Nurse-education Gift Advances Patient Care

NORTHAMPTON — Thanks to a $2,500 donation, Cooley Dickinson will offer a much-sought-after professional development opportunity to its nurses who practice medical surgical nursing. This gift allows med-surg nurses unlimited access to e-learning training materials that can prepare the nurses to attain certification by the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

“Med-surg nursing encompasses becoming a master in 11 specialty areas of nursing,” Amy Gleason, clinical coordinator for med-surg, said of the specialty areas, which include cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, and neurologic, among others. Gleason passed the American Nurses Credentialing Exam in 2006 and earned board certification in med-surg nursing. “Passing the exam indicates the depth and breadth of knowledge med-surg nurses possess.”

In order to qualify for the exam, med-surg nurses need to hold Massachusetts licensure, have practiced an equivalent of two years full-time, and have worked 2,000 hours in med-surg nursing.

“All nurses are required to have licensure to practice, but certification for most of them is an option they pursue as an important step in professional development,” added Nancy Hosta, clinical nurse specialist.

While preparing for the exam takes time, nurses can take advantage of the round-the-clock availability of the learning modules. And there is no cost to staff for the online courses. “Online access is convenient for everyone’s schedules,” Hosta added.

Marian Mathieu, nurse manager, who also earned board certification in med-surg nursing in 2006 said that “preparing and sitting for the exam will make nurses stronger in their practice.”

Certification, as defined by the American Board of Nursing Specialties, is the “formal recognition of the specialized knowledge, skills, and experience demonstrated by the achievement of standards identified by a nursing specialty to promote optimal health outcomes.”

The annual gift will help more than 30 med-surg nurses become stronger in their clinical practice as they pursue the in-depth learning that certification requires.

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