CROP_Kittle copy

Certified Nurses Day March 19 spotlights Upstate’s excellence in nursing

Upstate University Hospital will recognize more than 570 nurses who hold specialty certifications on National Certified Nurses Day March 19.

These specialty certifications are awarded to nurses when they acquire additional skills, knowledge and expertise in a special area. To gain specialty certification, nurses have to meet various eligibility requirements that include experience in the specialty and a specific number of continuing education hours in the specialty as well. Nurses then participate in a rigorous program of study before taking an exam required for each specialty.

Experts say certified nurses raise the standard of practice in the profession and ultimately improve patient safety and care.

Chief Nursing Officer Nancy Page, MS, RN, NEA-BC, who holds the advanced nurse executive specialty certification, said Upstate is committed to ensuring nurses have no obstacles in pursuing advanced certification.

“I am particularly passionate about providing our nurses with the support needed to pursue specialty certification in their chosen specialty field,” Page said. “Nursing is a very dynamic profession with new information and techniques being disseminated every day. Certification is a way to validate specialty knowledge and remain current while constantly enhancing skills and knowledge base.”

Page noted that a good example of the importance of certification can be seen in Upstate’s neuroscience units that boast the highest number of neuroscience/stroke certified register nurses in the region “providing evidence to the expertise provided by the Comprehensive Stroke Center here at Upstate,” she said.

“Upstate and our partner, the RN union, the Public Employees Federation (PEF), plays a significant role in supporting nurses to gain specialty certification,” Page said. “The hospital supports exam and renewal fees, PEF supports review courses throughout the year and Upstate reimburses nurses for payment of online review courses and provides study materials as well.”

Jolene Kittle, MSN, RN, ACCNS-AG, NE-BC, TCRN, CCRN-K, CEN, CFRN, trauma program manager of Upstate’s American College of Surgeons (ACS) verified Level 1 Trauma Center, is one of Upstate’s most-certified nurses. Kittle has six specialty certifications, as a flight registered nurse, adult gerontology clinical nurse specialist, trauma registered nurse, adult critical care, emergency nurse and nurse executive.

Kittle said specialty certifications helped her grow in the profession and validate her clinical experience, while enhancing her skills. “I have worked in a few different clinical areas and there are definitely nuances that make each specialty unique,” she said. “Preparing for and taking the exams helped me hone my specialty, validate the knowledge I had and additionally expand the knowledge I had in the given field.”

Kittle noted that certifications require nurses to continually update their education in the specialty, which, she reports keeps expertise in the specialty area current.

Kittle is a cheerleader when it comes to encouraging nurses to get a specialty certification. “Getting these certifications boost your confidence as well as your knowledge,” she said. “We are fortunate to have a certification reimbursement and active review programs here at Upstate. I encourage all nurses to take advantage of this opportunity.” This demonstrates to our patients and families the commitment of Upstate Nursing to provide cutting edge, high quality nursing care.

Nurses are welcome to participate in the celebration and to learn more about specialty nursing certifications at the following locations and times:

Community Campus (Conference Room D): 6 to 9 a.m., 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., 2:30 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 9 p.m.

Downtown Campus (Kinney Performance Center, 11th floor Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital): 6 to 9 a.m., 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., 2:30 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 9 p.m.

Joslin Diabetes Center: 1 to 3 p.m.

550 Harrison St. (Suite D, Breast Care Conference Room): 1 to 3 p.m.

UHCC (Fifth Floor Large Conference Room): 1 to 3 p.m.

Back to Feature Stories →