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TrueNorth Winner 2020: Baylor Scott & White Medical Center -  Pflugerville

Posted by Taylor Niss on Feb 27, 2020 11:05:09 AM


In many ways, certification acts as a compass directing a nurse’s clinical practice towards accepted standards. Nurses who attain certification, and the facilities that support them, demonstrate a commitment to improving patient outcomes and mastering the knowledge it takes to do so. CCI created the TrueNorth Award as an avenue for recognizing facilities that use certification to guide their perioperative nursing staff to be models of competent practice, lifelong learners, and advocates for patient safety.

We are pleased to have had the opportunity to sit down with Diana Braswell, the Clinical Nurse Manager, Perioperative Services, at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center in Pflugerville, to the processes set in place by the 2020 TrueNorth winners, which contributed to them receiving the award.

Q. How has your facility supported nurses who are pursuing certification?

Baylor Scott & White Medical Center's leadership encouraged each Pflugerville OR RN to obtain certification in a variety of ways. We paired any non-certified nurse with a certified nurse to serve as a mentor and help them study and prepare for the exam. The department educator purchased the CCI CNOR Exam Prep Book and Flashcards for the nurses to use. Leadership also provided time during scheduled, paid hours for non-certified nurses to study and learn from their mentor. Also, Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – Pflugerville nurses were made aware of a 2- day CNOR test preparation course and allowed them to take the time away from work to travel to Fort Worth for the course. The certification award through Baylor Scott & White Health fully covers the CNOR exam fees and provides some extra money as a bonus on top of that. Baylor Scott & White Health recognizes the importance of personal growth and professional development and celebrates each accomplishment. Co-workers are also very supportive and encouraging as their colleagues prepare for the exam.

                        Credit: Baylor Scott & White 

Q. In what ways has certification impacted the staff and patients in your facility?

Baylor Scott & White Medical Center - Pflugerville certified perioperative nurses are proud of their achievement and serve as role models to other nurses to elevate their practice. For the nurses, certification has validated their knowledge and continuing competency. These nurses demonstrate confidence, skills, and attitudes that provide the highest quality care to their patients while indicating a deep appreciation and dedication to their profession and community. Certification motivates nurses to seek ongoing learning opportunities ensuring they remain current with evidence-based practice. 

Additionally, certification provides value to our nurses, the organization, and the communities we serve. The commitment to excellence is reflected through the Zero Patient Harm Platinum Award that the Perioperative Department achieved and has maintained since we opened on December 1, 2019. The organization consistently achieves patient experience scores exceeding the 90th percentile. Healthcare consumers are more knowledgeable and recognize the importance of nurse certification and the impact it has on their care. Patient comments reflect this confidence.

Q. How does the staff in your facility celebrate the achievements of nurses?

Baylor Scott & White Medical Center hosts a luncheon on Certified Nurses Day. Nurses with their specialty certification within the region receive an invitation through the mail to attend. There is a meal, slideshow highlighting their teamwork, a gift, and a hand-signed certificate of appreciation from their Chief Nursing Officer. In Pflugerville, the nurse manager, CNO, COO, and educator give certified nurses a card signed by their department and leadership, as well as a bouquet of flowers. They do this presentation in the presence of their team. Certified Nurses also wear a “Certified RN” badge that features our Nursing Professional Practice model. Our system provides an RN certification award that is up to $500. Eligibility includes full-time nurses including staff, supervisor, manager, director, and/or executive levels. Part-time and PRN nurses who worked at least 1,000 hours in the last rolling twelve months are eligible. The nurse’s performance is required to meet expectations, and he/she must be in good standing. Also, leadership gives appropriate recognition to the nurse in his/her annual performance appraisal. Baylor Scott & White Medical Center - Pflugerville has televisions throughout the facility that run a slideshow highlighting facility news. All staff and even visitors see these announcements. Nurses that obtain their certification are featured with a picture of them with the Director of Nursing.  Finally, the facility has received the CNOR Strong recognition, and the plaque hangs in the facility. A CNOR lapel pin is also worn by certified nurses, and they are highlighted on our “Wall of Fame” recognition board with their picture, name, and certification. 

            Credit: Baylor Scott & White 

Q. Are there any other practices your facility has implemented to encourage and support certified nurses?

Baylor Scott & White Medical Center Austin/Round Rock Region (Pflugerville) is on “The Journey” towards Magnet Designation. This goal is helping to drive excellence, growth, and development of the nursing staff to create an environment supportive of advanced professional nursing practice. At the “Core” of all we do is a deep commitment to the patients and the communities we serve. 

Each BSWH staff member is asked to write their own commitment and live out the values our mission is based on. “We are in it together” and “we never settle” are two very important “core” values that encouraged 100% CNOR certification. Organizational and departmental focus is aiding in overcoming certification exam barriers. 

