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Strategies for Promoting CCHP Certification to Your Team

By Michael Teasdale, RN, CCHP

Full disclosure: I did not obtain my CCHP certification until I had been in nursing management for quite some time. It was one of my mentors who finally talked me into taking the test. I am so grateful to that mentor.

Now, as a more experienced manager with several years as a CCHP under my belt – and aspirations to take the CCHP-RN exam – I would like all correctional health professionals to experience the benefits that I have gained from being certified. Upmost on my list of benefits is the intimate knowledge of NCCHC’s Standards for Health Services that comes with preparing for the exam.

So, as a nursing manager and a proud CCHP, I have been thinking of ways to educate and encourage my staff to obtain their certification. I present them here.

The first strategy is fairly simple: Talk to your staff. Talk to them individually, during meetings as a group, any way possible. Start to connect the dots between the duties we complete on a daily basis, and the NCCHC standard that provides the context for that duty. It’s incredible to see that “ah ha” moment, especially in the nurse who has been doing a particular task for the last however many years and finally understands the “why” of it. Personally, I try to discuss at least one standard during each monthly staff meeting, and give my staff the opportunity to ask questions about that standard.

After you have put the bug in their ear, get them involved. As nursing managers, we have a laundry list of tasks to accomplish on a daily, monthly, and yearly basis that have to do with the NCCHC standards. Get the staff to participate in those activities, and explain the standard and its intent.

I have found that CQI is a great way to promote certification. Open up your CQI team to include more line staff. Give them projects they can sink their teeth into; get them thinking about ways to improve the level of care in your facility or how to improve an existing process. Then bring it all together for them by having them present the process/outcome study to their peers. That exercise will help the standards come alive.

If your facility is seeking NCCHC accreditation or reaccreditation, form an NCCHC committee. Meet on a regular basis, more often during a survey year. Discuss how the standards are applied at your facility, and have the committee get involved with survey prep. Ask staff to participate in mock surveys in different areas of the facility. If they find an issue, have them create a corrective action plan and merge it with your CQI team.

Meanwhile, continue to promote the idea of certification to your employees. Encourage them to go to events, webinars, and conferences. Remind them of upcoming NCCHC webinars, which provide CE credits. Post conference flyers on your bulletin boards and mention them during your meetings. Encourage staff to take advantage of all the content on the NCCHC website. Print out articles that you think the staff would be interested in and discuss how they apply in your facility. Start a CCHP study group for exam preparation.

Finally, enlist the assistance of senior/executive management within your company. Some companies will even pay for the CCHP exam. Chances are that several of the people in higher management within your organization are also CCHPs. Ask them to promote certification to their direct reports so that they can in turn promote it to their respective staff. Talk with other managers to brainstorm on other ways to promote certification.

Bottom line: expose your staff to the idea, get them involved, and encourage and support them in their pursuit of CCHP certification.

Michael Teasdale RN, CCHP, is regional nurse manager with Rutgers University Correctional Health Care.

 

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