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Magnet Moment: Sitting for the PCCN Exam

Monday August 23, 2004
Left to right: Fran Anetrella, RN; Linda Thompson, RN; author Adrienne Turner, RN; and Mary VanAsten, RN. Photo courtesy of Morton Plant Mease Health Care.
Left to right: Fran Anetrella, RN; Linda Thompson, RN; author Adrienne Turner, RN; and Mary VanAsten, RN. Photo courtesy of Morton Plant Mease Health Care.
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In May, the first-ever certification exam in progressive care was administered to some 400 nurses across the country, and 23 Morton Plant Mease Health Care nurses stepped up the challenge to earn their PCCN credential.
The exam, administered in Orlando at the National Teaching Institute exposition, was nothing less than a Magnet moment - and that's because every nurse taking this initial exam was, in the eyes of peers and supervisors alike, a nurse leader and a professional role model. Progressive care nurses seized the opportunity with both hands.
Morton Plant Mease has been recognized for excellence in nursing care as a Magnet institution by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. Professionally, as an organization and as an employer, Morton Plant Mease supports and fosters the growth of its nurses through continuing education opportunities and achievement of professional certification.
The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses defines progressive care as that administered by intermediate, direct observational, step-down, telemetry, and transitional care units. That covers a lot of ground, but one thing is true for all progressive care patients: They're in transition from acute illness to full or modified wellness. Not surprisingly, progressive care involves complex nursing assessments and interventions.
Certification can only contribute to improved patient outcomes. For the nurse, it means increased job satisfaction; for the institution, that translates into nursing retention. Put simply, it's an all-around win.
The May exam asked nurses to demonstrate mastery of knowledge, an understanding of essential clinical skills, and achievement of fundamental core competencies. To be eligible to sit for the exam, RNs needed a minimum of 1,750 hours of direct bedside patient care during the previous two years. The exam lasted two-and-a-half hours and asked 125 questions, 25 of which were intended to gather data for future exams. Exam questions were based on the Synergy Model for patient care, which encompasses patient characteristics and nurse competencies, clinical judgment, professional caring, and ethical practice. For preparation, only the PCCN exam blueprint and reference lists were provided as study tools. Morton Plant Mease progressive and critical care educators developed review classes and offered them weekly beginning six weeks out from the exam date. Various materials were provided, including a mock review exam, to help focus critical-thinking skills.
The goal this year for Morton Plant Mease's Progressive Care Council was to have at least one progressive care certified nurse at each of the system's hospitals. The system is half-way there following this first-time exam. But regardless of whether nurses passed the exam this time or not, the process of preparing for it has boosted their professional self-confidence.
The following nurses achieved progressive care certification: Mary VanAsten, RN, BSN, PCCN; Marcia Rossetti, RN, PCCN; Amy Treu, RN, PCCN; Lisa Manovill, RN, PCCN; Fran Anetrella, RN, PCCN; and Linda Thompson, RN, PCCN.
Leaders talk a lot about cooperation, and this was a golden opportunity to watch it happen - great team work, great educational support, great administrative support, and outstanding recognition for a job well done!
Adrienne Turner, RN, BSN, CCRN, is an education specialist at Morton Plant Hospital in Clearwater and Progressive Care Council chair at the facility. Maryann C. Powell, RN, MSN, is nurse manager, cardiology, at Morton Plant Hospital.