February 10, 2011

Certification a priority for Neuro Intensive Care Unit

Featured Image

Recently certified in critical care nursing are (front row, from left) Alyssa Harman, R.N., Deana Carey, M.S.N., Shannon Johnson, R.N., Casey Higgins, R.N., (back row, from left) Arlene Boudreaux, M.S.N., R.N., Jodie Thompson, M.S.N., R.N., Lindsay Sullivan, R.N., and Melissa Arajano, R.N. (photo by Susan Urmy)

Certification a priority for Neuro Intensive Care Unit

The Neurology/Neuro-surgery Intensive Care Unit has gone on a certification spree, and as of Jan., 21 registered nurses in the unit were certified in critical care nursing (CCRN).

When Jodie Thompson, M.S.N., R.N., CCRN, joined the unit as nurse educator in August 2008, she was the only certified nurse.

As she moved into the manager position, she made it her goal to have 10 nurses certified by the end of 2009.

“Certification is a statement to the public that we want to do what is best for the patient,” Thompson said. “It shows that you are committed to best practices, evidence-based practice and staying up-to-date on critical care.”

The Neuro ICU easily exceeded its first certification goal and enthusiasm grew.

“This is a very competitive group. They are all hungry for knowledge, and once one person got excited about certification, it was contagious,” Thompson said.

To maintain certification, nurses are required to have 100 hours of continuing education in critical care nursing every three years, something that appeals to Darla Washington, R.N., CCRN.

“Becoming certified was part of my career goals. I wanted to broaden my resume and have more knowledge for my patients,” she said.

The next goal for the unit is to have 50 percent of its eligible RNs certified by the end of the year.

“I would like to see everyone qualified as CCRN,” Thompson said. “I feel like we can lead Vanderbilt and other units across the nation.”

The Neuro ICU has also started working toward neuroscience certification.

A group of six took the exam in November, and all passed, including Briana Witherspoon, R.N., CCRN, CNRN.

“I like to be challenged and enjoy learning. Once I knew a group was getting together to study for the exam, I was excited that there would be others to go through it with me,” Witherspoon said.

“It has given me increased confidence in my ability to care for patients. They're comfortable asking me questions because they know I will be able to provide the details.

“The physicians also respect me more and know I'm committed and have a solid foundation of knowledge.”