Are you NIOSH Certified for Spirometry?

  1. Some time back I interviewed at a major hospital hoping to be hired as an Occ Health RN. They had a large program with many nurses.

    I was invited to interview with all the nurses that worked in the program which I thought was a great idea. I was asked many questions with a lot of what I thought was positive feedback, after all I’m (sorry about tooting my own horn, but I work hard to polish it) passionate about Occ Health and work hard to hold as many valid certs that I can.

    Then came the question: “Are you NIOSH Certified in Spirometry?” My exact answer was “No, but I have completed the NIOSH certified Spirometry Course; NIOSH does not certify people who do spirometry.” I swear there was a collective gasp followed by a “well, we’re all certified.” I received a rejection letter.

    To see NIOSH spirometry certification particulars go to:

    CDC - Spirometry - Spirometry Training Program - NIOSH Workplace Safety and Health Topic

    Taken directly from this NIOSH site:

    “Licensure of health professionals is generally the function of a state board, and issuance of a course certificate does not imply that NIOSH has certified that student as a pulmonary function technician, nor does it imply that NIOSH warrants the performance of the student after completion of the course.” (Underlining added for emphasis).

    In short, a person takes the NIOSH approved course but they are never certified by NIOSH. It is a very common misconception and many do say they are NIOSH Certified. They aren’t, they hold the certificate given by taking the course.

    It was sad to be taken for an idiot by a group who knew that each of them were certified by NIOSH. I guess I can understand though why they didn't want such a silly fellow on their team.

    My suggestion: If you interview for an Occ Health position and this question about spirometry might pop up bring some copies of that web page with that area highlighted, for if not, you may be taken for a silly nurse that really doesn’t know much about Occ Health.
    Last edit by 42pines on May 2, '15 : Reason: Trying to fix the strange formatting error that is pushing text to the right--I give up.
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    About 42pines, ADN, RN

    Joined: Apr '10; Posts: 255; Likes: 313


  3. by   nursy1
    It sounds to me like you were too precise in your interview.. It stinks because it sounds like a really tricky situation, these poor people probably all truly believe that they are certified. As you stated they all gasped & responded that they were certified. So at first, they thought you were an idiot (to put it in simple terms). But I will bet you money they looked up the info after the interview. Then they decided that you were too cocky, knowing that "everyone" who takes & passes the course uses the term certified. You pointed out to them that you understood that you were not certified, because there is in fact no official certification per NIOSH, also without saying it, you informed them all that they were wrong. So then as a collective group they then probably decided that they didn't want to work with a "know it all". I am accusing you of being a "know it all", it just sounds like you have a clear understanding of the course and how it works. I'm just trying to point out their possible perception.

    It sounds like this will continue to be a sticky situation, because obviously you never want to claim a certification you do not have. But you also never want to be smarter than all the people interviewing you... (you don't want to look dumb, but you don't want to come off arrogant).

    The only advice I could possibly suggest for any future interviews, should the exact question come up, is that you reply with only part of your original response " I have completed the NIOSH certified Spirometry Course", but don't say an actual yes or no to the question. Possibly then hand them or show them the course completion certificate. Then you do not actually claim to have certification, but you don't call out a room full of people for collectively misunderstanding their certification status or lack there of. If that works in the future, then you could possibly educate people, in a casual way, that its interesting that the NIOSH Spirometry course does not actually certify you.

    Sorry you missed out on an opportunity, but another may be right around the corner.
  4. by   Rbeck911
    Not to make light of the fact that they passed on you (because I know you landed somewhere that you probably enjoy more, anyway) but I freaking love that story. lol. Some people just can't handle being corrected, especially a room full of long time occ health nurses. I can proudly say that I would have taken that into advisement, researched it (as I am sure they did, like the previous poster said), and said "huh, how about that?" The moment we are too smart to learn is the moment we need to hang up the scrubs.
  5. by   42pines
    Nice responsles Rbeck and Nursy1.

    It's a terrible thing to be a "know it all," and indeed--oh so irritating.

    I accidentally was sucked into nursing back in 2001 or so. I had intended to take a MT (Med Technologist) course of study and had entered into it. But I had become disappointed after finding that the pay was poor, the hours terrible, and my co-students were introverts who were truly not sociable. Somehow I ended up taking lunch with the nursing students and after some time I sort of got sucked in after hearing "c'mon....take a nursing course, we'll have fun." I did, and we did--have fun.

    About three months after starting nursing a co-student named Candy (real name) said to me: "When I first met you I thought, oh my God, is this guy a know-it-all or what," and then added: "Now that I've gotten to know you well I've come to realize that you do know it all."

    Of course, I don't know it all, but I am intensely curious, read voraciously, research in all directions and synthesize well. I may not learn it all, but gosh darn--I'll learn as much as I can before my days are done. It often is irksome to some when people first meet me, but after time it seems that they realize that it's just my nature and then things seem to work out well.

    I don't do it to be arrogant, I do things to be precise, I do it to share. Occupational Health Nursing is perhaps more of a science, and less of an art than some other forms of nursing and long ago I learned to try to soften things a bit and to try to not be affrontive, and sometimes that has helped. And yes perhaps the group, as a whole, didn't want someone so technical, but frankly I'm rather happy that I didn't catch that job for I am happier where I now work. Occ Health, nursing as a whole--is a science and there is a lot of room for those who really delve into things.

    I'll just continue to be me and I'll urge others who enjoy knowing everything that they can to do just that, for if nothing else, it sure makes taking tests like NCLEX and NREMT a whole lot more fun.
  6. by   LPNtoRNin2016OH
    Thank you for posting this! I have the NIOSH cert and thought that I was "Certified" as well, glad to know the difference.