ABNS Award for nursing certification advocacy


Call for nominations

Nominations for the ABNS Award for Nursing Certification Advocacy are due January 15th. Download the award brochure and application here.

Download the newsletter article about the Advocacy Award that your organization can use to distribute to members.

For more information, contact ABNS at (330) 995-9172 or email abns@nursingcertification.org .

2014 Recipient

Suburban Hospital Johns Hopkins Medicine Receives 2014 ABNS Advocacy Award

The ABNS Awards and Recognition Committee announced during the organization’s Spring Assembly meeting that it has selected Suburban Hospital

Johns Hopkins Medicine in Bethesda, MD as the recipient of the 2014 Award for Nursing Certification Advocacy. “The nursing leadership at Suburban implemented creative programs to encourage and recognize specialty nursing certification throughout the hospital,” Cynthia Nowicki Hnatiuk, EdD, RN, CAE, FAAN Chair of the ABNS Awards and Recognition Committee, said. “Their commitment and creativity made their application stand out from the rest and we are honored to recognize them.”

Below is a list of some of the reasons that the Awards & Recognition Committee selected Suburban Hospital Johns Hopkins Medicine.

  • The hospital developed an initiative known fondly as “Commitment Day,” to promote partnership in preparation and support the goal of increasing the number of certified nurses. Initially, the program was focused on recruiting a large group of nurses to take the Certified Emergency Nurse (CEN) exam by a certain date. Three months prior to the exam date was deemed “Commitment Day.” The hospital kicked off “Commitment Day” with a celebration and ended with a signed pledge by nurses committed to certification. The department purchased study guides and offered a variety of “tips” to help candidates prepare for the exam, even creating “Test Tuesday” when candidates took time to take a practice test. As a result of this innovative approach, the number of certified nurses increased 46% from the previous year.
  • The Professional Development Council conducts a hospital wide, biannual nursing education needs assessment. The assessment queries nurses on their certification status, interest in obtaining certification and potential challenges to earning initial certification or maintaining certification. The results guide the development of new initiatives designed to increase specialty certification.
  • The hospital created an award honoring specialty nursing certification.
  • The hospital provides reimbursement for certification fees, continuing education and recertification fees up to $500 per year.
  • The hosptial invests in CE Direct® membership for all nurses, free of charge, which provides unlimited access to 2,500 plus hours of continuing education for nurses including specialty certification test prep content.
  • The hospital provides nurses with paid educational leave to attend certification exams or review courses.
  • Certification is required for promotions to certain position.
  • The hospital publishes certified nurses’ names in The Pulse, the faculty-wide nursing newsletter.
  • Certified nurses are publicly recognized throughout the hospital and in social media outlets such as Facebook.

Through efforts such as those demonstrated by Suburban Hospital Johns Hopkins Medicine, the ABNS Vision - Specialty nursing care is the standard by which the public recognizes quality nursing care - will be achieved.

Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Hospital Receives 2014 ABNS Award for Nursing Certification Advocacy Honorable Mention

The ABNS Awards and Recognition Committee has selected Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Hospital, Allentown, PA, as the honorable mention recipient of the 2014 Award for Nursing Certification Advocacy.

“Good Shepherd is dedicated to promoting the value of specialty certification and making it accessible for all interested and eligible candidates,” Cynthia Nowicki Hnatiuk, EdD, RN, CAE, Chair of the ABNS Awards and Recognition Committee, said. “We welcome them to the family of hospitals and institutions that have demonstrated their outstanding support of nurse certification.”

Increasing the number of certified nurses is an important goal for the hospital. In fact, the hospital’s goal is to have 100 percent of the nurses certified. To demonstrate their commitment to specialty certification, the hospital offers a variety of resources to nurses, including one-on-one coaching to help them through the preparation process. Once certified, they receive first priority to attend conferences and other continuing education events, as well as to participate as speakers or poster presenters.

Recognition as a certified nurse is an important reward for nurses at the hospital. Certified nurses on staff at Good Shepherd strive to be included on the Nursing Recognition Wall, named after the founder of the hospital. Inclusion on the wall demonstrates their commitment to the hospital’s mission.
Other criteria for the Advocacy Award include how the organization or unit supports certification through strategies such as financial reimbursement, requiring certification for new hires, offering paid time off for continuing education, pay differentials, events to honor certificants, etc. Good Shepherd promotes certification through multiple tactics, including:

  • Indicating preference for certified nurses in rehabilitation nursing in job postings.
  • Providing reimbursement of certification and recertification fees.
  • Offering review courses free of charge to interested candidates.
  • Recognizing certified nurses with a luncheon and “Breakfast with the President.”
  • Receiving priority in serving on Nurse Quality and Leadership Committees.
  • Encouraging service in professional associations or local organizations.

