The term certification is defined as a “voluntary process, the purpose of which is to provide professional recognition of knowledge, skills, clinical practice” (Byrne, Valentine and Carter 2004). Certification for nursing practice is designed to protect the public, recognize and encourage professional achievement, and enhance professionalism (Sechrist, Valentine and Berlin 2005). To achieve and/or maintain Magnet status by the ANCC, one requirement focuses on professional development and promoting certification in all nursing roles, including clinical practice and administration (Weeks, Ross and Roberts 2006).
In 2003, the American Board of Nursing Specialties (ABNS) undertook a national survey to validate nurse’s perceptions, values, and behaviors related to certification. Using the Perceived Value of Certification Tool (PVCT) certified and noncertified nurses showed high level of agreement with value statements on certified practice. Additionally, the study examined barriers and challenges to certification, incentives to certification, the impact of certification on lost workdays and nurse retention (Niebuhr and Biel 2007). They found nurses who pursue and obtain national specialty certification perceive themselves as having high levels of commitment to the profession. In a formal comparative descriptive study, the evidence suggested that certified nurses have a higher perception of empowerment than noncertified nurse (Ridge 2008).
Certification was found to be positively associated with nurses’ job satisfaction, sense of empowerment, and sense of collaboration with other health care team members (Wade 2009). Study findings demonstrate six categories of outcomes associated with certification; nurses’ perception of intrinsic value, nurses’ perception of empowerment, nurses’ perception of enhanced collaboration, nurses perception of patient satisfaction, nurses’ perception of clinical nursing competence and expertise, and patient outcomes (Wade 2009). Several barriers must be overcome before certification will be widely sought by nurses. Fewer nurses are seeking certification and today because of the costs of certification and the limited extrinsic rewards provided to certified nurses in the form of salaries and professional advancement (Wade 2009). Benefits and rewards to nurses for being certified include being reimbursed for exam, listing of certified credentials on name tags or business cards, and reimbursement for recertification fees. In addition, a majority of participants noted that they receive some form of financial or other support from employers towards certification (Brown, Murphy, Norton, Baldwin and Ponto 2010).
To that end and with the support of the Nursing executive leadership, the Knight Nursing Center was authorized to convene a Tiger Team comprised of staff nurses who are certified, those who are interested and not yet certified, nursing directors, clinical specialists, and others. The goal of the tiger team is to advise the Knight Nursing Center on developing and maintaining an professional development program in which all nurses at all levels will obtain certification and continue to raise our overall percentage of certified nurses by 2% per year. Since that time, the Knight Nursing Center sponsored Certified Nurses Day on March 19, hosted the first annual Oncology Nursing Certification Rolling Rally and is currently organizing classes on test taking strategies and other study groups. Visit the Knight Nursing Center website at http://www.mghpcs.org/KnightCenter for additional information on all educational offerings.
Credentialing through certification advances our individual professions through encouraging, recognizing and celebrating professional achievement. Certification is a formal process that validates one’s knowledge, skills and abilities in a particular area of practice. For our patients and their families, certification communicates to them that we maintain a higher level of achievement, expertise and judgment. Certification boards that are associated with nationally recognized professional organizations develop and implement certification examinations and procedures for nurses and our allied health professional colleagues who want to have their specialty practice recognized by their profession. One component of the required evidence is successful completion of an examination that tests the knowledge base for the selected area of practice. Other requirements relate to the content of course work and amount of supervised practice.
The following professional organizations are excellent certification resources:
- Professional and Specialty Certification/Re-certification Examinations Reimbursement
(applies to Nursing only/MGH Internal Access)
Note: Registered Nurses and surgical technologists (ST) in the MGH Department of Nursing (DON), who are paid by the DON, are reimbursed for the cost of professional and specialty certification and re-certification offered by nationally-recognized professional organizations. The reimbursement does not include costs for programs, paid time off or other requirements necessary for certification or recertification, such as preparatory programs. Certification must be related to the nurse's or technologist's current clinical practice. Certifications for licensure or for job requirements are excluded from reimbursement.
Regular full- or part-time staff (a minimum of 20 standard hours per week), who are paid by the DON, are eligible for reimbursement of one active certification (temporary/per diem staff are not eligible). RNs or STs must be employed at a minimum of 20 standard hours per week both at the time of the request for reimbursement and at the time the reimbursement is distributed.
