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PNCB Employer Spotlight - CHOC
Reproduced from PNCB CPN Connection Newsletter - January 2008

Since opening its doors in 1964, Children's Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) in Orange, California has provided the highest quality medical care to children. Their regional health system includes a state-of-the-art main hospital facility in the City of Orange, a hospital-within-a-hospital in Mission Viejo, and five community clinics, plus over 100 additional programs and services. With admissions growing by 90% over the last eight years, CHOC and CHOC at Mission have a combined rank as the 15th busiest children's hospital in the country... and 65 of their nurses are CPNs®! Here's why:

Support for the Exam.
We spoke with Donna Timmerman, RN, BSN, CPN, Clinical Educator for CHOC's Med/Surg and Short Stay Units, to find out what makes her employer stand out from the crowd. First and foremost, CHOC offers 100% reimbursement of the exam cost for those who pass. Secondly, nurses receive two paid education days so that they can attend a free two-day review course on-site. CHOC also makes sure nurses can attend the review course by increasing staff on the days it's held, plus staff who take the review course are able to schedule themselves one day less during this week so that they are not in class two days in addition to working their full schedules.

It's also important to note that CHOC brings the CPN® Exam to their nurses through our On-site Testing Program. Taking the exam in a familiar location helps reduce test anxiety and studying together builds camaraderie among colleagues.

A Variety of Resources.
Donna shared that CHOC nurses receive a free workbook during the review course, and current references on pediatric nursing are available to staff on each of the units. CHOC also offers over 100 computerized self-learning modules that staff can access 24/7. Another great resource is the hospital library. Nearly 300 full-text journals are available, plus books and a large collection of web links in medicine and health care. Staff can use this excellent resource in person or online.

Continuing Education.
Throughout the year, CHOC supports the professional development and continuing education of its nurses through numerous educational opportunities. Staff can advance their skills and knowledge while earning CEUs through classes in a broad range of areas and specialties including orthopedics, cardiology, neuroscience, palliative care, evidence based practice and family centered care.

CHOC also offers monthly Clinical Grand Rounds in which nurses can share their expertise with colleagues. Nurses who can't attend can still access the filmed lectures through CHOC's Instant Health Line via television or computer. Plus CHOC's Visiting Professor Program brings in nursing leaders to speak to staff about the latest trends and nursing practices. All employees have access to CHOC's Schoolhouse through the hospital's intranet. Schoolhouse is a tremendous resource where nurses can find an educational calendar of upcoming events and conferences as well as information on college programs in the area and scholarship info. Certification is highlighted on CHOC's intranet as well, with direct links to certifying bodies like the PNCB, so staff can find out more about the importance of certification and how to earn theirs.

CHOC further supports continuing education by paying the costs for nurses to attend conferences in their specialized area. They also promote advanced education and certification by offering a generous tuition reimbursement program. Documentation of a current national certification or a Bachelors of Science in nursing or a related health field is required to participate in CHOC's clinical ladder. Nurses already holding a BSN receive additional clinical ladder points for earning certification.

Keeping Staff Informed.
CHOC does a great job of promoting any upcoming On-site CPN® Exams. PNCB posters with exam brochures are displayed on each unit, and when speaking to staff about certification, nurses are directed to the PNCB website for details concerning the exam, like content, sample questions, and study tips. Moreover, the educators make themselves available to staff to answer questions, and Donna adds, "Before offering the class and exam here, we as educators took the review course and exam ourselves so as to role model success and better answer questions the staff might have."

During CHOC's Nurses Week celebration, staff sets up a booth to highlight certification and share specifics about the benefits of certification. PNCB exam brochures are distributed, and staff collects names of those interested in more information about the review course and the CPN® Exam.

When CHOC nurses earn certification, they receive a letter of congratulations from the CNO, plus CHOC announces the names of newly certified staff in unit newsletters and in their patient care services newsletter, Simply the Best News. At their recent certification celebration this past December, certified staff from Med/Surg and SSU were honored with a plaque bearing their names. The plaque will be posted on each of the units in a public area to be seen by staff, patients, and families. Alongside the plaque, CHOC will display the PNCB's "Wall of Distinction" poster to further recognize their CPNs® and share with the public why certification is important.

Achieving is Believing.
Donna notes that "...the greatest benefit of certification was how staff perceived themselves after certification." When asked about their feelings on being certified, CHOC CPNs® responded that they felt a sense of pride for themselves and the unit for their achievement, a validation of their knowledge of pediatrics, confidence in their abilities, and an increased motivation to continue furthering their education. Donna adds that the success of this group has motivated staff who once were reluctant to test to inquire about upcoming certification opportunities.

It's easy to see that CHOC is definitely an employer who supports certification and continued learning in a huge way. The PNCB applauds the nurses at this facility for their commitment to certification and is proud to feature your hospital in this quarter's Employer Spotlight. Thank you, Donna, for talking with us about CHOC and the wonderful ways it supports its nurses!

If your employer goes the extra mile to support PNCB certification and the professional growth of its nurses, we'd love to hear about it. Simply email feedback@pncb.org with your story to be considered for a future PNCB Employer Spotlight. If you'd like to establish a Wall of Distinction at your facility, or for free brochures on how employers can support certification, please contact us so we can help.


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chocChildren's Hospital of Orange County | UCI University of California, Irvine

Children's Hospital of Orange County is affiliated with UC Irvine Healthcare and UC Irvine School of Medicine

CHOC Children's - 1201 W La Veta Ave, Orange, CA. Phone: 714-997-3000. .