Lake District Hospital received special recognition on Wednesday, Sept. 8, with a visit from representatives of the Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing (BCEN), who traveled hundreds of miles to show the hospital appreciation for how it supports nurses getting additional certifications.
BCEN CEO Janie Schumaker and BCEN Employer Relationship Mgr. Kathy Mace traveled from Kansas City, Kan. And Lansing, Mich., respectively, to meet with nurses and administrators at Lake District Hospital and hear more about their efforts to promote nursing certifications.
BCEN’s mission is supporting nurses to achieve excellence by being the industry leader in professional credentialing while promoting the value of certification and lifelong learning. BCEN notes that board certification is a professionally recognized achievement and sought-after mark of excellence that validates specialty knowledge and clinical expertise that empowers nurses to impact patient care, safety and outcomes.
“When we find an organization doing a lot of good work around supporting certification and their nurses, they’re high on our list to go visit … We wanted to come and pay these nurses some respect,” Schumaker explained.
Abigail Finetti, RN and clinical care and education coordinator at LDH, noted that “education in general is really important” at LDH and nurses are expected to be jacks of all trades as they typically work in multiple departments.
Finetti said LDH wants to celebrate nurses who choose to take the further step of becoming certified in an area for which they have a particular passion. She recently created a photo wall within the hospital showcasing nurses at LDH who have achieved board certification.
Schumaker noted that many employers are still struggling to figure out how to support nurses obtaining board certification. “Any recognition is good in creating incentive,” she said. Once a nurse earns board certification, it must be renewed every three to four years, and the nurse must document 100 contact hours as part of that renewal.
Every RN at LDH is provided three education days per year as part of their contract, Finetti said, and they can use those however they choose, including toward earning their contact hours or by preparing for their exam. LDH also offers a $2/hour wage increase per certification a nurse receives.
Schumaker said the reason she and Mace visited LDH was twofold. First, they wanted to thank the nurses for showing up for work and making a difference in the region. “This job would be hard enough without having a pandemic on top of it,” she noted. Second, they wanted to learn more about LDH’s efforts around certifications and get to meet and speak with its staff and administrators.
Mace pointed out that several nurses at LDH have multiple certifications, and there is great diversity within those certifications. Finetti, for example, is one of only 13 nurses in Oregon who have three BCEN certifications.
LDH Chief Nursing Officer Teresa Squires noted that she is passionate about certification because she believes it makes LDH’s nursing care better.