Certified Nurses Day 2021: celebrating and supporting lifelong learners

Group of hospital caregivers holding a sign celebrating a newly certified nurse
Kenneth Wall, a nurse at HCA Houston Healthcare Clear Lake in Texas, recently achieved his Certified Emergency Nurse (CEN) certification. (left to right) Donna Baptiste, Dr. Karanja, Kenneth Wall, Jennifer Gonzales, Laurie Roth, Yvette Greer.

Certified Nurses Day occurs every March 19, celebrating the birthday of Dr. Margretta “Gretta” Madden Styles, RN, EdD, FAAN, a visionary nursing leader and scholar.

Florence Nightingale once said, “Let us consider that we are never done as nurses…we must be learning all of our lives.” Like Florence, HCA Healthcare recognizes the unique and intrinsic worth of each individual by supporting lifelong learners. On National Certified Nurses Day, we celebrate HCA Healthcare nursing colleagues who have demonstrated advanced skill, knowledge and practice by earning a professional certification in complex nursing care specialties.

“The value of a specialty nursing certification is becoming more important as healthcare becomes increasingly complex and challenging,” said Steve Tarkington, vice president, HCA Healthcare Center for Clinical Advancement.

As a part of our organization’s robust clinical education offerings and support, HCA Healthcare provides qualifying nurses who wish to pursue a specialty certification the opportunity to take advantage of discounted rates, a voucher program and reimbursement upon successfully completing the certification exam.

In 2020, more than 3,753 HCA Healthcare-affiliated registered nurses expanded their professional expertise and advanced their professional skills through the voucher program to earn certification in specialty areas, including:

  • Emergency Services (BCEN)
  • Critical Care (AACN)
  • Surgical Services (CCI)
  • Medical-Surgical (ANCC)
  • Medical-Surgical (ONCB)

According to the American Association of Critical Care Nurses, the benefits of obtaining a nursing certification include:

  • demonstration that the nurse cares enough to be tested against rigorous standards, confirming their knowledge and skills in a specialty area;
  • creating an environment of professionalism, contributing to staff retention and patient safety;
  • serving as a role model for professional development, lifelong learning and dedication to excellence in patient care, and
  • a sense of pride, fulfillment and empowerment, as well as career advancement. (Research shows nurse leaders prefer hiring a nurse who is certified.)

Thank you to certified nurses across HCA Healthcare for your extraordinary contributions to patient care and your commitment to advancing the nursing practice. Meet a few lifelong learners below…

A female nurse wearing scrubs and a face mask standing in front of hospital sign.
Cori Morrison, oncology certified nurse at HCA Healthcare’s Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center in Las Vegas, Nevada

“To effectively care for patients, I want to be as educated as possible in all of aspects of nursing and treatment,” said Cori Morrison, an oncology certified nurse at HCA Healthcare’s Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. “Being certified helps me achieve this and stay in-tune with the ever changing facets of the oncology world.”

Woman wearing gray blazer.
Callie Ballenger MSN, APRN, FNP-BC, NPD-BC, division nurse residency coordinator, HCA Healthcare’s MidAmerica Division

Callie Ballenger, division nurse residency coordinator for HCA Healthcare’s MidAmerica Division, has a background as a Nurse Practitioner and recently achieved her Nursing Professional Development Certification. “I believe in the importance of lifelong learning and always being the best that I can be. I learn a lot from studying for certification exams. I also think it shows the patients that you are caring for and people that you work with that you are dedicated to the profession,”

Woman wearing white top.
Jenny Weir, double-certified clinical nurse coordinator at HCA Healthcare’s Los Robles Health System in Thousand Oaks, California

“I love to learn, and our field is ever changing,” says double-certified clinical nurse coordinator Jenny Weir of HCA Healthcare’s Los Robles Health System in Thousand Oaks, California. “I’ve been a labor and delivery nurse for more than 30 years and got certified shortly after in inpatient obstetrics. About two years ago, I achieved certification in electronic fetal monitoring. I wanted to show my peers, doctors and patients my specialized experience and that I meet a national standard of excellence. You can always sharpen your skills and be a resource to others.”

A female nurse wearing scrubs and a face mask.
Holly Toscano, certified in Maternal Newborn Nursing, serves HCA Healthcare patients at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center in Las Vegas, Nevada

“With evidence-based practice, nursing is constantly evolving to create better patient outcomes,” said HCA Healthcare colleague Holly Toscano, who is certified in Maternal Newborn Nursing. “As a charge nurse, my certification helps me stay current so I can be a better mentor and resource for our care team and our patients.”

Four female nurses holding a sign celebrating a newly certified nurse.
Newly certified nurse Jennifer Gonzales, celebrates with her peers at HCA Houston Healthcare Clear Lake in Texas. (left to right) Beatriz Zamora Leon, Jennifer Gonzales, Donna Baptiste, Barbara Gonzalez

About HCA Healthcare

HCA Healthcare, one of the nation's leading providers of healthcare services, is comprised of 183 hospitals and more than 2,300 sites of care, in 20 states and the United Kingdom. Our more than 283,000 colleagues are connected by a single purpose — to give patients healthier tomorrows.

As an enterprise, we recognize the significant responsibility we have as a leading healthcare provider within each of the communities we serve, as well as the opportunity we have to improve the lives of the patients for whom we are entrusted to care. Through the compassion, knowledge and skill of our caregivers, and our ability to leverage our scale and innovative capabilities, HCA Healthcare is in a unique position to play a leading role in the transformation of care.

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