- American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC)
Speech Language Pathology
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CONTINUING EDUCATION OPPORTUNITIES
Patient Care Services supports continuing education activities for all members of the team to ensure the delivery of safe quality evidence based care to our patients. Continuing education programs include a wide range of topics promote life-long learning and clinical excellence by establishing, supporting and fostering learning opportunities for the attainment of knowledge and skills necessary for safe, competent and compassionate patient-centered care.
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SCHOLARSHIP & FELLOWSHIP RESOURCES
Massachusetts General Hospital and Patient Care Services offer a variety of scholarships and fellowships to employees to support them in continuing their education as well as enhancing their professional development. Many of these are supported through the generous gifts of former patients and families. Below you will find information on these programs.
- Association of Multicultural Members of Partners (AAMP)
Each year AMMP members are eligible to apply for scholarships to assist in their pursuit of degrees and other relevant training at colleges and universities. The scholarship program is one more way AMMP can help its members to get the education and training they need to broaden their skills and advance in their careers at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). Current employees of Partners and MGH are eligible to compete for scholarship awards.
- Clinical Leadership Collaborative for Diversity (CLCDN) in Nursing Scholarship Program
The CLCDN Scholarship was established to assist in increasing the pipeline of diverse nurses caring for patients throughout the Partners HealthCare and to develop diverse nurse leaders. Applicants who identify themselves as American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian, Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, or Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander are encouraged to apply. The CLCDN program helps to address the challenges of work, home and school and chart new possibilities for nurses employed at Partners HealthCare Institutions who are interested in pursuing an advanced degree.
Professional and Specialty Certification/Re-certification Examinations Reimbursement
(applies to Nursing only/MGH Internal Access)
Support Services Grants
MGH Training and Workforce Development facilitates and promotes employee education and training to attract, develop and retain a highly-skilled, diverse workforce through sustainable collaborations that support the MGH's mission.
Tuition Reimbursement Policy
Tuition Vouchers – Selected Programs
MGH provides clinical training for hundreds of nurses, therapist, and social workers. In exchange for providing these preceptored experiences, MGH will often receive tuition vouchers that staff can apply for. For more information, please contact your director.
Professional and Specialty Certification/Re-certification Examinations Reimbursement (applies to Nursing only)
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CLINICAL EDUCATION RESOURCES
The Clinical Affiliations Program exemplifies our mission “to educate future academic and practice leaders of the health care professions”; our vision “to create a practice environment that is built on a spirit of inquiry;" our professional practice model; and the Department of Nursing philosophy “to educate ourselves and to educate others."
CLINICAL RECOGNITION PROGRAM (CRP) (links from existing resources)
Clinicians in Patient Care Services at Massachusetts General Hospital have long valued their role in caring for patients and families. The Clinical Recognition Program provides a way to formally recognize professional clinical staff for their expertise. Through the program, clinical staff from six disciplines in Patient Care Services analyze their own practice and then seek recognition for the level of practice they have achieved.
The program recognizes that valuable contributions are made by staff at every level and that excellence is a goal common to all.
Guides for Self Reflection
Review Board Information
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SPOTLIGHT ON PRACTICE
Across last spring and summer, PT and OT Services piloted a new forum, Narrative Rounds, in which staff presented their narratives in a small group setting. The participants took on the role of reading the narrative and “unbundling” it with the writer, to gain insight into clinical practice. The positive reception to this model led Jampel and Knab to submit a proposal to the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) for the conference in Clearwater, FL, offering narrative rounds as an active learning model that may enhance the learning experience of health professions students in the classroom or clinic. more...
— Ann Jampel, PT and Mary Knab, PT
Pictured (left to right): Mary Knab, PT, Karen Turner, OTR/L and Ann Jampel, PT
IN THE NEWS
"Unlike material capital, knowledge does not deteriorate with use. But, like equipment, old skills become obsolete with the advent of new technologies. Continuing education and on-the-job training are required to keep existing skills in line with technological progress and new knowledge." After staff are hired, even the smallest hospital has a responsibility to see that they receive the education and training they need to provide quality care and to keep patients safe.
(Quoted by The joint Commission in it's 2009 Hospital Accreditation Standards Manual, from the WHO's World Health Report 2000 - Health Systems: Improving Performance)
The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) places significant emphasis on orientation, in-service education, continuing education, formal education, certification and career development. Personal and professional growth and develoment are valued. In addition, opportunities for competency-based clinical advancement exist, along with the resources to maintain competency.