READ THE CERTIFIED NURSES 2021 ISSUE
ABOUT THE ISSUE
- Certification in the Time of COVID-19
By Louis Pilla
- Becoming Certified in Public Health
By Michele Wojciechowski
- Pave a Leadership Path with Certification
By Julia Quinn-Szcesuil
- Honoring the Legacy of Henrietta Lacks Through Legislative Action
By Janice M. Phillips, PhD, RN, CENP, FAAN
Celebrating Leadership During a Pandemic
On March 19th every year, we celebrate certified nurses who make a commitment to stay on top of the latest developments in their respective specialties and pursue certification to advance their careers. Even in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the spread of misinformation regarding the virus, nurses have remained steadfast in their pursuit for knowledge to achieve the best patient outcomes possible.
Last fall, the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses acknowledged the challenges of pursuing certification with test centers closing over safety concerns and nurses working longer hours to combat the virus and they introduced what is known as a “micro-credential.” Unlike full certification, this does not have any eligibility criteria and offers nurses providing acute/critical care to COVID-19 patients an opportunity to pass an exam validating a “focused subset of knowledge, skills, or competencies.”
Other organizations have taken similar measures to counter the challenges posed by the pandemic, such as: extending renewal dates, offering discounted rates or waived fees for those experiencing financial hardship, and doubling the testing window from 90 to 180 days. All of these steps taken show a commitment to nursing leadership while offering the flexibility needed for nurses struggling to maintain a healthy work-life balance right now.
Because of the pandemic, there is also a stronger emphasis on public health—and it will likely continue to be at the forefront in the future. The American Nurses Credentialing Center may have retired the Advanced Public Health Nurse (APHN) certification, but baccalaureate-prepared nurses with at least five years of experience in public health may wish to obtain a Certification in Public Health (CPH) through the National Board of Public Health Examiners.
Professional development may be low on your current list of priorities if you are worried about the health and safety of loved ones, but pursuing certification is still a worthy (and achievable) goal. Nurses continue to be the backbone of health care and should be heralded for the heroes they are.