Newly Elected CCHP Trustee Credits Credential With Career Advancement

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Posted Dec 22, 2017

When Tara Taylor, MSML, BSN, CCHP, was offered a position as a staff nurse at a correctional facility, she decided to try it for three months. “That was 21 years ago,” she says.

What has kept her working in correctional health care over the years? “I love what I do!” she says. For Taylor, managing patient care means that teamwork and problem-solving are necessary to address daily challenges, and this makes each day unique and exciting: “No two days are the same.”

Throughout her correctional nursing career, Taylor rose through the ranks from staff nurse at Tipton (MO) Correctional Center to her current role as regional director of nursing for Corizon Health’s Missouri Regional Office. As regional director, she supports nursing functions at 22 correctional facilities in the state of Missouri, serving more than 32,000 inmate-patients.

Her day-to-day functions include developing nursing policies and procedures, overseeing the continuous quality improvement program, staff onboarding, auditing, overseeing the clinical education department and other duties. Since the facilities that Taylor supports are NCCHC accredited, she also assists with preparation for reaccreditation. It is in this latter role that she became passionate about NCCHC standards as the benchmark for quality health care.

Prepared to Lead
In 2004, Taylor attended her first of many NCCHC conferences, and that’s where she learned about the Certified Correctional Health Professional program. She recalls that her supervisor was very supportive and encouraged her to pursue certification. Upon realizing her desire to take on a leadership role, she says that becoming a CCHP was the natural next step.

Taylor credits her CCHP status for helping advance her correctional nursing career: “The CCHP credential is essential for leaders in correctional health care and I believe it has shown those making decisions on advancement that I have the knowledge required to lead others in providing quality care.” She says the CCHP credential also reinforces correctional health care as a specialty by recognizing the knowledge necessary to ensure quality patient care in these unique settings.

As a leader in her field, Taylor says it is imperative that she set high expectations for her staff while giving them the support and resources they need to provide the best possible care. “This will lead to better clinical outcomes and healthier patients,” she says.

A Passion for Quality
Taylor is passionate about quality correctional health care in large part because she understands its impact on public health. Over the years, she has seen an increased focus on helping inmates prepare for successful reentry to the community and reducing recidivism. This focus has, in turn, brought corrections and health care staff closer together in their mission to further improve community health. She knows that many of her patients will eventually return to the community and thus makes every effort to send them back healthier than when they arrived. “It is an opportunity to help our patients and our communities be better,” Taylor says.

As the newest member of the CCHP board of trustees, Taylor wants to move the CCHP program forward by continuing to improve the certification process to reflect the evolving needs of correctional health professionals.

If you work in correctional health care and are interested in pursuing CCHP certification to advance your career, visit www.ncchc.org/cchp for information.

This article was written by Katie Przychodzen, MA, NCCHC’s marketing and communications manager. It originally appeared in the Fall 2017 issue of CorrectCare, Vol. 31, Issue 4.