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The Importance of Early Career Certification

By Benjamin Dennis, A.S.

There are an increasing number of employers that are requiring certification in addition to education or in place of academic degrees to work in specialized fields. Job specific certification is fast becoming the seal of excellence in information technology, financial planning, and with fitness instructors. However, in nursing specialties, such as perioperative nursing, certification remains almost entirely a voluntary endeavor. The Competency and Credentialing Institute (CCI) believes there is a compelling case to hold voluntary nursing specialty certifications. CCI also believes it is especially advantageous to earn a certification early in a career.

In an increasingly demanding hiring market those now entering nursing, or committing to a specialty such as perioperative nursing, will maximize their opportunities with certification. Certified nurses can separate and elevate themselves as candidates as facilities become more critical in their hiring practices. Certification validates an area of specialty expertise and is necessary to maintain knowledge in an ever-changing world.

As health care evolves at a rapid pace with new technology the need to stay current in these developments will also increase. It is difficult for an individual nurse or health care facility to muster the resources to remain aware of these developments. The certification process and the resources offered by CCI can be part of the solution to this dilemma. All nurses holding a CCI certification can access the CCI Learning Management System (LMS) with dozens of learning activities that can be used to fulfill recertification requirements. All content in this system is vetted by certified nurse volunteers and supported by industry partners. The LMS content is available without additional charge to certificants.

CCI also believes that reflective learning can be a powerful adjunct in professional development. The CCI LMS has numerous reflective learning exercises. CCI also recently validated the PPCS-R survey instrument for self-assessment of perioperative nursing competency for use by American nurses (2018). This instrument is an integral part of the CFPN credentialing process but will soon be available to all perioperative nurses as an aid to reflective learning.

The Emerging Professionals Advisory Committee, dubbed EPAC, reports to the CCI Certification Council and is composed of nurses early in their career. The EPAC was integral to developing the CFPN credential and informing CCI of the professional development needs of those early in their career. The CFPN credential isdesigned for nurses who have recently completed orientation but do not yet have two years of experience. Through this work, we were able to gain valuable insights that shaped the development of the credential. We also learned that these early career nurses valued certification and professional development opportunities early in their career trajectory.

Through the CFPN credential, which launches in July, CCI endeavors to first engage perioperative nurses early in their career. Secondly, we wish to share the diversity of CCI resources, such as the LMS content, with these nurses. We believe that an early introduction to quality resources such as the latest evidence supporting perioperative nursing care, the standards that guide our practice and information on current hot topics will provide a sound foundation for perioperative care.

Our goal at CCI is to improve care rendered to surgical patients and facilitate the professional development of perioperative nurses. Perioperative nursing is not only unique in its services, but we are the people that deal with patients in their most vulnerable states. We not only owe it to our profession, but to the patient, family, and friends that ensure high quality care to them. In the work of EPAC and through mechanisms such as the CFPN certification we seek to provide the resources necessary for the increasing numbers of perioperative nurses entering the specialty.

Gillespie, B.M., Harbeck, E.B., Falk-Brynhildsen, K. et al. Perceptions of perioperative nursing competence: a cross-country comparison. BMC Nurs 17, 12 (2018).



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