NCCHC Connect Provides Forum for CCHPs and Potential Candidates

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Posted Sep 6, 2018

NCCHC Connect

In July, the National Commission launched NCCHC Connect, the first-ever online community specifically for correctional health professionals. With more than 600 members and 20 discussion groups, the community is going strong.

One of the most active groups in the online community is the CCHP group, where members are sharing ideas on a variety of interesting topics and learning from one another in the process. Of particular interest to members is the value of earning the Certified Correctional Health Professional credential.

For instance, after Judy Snow, MA, LPC, CCHP-MH, said, “Power in numbers—the more we have certified, the stronger the influence we will have as a body of correctional health professionals,” a conversation began about how to increase the numbers of CCHPs in the field. One idea that other CCHPs were very excited about is certification sponsorship programs.

Victoria Scotti, MSN, RN, CCHP, shared what happens at the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office: “We sponsor five staff members each year for CCHP certification. We maintain five complete sets of the required material for the applicants to use in preparation for the test. It has worked out quite well so far!” To this, Christine Richardson, JD, MA, LPN, CCHP, responded, “Sponsoring is a great concept, one that should become viral.”

Exam Prep Tips

CCHPs are also sharing tips on how to prepare for the exam. Daniel Cuscela, DO, CCHP, explained that he worked with the education department at his facility, FMC Butner, when preparing to take the test: “They had a full collection of books and reviews available for loan. They helped me prepare and I was able to pass the test.”

Kelly Ciccone, MSN, RN, CCHP, posted about creating a study group: “I purchased all of the [standards] manuals and organized a study group for staff members who planned to take the CCHP exam. We reviewed the manuals and highlighted focus areas we anticipated might be test material. Next, we made our own list of focus study facts and made a game of answering potential test questions. The exam was not easy, but we all passed!”

Sharing Stories

The community also shares ideas for keeping the standards front of mind. Ciccone said, “I like to use information from the manuals to select a topic each month or quarter to share and review with our staff. These ‘Hot Tips and Hot Topics’ are either randomly selected or they can be identified as ‘opportunities for improvement’ during monthly inspections. Ongoing attention [to the standards] helps people prepare for certification and also helps those who are already certified continue to improve knowledge and skills.”

NCCHC Connect is also a place to hear the stories of other committed correctional health professionals.

Sue Smith, MSN, RN, CCHP-RN, tells this story: “Certification was one of the surefire ways that I could change the minds of my college nursing professors when I told them I was going to become a correctional nurse. One of the first questions I would be asked was, ‘Is there a certification available for correctional nurses?’—I could see the doubt in their eyes. But of course I could respond that, yes, there was. I saw their expressions change every time. Certification is respected throughout the health care professions—it is always seen as a mark of excellence.”

Note: The NCCHC Connect posts included in this article have been edited for clarity.

— Katie Przychodzen, MA, is marketing and communications manager for NCCHC.

Learn more about the CCHP program »