Winner of AACN Excellence in Certification Award 2010


              GPC AACN 
          Winner of AACN 2010 Excellence in
                  Certification Award
The Greater Portland Chapter (GPC) of Critical Care Nurses encourages and promotes professional nursing through certification.  Last year, the GPC took the lead from the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) to promote and increase certification among members. 
The AACN website offers many reasons why nurses, families, patients, and organizations value certification. Certification can provide nurses with a sense of validation that they possess the knowledge and skills to effectively and safely provide critical care. Upon passing these challenging exams, many nurses express a renewed belief in themselves, a sense that, “I really do belong here.”
The members of the GPC board believe strongly that certification programs are a mark of excellence, providing nurses a way to validate their specialized knowledge, skills and abilities against the national standard.  In our experience, certification validates knowledge of nursing in a specialty area to hospitals, peers, patients and most importantly, to our members. We recognize that certification promotes continuing excellence in the nursing profession and nurses who belong to their local chapter are professionals. In addition, a research study published by Ann Cary in the January 2001 edition of the American Journal of Nursing provided initial evidence that certification may give nurse the means or opportunity to practice in a manner likely to improve outcomes.  According to Diane Tompkins, assistant director of certification services at the ANCC, “Nursing certification leads to improved patient outcomes by requiring certified nurses to remain up to date on current knowledge and practices, which then leads to improved critical-thinking skills, better patient assessments, and earlier interventions.” 
 Based on our belief in the many benefits of certification, the Board adopted a goal of supporting and encouraging certification.  We set a target of increasing certification among our membership by 10% annually.  Some strategies we put in place are listed below.
  • Membership drives at local hospitals spearheaded by members of the GPC board
  • CCRN/PCCN review classes offered 2 times annually
  • Offer of a one year GPC membership to all who register to test following review course
  • Articles published in the GPC newsletter addressing the value of certification
  • Article published in the GPC newsletter on “How to register for group certification”
  • Tracking increased percentages of certified nurse and providing a progress report in each GPC newsletter so members can visualize improvement over time
  • Recognition of certified nurses at the Critical Care Symposium 
  • Collecting and distributing information to members about the many employers who offer financial incentives to attract and keep certified nurses at their facilities

One of our board members is the Critical Care CNS at the Portland VA, which took advantage of the, “Let’s get certified,” campaign, allowing many of their nurses to acquire certification at discounted rates.  Another Board member works on a Beacon unit which has achieved an eightfold increase certification over the past three years by arranging group registration, purchasing study materials, and providing peer feedback and support.

 With the strategies we have put in place, the certification rate for GPC membership jumped from 36% to 47% last year!  Our goal is to maintain this momentum and increase certification another 10% this year.












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