Q. Do you have any tips for other facilities looking to earn the TrueNorth award or achieve 100% certification?

First, establish the culture you want in your department and hire new staff that will embrace your vision, while highlighting the value of certification and how it elevates professional practice. It’s essential to instill pride in your staff for their dedication and commitment to providing excellent, safe, quality care to patients. Additionally, encourage mentorship and use all the wonderful resources available. We also suggest beginning a journal club to share evidence-based practice and the impact it has on patient care.  


Baylor Scott & White Medical Center - Pflugerville, a facility located outside of Austin, TX, is an excellent example of the commitment and support necessary for nurses to attain certification. Through mentorship programs, CNOR study materials, paid study breaks, and time off to travel to prep courses, this facility has set its nurses up for success. Congratulations to this facility that exemplifies the standard for the TrueNorth Award by going above and beyond for their nurses, patients, and community!

Get a Reminder When 2021 Applications Open!

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Topics: TrueNorth

How Nurses Can Celebrate the Holidays

Posted by Taylor Niss on Dec 18, 2019 1:32:36 PM

The holiday season can be especially stressful for nurses. While many are jet setting to visit family and friends throughout the holiday season, countless nurses are working long hours instead. Often, the facility is short-staffed this time of year, which means that the nurses working those undesirable shifts are having to add to their already massive workload.

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Topics: Insider

Impact of Nursing Certification on Patient and Nurse Outcomes

Posted by Taylor Niss on Dec 10, 2019 9:08:21 AM

In 2019, CCI was honored to present Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children with the TrueNorth Award. CCI’s TrueNorth Award recognizes facilities that use certification as a compass to guide their perioperative nurses towards being lifelong learners, models of competent practice, and advocates for excellence and patient safety.

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Topics: Insider, CNOR

Volunteer With CCI as a CNOR Coach!

Posted by Taylor Niss on Nov 6, 2019 10:14:18 AM

CCI established the CNOR Certification Coaches program as an opportunity for certified nurses to become more involved with CCI, certification, and their fellow nurses. The CNOR Coaches program acts as a volunteer mentorship opportunity for nurses dedicated to helping others achieve certification in the perioperative field, thus increasing overall patient safety. 

What is a CNOR Coach?

A CNOR Certification Coach is a CNOR certified nurse who truly understands the significance of certification and is committed to encouraging other nurses to pursue certification. Aside from being an advocate, they also act as a mentor, leader, and resource to their nurses. These individuals offer guidance with everything from preparing for the exam, succeeding after a failed attempt, and other general questions relating to preparing and taking the exam.

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Topics: Insider, CNOR, Coach

40 Years of CNOR

Posted by Taylor Niss on Oct 3, 2019 10:02:13 AM

2019 is a noteworthy year at CCI because it marks the 40th anniversary of the CNOR credential. This milestone holds significant value, as it represents 40 years of continued dedication to safe, quality patient care and professional development through lifelong learning. To celebrate, we are taking a moment to reflect on the past 40 years.

History of CNOR

The journey towards CNOR certification began back in 1978 in the walls of AORN. During that time, the AORN House of Delegates of the 1978 Congress voted to provide a certification program for operating room nurses. At this time, the AORN Board of Directors appointed a Certification Council, which consisted of five AORN members and four members from associated professional nursing organizations.

The Certification Council was responsible for the development, direction, implementation, and evaluation of the entire certification process. The Certification Council introduced the CNOR Credential in 1979. As nurse Illana O. Staudigl recalls, "It was very exciting to follow the progression of the idea when it was first discussed at the AORN Congress until it became fact." The Certification Council brought in volunteer nurses to sit for the trial exam to help iron out those last-minute details. The rest is history!

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Topics: Insider, CNOR

5 Reasons Culture Is Important in the Operating Room

Posted by Taylor Niss on Sep 26, 2019 9:13:12 AM

Company culture refers to the shared vision, values, and behaviors that define the workplace environment. A positive company culture can make employees in your organization feel fulfilled and delighted about their job. Creating a desirable and healthy company culture is essential in any organization, but it proves to be particularly beneficial in the OR.

1. Improves Teamwork

Communication serves as a foundation for many organizations. When effectively executed, it ensures all employees can achieve the shared result successfully. The most critical component of working on a team is communication. As the saying goes, “teamwork makes the dream work.” When team members in the operating room and other healthcare professionals can communicate openly, the overall performance of the facility increases. Strong company culture encourages team members to converse openly, honestly, and work as part of the team. As stated in an article published by OR Manager, “OR staff must be encouraged to speak up to their peers, to physicians, and other healthcare colleagues without fear of being blamed” (OR Manager, 2019). A culture focused around teamwork and community makes nurses feel more connected to their peers and more fulfilled in their jobs overall.

2. Nurses Become Advocates for the Facility

Generally, people like to feel celebrated and appreciated at their job, especially when working in stressful environments like the OR. When hard work is recognized, and employees possess a sense of accomplishment, they soon become advocates for the facility. They not only contribute to the overall success of the organization, but they also promote it. The number of patients and exceptional employees engaged with the facility can increase when employees act as advocates for their organization.

