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  1. The topic of exams often bring up feelings of anxiety and fear of the unknown. At a recent convention of the American Association of Critical Care Nurses’ National Teaching Institute (NTI) Mary Watts, BSN, RN, allnurses.com’s Content and Community Director interviewed Denise Buonocore, MSN, RN, ACNPC, CCNS, CCRN, CHFN about the topic of specialty certification. Denise is an acute care nurse practitioner for heart failure services for St. Vincent's Multispecialty Group at St. Vincent's Medical Center, Bridgeport, Connecticut. Her clinical practice involves providing care for patients with heart failure (HF) in inpatient and outpatient settings. Buonocore is a national and international speaker on many aspects of cardiac, palliative and critical care, safe care transitions, certification, and healthy work environments. Why Certification? Mary asked Denise about the “why” of nursing certification. Buonocore stated, “Certification is the mark of distinction that shows that you have gone the extra mile. In our healthcare system today, you really need to stay current and even things you did five years ago are not current today. You need to practice at the top of your game.” Concerns Of course, there are some concerns for nurses when they discuss certification. “Fear of failure is probably the biggest concern of nurses,” commented Buonocore. She went on to say that it is important to focus on “what’s the best thing that could happen and focus on the positive not the negative.” Tips So, what’s next? Here are some tips: Make the decision to go for it Find a mentor Get a study buddy Take a review course together Benefits There are some solid benefits for obtaining certification. Employers now are looking for nurses to have certification and maintaining the certification. It can be the deciding factor between being hired or not. Hospitals often have a clinical ladder that rewards certified nurses monetarily. We all are aware that patients are sicker than ever and come to the hospital with many co-morbidities. So, what are the pluses for hospitals to encourage nurses to become certified? Employing certified nurses is one part of the Magnet designation journey and this is the goal of many facilities. Patients too are savvier nowadays and they are aware that the research shows you receive better care in Magnet facilities and in order to have a Magnet designation, you need to have a certain number of certified nurses. Hospital Support Hospitals can support nurses as they seek certification: Reimbursement for certification expenses Providing meaningful CEUs Publicizing the accomplishments of certified nurses Just Do It Denise Buonocore finished the interview with this thought, “I’d like to share a thank you to all the nurses for taking care of our patients. If you are certified, thank you. If you are not certified, think about it.” Here is the complete interview.
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