagine a facility not requiring this course for their staff.
The NCC certificate of qualification in fetal monitoring is a certification in the area of fetal monitoring. It tests your knowledge of all aspects of monitoring, including the machine itself, trouble shooting and the like but mostly focuses on physiology, and heavily on it. I believe you have to have a 2 year experience level in order to sit for this exam. It is a great feather to have in your cap. A challenging exam.
I am an AWHONN instructor and have the NCC certification in both Inpatient OB and Fetal monitoring. I would highly suggest you getting the AWHONN education. It will prepare your for the NCC exam.
Mar 11, '13
Thanks so much for your response! I found a local class for the intermediate course because I have decided to start with that level. The class here is $140 without the book and $250 with the book, but I found a 4th edition book on ebay for $70. How do I know if that is the current level AND the book for the intermediate course? I assume the book for intermediate and advanced level are different. I was thinking of getting the book early and studying because I may not be able to attend the actual class until later in the summer. I was hoping to attend the class before my maternity leave but with the class offerings in my area that may not be possible. Do you think studying BEFORE attending the intermediate class would be a good idea?
Another question. After you take the intermediate course what do you do? Do you take an online test like NCC? Or is simply taking the course proof of mastery? I read the flow diagram on the AWHONN website but it still didn't make much sense to me if there is a test or not.
Apparently our unit education director doesn't "like" AWHONN or something like that which is why we are encouraged towards NCC and they give us an in-house education class in preparation for it. I was really baffled because all of the other hospitals in our area require AWHONN. Whatever the reasons I would just like to cover myself with the most comprehensive education I can obtain to be effective at my job and developing my career. It would seem that the reasons for decels etc etc would be the same anyway whether you prep for AWHONN or NCC so I am not sure why there is even division between the two. I think I understand what you are saying in that NCC gives a certification where AWHONN is just education (with a post-test)?
Again I appreciate your help!
Mar 11, '13
The AWHONN book is excellent. There is ONE book that is used for both courses. You don't necessarily have to study for the course, but you should have some sort of grasp on the physiology of decels and use of NICHD terminology.
I am surprised at your educators attitude towards the AWHONN education. Since AWHONN is THE legislator of standards for OB nursing, I would think your facility would want their nurses to have the gold standard of competency. To each his own, I suppose. I will tell you that JCAHO likes OB nurses to have education in the file, and AWHONN is one they really like and support, as does the legal profession. Eduaction is NEVER EVER a bad thing, so go on and be the rock star you are and take the course.
Fetal monitoring is a huge part of L&D. While certification is not "required" (for now), it is a great certification to add to your repetoire. The NCC test is not for someone just starting out. You really have to have a very strong grasp of physiology, and honestly, after 16 years in OB, I still chose to take a review course and learned a lot. The NCC certification gives you certain bragging rights (expert level knowledge competency) where the AWHONN course is designed for those 6 months in and beyond and certainly acknowleges competency. Both the intermediate and advanced courses have tests you have to take and pass in order for you to get the CE's. The intermediate course is a two day course, and the advanced is only one. AWHONN also has an online only BASIC course which is a nice little prelude for anyone new to fetal monitoring. I require this of anyone new to OB on my unit, and require the intermediate course of ALL staff. Every year they are required to have 8 hours of fetal monitoring continuing education.
Wouldn't it be nice if providers were required to have such FM education????
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