3. Creates a Productive Environment

According to a survey conducted by The Alternative Board (TAB), 86% of respondents agreed that company culture helps with productivity (The Alternative Board, 2019). Productivity is impacted by company culture because of the mindset of the employees. When each member of the OR staff feels fulfilled and satisfied in their position and confident enough to communicate openly with colleagues, the environment becomes more productive. Todd Davis, the chief people officer for Franklin Covey, states, “Strong productivity is the result of many things, but at its foundation is a winning culture. The greater the culture, the more productive people will be because they are engaged. Human beings excel when they are happy and doing what they enjoy” (Harbour, 2018).

4. Employee Retention

Hiring and training new employees in any organization is a daunting and time-consuming process. In the operating room, it can be even more costly and stressful due to concerns about patient safety. Retaining quality employees is the easiest way to reduce nurse turnover and lower the need for new employee training. The overall quality and efficiency of the operating room drastically improves when most of the staff consists of experienced OR nurses. Besides, employees who stay with their employers for an extended period can contribute to strengthening the company culture.

5. Patient Safety

The most important reason for improving company culture is the overall impact it can have on patient safety. Above all else, the operating room needs to establish a culture of safety, and communication and teamwork are the foundation for that. Rachel Fields mentions in an article published by Becker’s Healthcare, “Every team member should be able to point out a problem, and every team member should pay attention when someone else speaks” (Fields, 2011). When team members feel connected, they are more likely to respect each other’s ideas and are more eager to see their colleagues succeed. Additionally, retaining employees who have more experience in the field increases safety because they have a deeper knowledge of the proper practices within the operating room and facility. 


All in all, company culture shifts from facility to facility and is generally dependent upon those who make up your team. We can genuinely say that happy and fulfilled employees lead to more enjoyable and productive work environments with safer patients.


Fields, R. (2011, May 18). 6 Essential Components of a "Culture of Safety" in the Operating Room. Retrieved from Becker's Healthcare Website :

Harbour, S. (2018, February 28). Company Culture is Linked to Employee Productivity . Retrieved from Workest :

Moseley, C. (n.d.). 7 Reasons Why Organizational Culture is Important . Retrieved from Jostle :

OR Manager. (2019, April 20). Culture Change: The best defense against communication failures . Retrieved from OR Manager Website :

Swensen, S., & Mohta, N. (2019, April 4). Leadership Survey: Organizational Culture Is the Key to Better Health Care . Retrieved from NEJM Catalyst :

The Alternative Board . (2019). Pulse Survery: Business Leaders and Productivity . Retrieved from The Alternative Board Website :

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Topics: Insider

Get to Know CNS-CP

Posted by Taylor Niss on Aug 16, 2019 1:29:33 PM

What is the CNS-CP Credential?

The Clinical Nurse Specialist Perioperative Certification credential (CNS-CP), is designed for advanced practice registered nurses who have completed graduate preparation in the CNS role. Keeping the unique role a CNS plays in mind, this credential is centered around promoting optimal perioperative patient outcomes, which include:

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Topics: Insider, cns-cp

Trends in the Operating Room

Posted by Taylor Niss on Jul 25, 2019 12:55:34 PM


Many professions in the modern era experience a high rate of change and nursing is no different. This is especially true for perioperative nurses, given the challenging environment they face in the operating room. With the continual evolution of technology and recent fluctuation in staff availability, a number of noteworthy trends have begun to develop. 

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Topics: Insider, CNOR, CSSM

CCI Partners with the U.S. Armed Forces

Posted by Taylor Niss on Jul 3, 2019 1:00:56 PM

CCI and U.S. Military CSSM Partnership

CCI has established a relationship with the U.S. Military to ensure all nurses are given the opportunity to develop professionally while enhancing their perioperative knowledge. CCI’s CEO James Stobinski, a former military OR nurse, has assisted CCI in developing avenues that open opportunities for military nurses. “CCI offers a combination of discounts and test preparation resources for military nurses. The discounted price of the certification examination is $275, and we also offer access to an online, recorded preparation course” says Stobinski. CCI continues to emphasize the importance of offering opportunities to these nurses and is continually looking for ways to bridge the gap. Stobinski says it best by stating, “CCI is proud to maintain a close, productive working relationship with all branches of military to facilitate their ongoing professional development”. We are proud to not only have a member of the U.S. Military as our CEO, but to also have a member on our Board of Directors and many within our community of certified nurses.

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Topics: CSSM

Tips to Navigating the Road of CNOR Recertification

Posted by Taylor Niss on Jun 11, 2019 10:31:02 AM

Earning your CNOR represents a deep personal commitment to nursing excellence and outstanding patient care. And that doesn’t end once you pass the exam! To demonstrate your continued competency, you may recertify your credential. Your CNOR credential is valid for a period of five years. After that time period, you may apply for recertification. Simple enough, right? Read on for some useful information on the steps to take, available methods, alternatives, and some hints and tips as you navigate the road to recertification.

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Topics: CNOR, Recertification