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The Value of Certification

SGNA Past President Leslie Stewart, BA RN CGRN and ABCGN Past President Kathryn Miller, RN CGRN share their thoughts about the value of certification for GI/endoscopy registered nurses:

Building a team of excellence...

Leslie Stewart, BA RN CGRN
SGNA Immediate Past President

Despite our sagging economy and escalating public and legislative scrutiny of patient care in this country, there remains significant opportunity for nurses to shape the future of our healthcare delivery system. Nurses are positioned to play a significant role in the attainment of practice excellence that recognizes the challenges of this changing environment. Attaining national certification within our chosen specialty conceptualizes the role of the nurse as a leader in this arena of change.

Certification is an attestation of commitment to professional excellence. It tells those around you that you are an individual interested in building an evidence-based relationship to nursing practice that goes beyond your day to day job. It attests to a devotion of ever increasing knowledge and a passion for the delivery of highest quality care. It speaks to our vision for the future of the nursing profession. Certification is a significant message that needs to be heard in healthcare today. It tells our physicians that we see nursing as their collaborative partners, it tells our patients that we see nursing in its full value of patient care and patient advocacy, and it tells our nursing peers that we see nursing in the light of excellence it will work to attain.

Building a team of excellence in GI/endoscopy comes with certification, as team members focused on this goal are ready to deliver current best practices. They are grounded in the search for the knowledge that supports high quality care in this demandingly efficient inclusive environment. Building the recognition of ANCC Magnet standards draws on need for certification and its power to improve the healthcare in the community we serve.

Striving for national certification within your specialty speaks volumes of your focus to the expectation and delivery of high quality care from everyone on the team. With attention to your own personal professional development through certification, and driven by your conviction and aspiration to deliver best practice, you are telling your professional partners, your peers, your patients that you are taking an active role in the transformation of healthcare we are now witnessing and that you will be ready for whatever the future brings in its expectations for nursing. Certification tells our patients of our vision to “do the right thing" in the delivery of the best standards of care. It tells our patients of our personal interest in life long learning that improves their opportunity for receive positive treatment options.

With its requirement for continued renewal, certification is key to our mission of gaining and sustaining creditability in a rational approach that demonstrates our commitment to implement proactive behaviors based on knowledge and experience. Certification speaks with an authority grounded in accepted nursing responsibility and accountability. In the increasing complexity of our future, nurses need the recognition of certification to attest to their commitment to seize the opportunity to shape the future of our healthcare delivery with the highest quality of professional practice.

I am privileged to be working in a healthcare system, Meridian Health of New Jersey (MH), that recognizes, encourages and respects nurses for the true value we bring to our patients and our communities. MH recognizes that the key to our success lies in the power of developed talent and leadership qualities. With that strong focus MH has built an educational track supported by finance for the development of nursing certification in all nursing specialties with required attainment of national certification within two years of entry into that specialty. Throughout MH, we have built an Endoscopy Team of Excellence that is recognized each year by the ABCGN for the high level of certified RN’s working within our five facilities. Having these teams of excellence in place brings renewed focus to process improvement, to opportunities in nursing research, to recognition of patient care barriers, and to the advancement of the newest technology treatment options. It has created a network of engaged nursing professionals joined by SGNA membership, acknowledged ABCGN recognition, and respect and trust from our professional partners and the community we serve.

Validate your competence, increase patient confidence...

Kathryn Miller, RN CGRN
ABCGN President

ABCGN recently celebrated our 25th anniversary, a milestone in our commitment to excellence and certification. Certified nurses have demonstrated a commitment to their specialty. They are knowledgeable about GI diseases and procedures. They are able to anticipate what steps and equipment will be needed when caring for a patient with a GI disease or while doing a procedure. This impacts patient care in a very positive manner. Certification also fosters a relationship of collegiality and respect with physicians. Certified nurses are sought out to act as a resource for their units or offices. These factors contribute to opportunities to expand one’s role in their career.

The most important reason for a nurse to consider getting certified is to validate his or her competence in their specialty. By becoming certified, this individual has proven through a validated test that they possess the knowledge to care for a patient with a GI disorder or complaint. Basic nursing licensure indicates a minimal professional practice standard. Certification denotes a high level of knowledge and practice. It is important to remember that patients seek out board certified physicians to care for them. You, as a board certified nurse, can offer that same credibility and trust thus increasing patient confidence and satisfaction.

The benefits of certification are personal achievement, job satisfaction, challenge and a commitment to professionalism. Certification is perceived as influencing accountability, accomplishment, growth and specialized knowledge. No one likes to be evaluated. Unfortunately it is a necessary process for employers to use in order to measure the worth that you bring you to your unit or office. The fact that you are certified brings an added value to your department. When an employer is looking for someone to precept, engage in a research project or teach- a certified candidate will be the more likely choice to do this. Your involvement in these types of activities should affect your evaluation and pay increase.

For the nurse it is the knowledge that he/she has the tools necessary to provide quality care to their patients. For units wishing to obtain magnet status, the number of certified nurses in a department is one of the criteria points. Certification has also been associated with high levels of professionalism, which is characterized by attitudes of self-regulation, self-determination and independence. Accrediting agencies such as JCAHO and AAAHC take the number of certified nurses working in an area into account when granting accreditation.

I was selected to manage an ambulatory endoscopy center and then a second one. I feel that one of the factors that influenced this selection was the fact that I was certified. Certification influences accountability, accomplishment, growth and specialized knowledge, as well as a level of recognition among employers, peers and patients. I actively promote certification among staff members as I strongly feel that a certified nurse enhances patient care and collegiality.



To learn more about ABCGN and how you can become certified, visit