PORTSMOUTH, Va. (NNS) -- Several of Naval Medical Center Portsmouth’s (NMCP) certified nurses hosted a Certified Nurses Day event on March 19. Certified Nurses Day honors nurses worldwide who earn and maintain the highest credential in their specialty, contributing to better patient outcomes.
During the event, Cmdr. Aleah McHenry talked about the history of Certified Nurses Day, the difference between licensure and certification and the difference between certification and competency. McHenry, an NMCP staff member, is an Advanced Oncology Clinical Nurse Specialist, Advanced Oncology Certified Nurse Practitioner and an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Board Certified.
“There is a basic standard of educational and clinical requirements in order for us to get licensed, and that’s a broad scope,” McHenry said. “For LPN or RN, whether it’s associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree, there is a basic licensure requirement. For certification you get another credential. Certification is a specialized skill. I am an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Board Certified so that means that specifically within that area of expertise I have tested and proven myself to be capable of providing care to that group of patients.”
Some of NMCP’s certified nurses talked to nurses who are interested in earning their certifications, and gave them advice and their own personal experiences.
“I was an OB nurse for ten years, then I came here (NMCP) and had other opportunities, but I do my clinical sustainment hours on the labor deck,” said Lt. Cmdr. Erica Diamond, a Registered Nurse Certified in Inpatient Obstetrics. “They had no idea who I was. I showed up on the deck, said I’m here to work, but they see my initials on my jacket and they automatically know that this is my specialty, this is what I do, so when I make suggestions, or I need help, they don’t work with me daily, but they know that I know what I’m talking about.”
Diamond talked about some of the different certifications nurses can earn. She is also a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner – Adult (SANE-A).
“Right now there’s a huge push to elevate our profession to be equivalent to that of a terminal degree, like lawyers and doctors,” Diamond said. “They want nurses to no longer have the bare minimum of our associate’s degree. They want our associate’s nurses to have bachelor’s and our bachelor’s nurses to start coming in with their master’s, and they ultimately want us to have our doctorate degree because they want us working at the highest capacity of our scope of practice.”
Certified Nurses Day was established in 2008 in honor of Dr. Margretta Styles. She was a nurse educator who forged the way and fought for nursing certification. March 19, Styles birthday, was the day chosen as Certified Nurses Day.
For more news from Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, visit www.navy.mil/local/NMCP/.