CCI's TrueNorth Award was created to recognize those organizations that use CNOR certification to guide their perioperative nursing staff to be lifelong learners, models of competent practice, and advocates for excellence and patient safety. Arnold Palmer Children's Hospital of Orlando Health does this well. A first-time applicant for the TrueNorth Award, Arnold Palmer Children's Hospital stood out and impressed judges with the ways they support and promote certification amongst their perioperative nurse staff. In fact, their 2018 TrueNorth Award application was so impressive, they were named this year's TrueNorth Award Runner Up and received a recent visit from CCI's CEO Dr. James Stobinski. Their commitment to perioperative certification has shown through in numerous ways.
Perioperative nurses employed by Arnold Palmer Children's Hospital can expect to work in a supportive environment that is very enthusiastic about professional growth, particularly certification. Relying on the Magnet Recognition Model, this facility focuses on improving the quality of care for patients by increasing the knowledge of the hospital staff. Directly impacting this effort has been the increase in certification rates amongst hospital staff, including the perioperative nurses. Arnold Palmer Children's Hospital enrolled in CCI's Take 2 Program to encourage nurses to register for the exam while relieving pressure if they did not pass on their first attempt. The facility saw the anxiety of the test takers diminish drastically. Similar to CCI's CNOR Coaches' Program, a mentor initiative was implemented within the facility to assist others through the process of becoming certified. CNOR certified nurses provide helpful study tools and resources to nurses preparing for the CNOR Exam. Arnold Palmer Children's Hospital recently achieved the CNOR Strong Recognition due to results of the mentorship program. In the first few months of the program, the surgical department went from having a total of 29% certified nurses to 88% certified nurses.
Taking the mentorship program a step further, Arnold Palmer Children's Hospital established the Set the Pace program. This initiative aims to both encourage nurses to obtain certification as well as motivate currently certified nurses to act as mentors. The Set the Pace program aims to establish a relationship and commitment to goals by outlining an agreement between the mentor and mentee. The two work together to schedule times to study, review practice tests, and answer questions regarding topics for the exam. Once the nurse successfully passes the CNOR exam, both the mentor and mentee receive a bonus from the program. There are many other opportunities to receive financial support for certification from Arnold Palmer Children's Hospital in addition to the bonus through the Set the Pace program. For instance, individual departments offer to pay or reimburse certification fees for any registered nurse who would like to become certified in an area of specialty. Attaining a specialty certification is one of the key measurements and qualifications when a nurse wants to progress clinically. Once certified, the nurse receives an increase in pay for ascending up the Clinical Ladder. Offering continued support, the facility pays for recertification and urges participation in professional meetings such as AORN and Magnet conferences.
In addition to the mentorship program and financial incentives, Arnold Palmer Children's Hospital has worked with learning specialists and managers to provide resources and support for certification. In recent years, leadership worked together to develop a CNOR prep course, based on CCI's study guides, which offered power point presentations, numerous practice exams, and convenient course times to work with attendees' schedules. To encourage use of this resource, the facility agreed to cover the cost of the course as well as provide education hours for completion. In line with efforts to encourage and support certification, the Arnold Palmer Children's Hospital surgical department leadership team has set the tone by recently achieving 100% certification rate. Extremely proud of this accomplishment, the unit nurse practice council is currently in the process of writing an abstract and developing a poster to highlight the department's success. The accessible resources along with the variety of study groups available within the facility allowed for this achievement.
Not only does Arnold Palmer Children's Hospital encourage certification but they also celebrate it. The facility is extremely committed to recognizing nurses that go above and beyond by attaining certification. Once certified, nurses receive recognition in several ways including adding their name to a plaque in the hospital lobby recognizing all certified nurses. The surgical department educator also congratulates new certificants within the department in a weekly newsletter. The surgical department further recognizes the nurse during huddle where there is a poster of the nurse listing their updated credentials. National Nurse Certification Day brings more celebration as Arnold Palmer Children's Hospital hosts a breakfast where all certified nurses are recognized for their achievements. In addition to the facility's efforts, Orlando Health mails out publications to all staff including mention of recently certified nurses.
Arnold Palmer Children’s Hospital sets a great example of how to use certification as a “true north” guide for perioperative staff, encouraging lifelong learning and competent practice. From supplying resources, to offering financial aid, to celebrating the achievement of certification, this facility does it all. Arnold Palmer Children’s Hospital is eager to apply for the TrueNorth Award again next year once the 2019 applications open.