2013 Recipient

Methodist Hospital Receives 2013 ABNS Advocacy Award

Maria Shirey (left) presenting award to Ann Scanlon McGinty, PhD, RN, FAAN, Chief Nurse Executive

Methodist Hospital in Houston, TX is the 2013 recipient of the Award for Nursing Certification Advocacy. The award recognizes health care organizations, facilities or departments that are strong advocates of specialty nursing certification. (Read the full press release text here.)

“It was immediately clear from their application that Methodist Hospital has a strong commitment to specialty certification,” Cynthia Nowicki Hnatiuk, EdD, RN, CAE, Chair of the ABNS Awards and Recognition Committee, said. “We applaud their use of creative programs to promote certification to the nursing staff and create excitement around the credentialing process.”

Here are some of the reasons the Committee selected Methodist Hospital:

  • Approximately 34 percent of direct patient care RNs and an impressive 97 percent of nursing managers and directors are certified—an important criteria for the award.
  • The hospital, which has been Magnet designated since 2002, promotes certification among its staff through professional advancement and incentive programs.
  • The hospital used “mobile” certification units to launch a campaign called “In the Know on the Go.” The staff manning the carts quiz nurses’ knowledge on Methodist’s certification data and use the opportunity to discuss certification opportunities.
  • They also recently implemented a certification campaign entitled, “Catch the Fever,” to increase certification rates within all units to 40 percent.
  • Methodist hospital recognizes nurses who earn certification in weekly emails from the President, during an annual reception on Certified Nurses Day, through personal letters from the Certified Nursing Officer, in internal publications, on wall plaques and with a variety of other techniques.
  • In addition to promoting and recognizing certification, Methodist hospital has invested in a dynamic educational system called CE Direct, which delivers online continuing education and certification review courses free of charge to all nurses and allied health professionals.
  • The hospital provides career coaches who evaluate interest in certification and provide support through the process.
  • Methodist partners with aligned partners, such as Gannett Education, to promote relevant professional education and growth opportunities.
  • Nurses are allowed to print their specialty credentials on name badges and wear lapel pins.

The Awards and Recognition Committee also announced at its Spring Assembly meeting that it selected two institutions to receive honorable mentions for the 2013 Award for Nursing Certification Advocacy. ABNS recognized Metro Life Flight, a department within the MetroHealth System, in Cleveland, OH and Suburban Hospital Healthcare System in Bethesda, MD.

2012 Recipient

Morristown Medical Center Receives 2012 ABNS Advocacy Award

The ABNS Awards and Recognition Committee announced during the organization’s Spring Assembly meeting that it has selected Morristown Medical Center in Morristown, NJ as the recipient of the 2012 Award for Nursing Certification Advocacy. (Read full press release)

From Left to Right: Trish O'Keefe (Chief Nursing Officer), Kathleen Boreale (Coordinator Nursing Education), and Jacqueline Stewart (ABNS President)

“Morristown Medical Center exemplifies the core values of this award by making certification a priority for its nursing staff and working tirelessly to remove the barriers that typically prevent nurses from earning a specialty credential,” Cyndee Nowicki Hnatiuk, EdD, RN, CAE, Chair of the ABNS Awards & Recognition Committee, said. “Their application was filled with examples of how to encourage certification hospital wide.”

Morristown Medical Center is one of only 25 hospitals worldwide that has achieved Magnet Status for a third consecutive time. Professional certification is one of the pillars of the Magnet™ Recognition program. Below are some of the activities that Morristown Medical Center implements to promote and support certification:

  • Providing reimbursement for certification and recertification fees
  • Providing examination review courses on site, or reimbursing for attendance at a review course as a way of decreasing barriers to certification
  • Providing paid time off to take an examination or attend a review course
  • Providing continuing education programs or reimbursement to attend CE programs as well as paid time off to attend such programs
  • Providing a pay differential is built into the salary structure for certified nurses
  • Honoring certified nurses on Certified Nurses Day with an event, such as a luncheon, a pin identifying achievement of certification, and a letter of recognition from the CNO
  • Listing newly certified nurses on the hospital’s internal Nursing Education website for all hospital staff to view
  • Sending names of newly certified nurses and their credentials to Nursing Spectrum every six months and published in the “notable nurses” section

2011 Recipient

ABNS Announces East Jefferson General Hospital as the Recipient of the 2011 Advocacy Award

The American Board of Nursing Specialties (ABNS) Awards and Recognition Committee announced during the organization’s Spring Assembly meeting that it has selected the East Jefferson General Hospital (EJGH), Critical Care Division in Metairie, LA as the recipient of the 2011 Award for Nursing Certification Advocacy. The award recognizes health care organizations, facilities or departments that are strong advocates of specialty nursing certification.

“We received a record number of applications for the award this year from candidates who demonstrated their dedication to supporting specialty certification for nurses,” Judy Lentz, Chair of the ABNS Awards Committee, said. “It was difficult to choose a winner, but East Jefferson General Hospital’s Critical Care Division clearly exemplified the characteristics of a unit worthy of this prestigious honor.”

Click here to read the full press release.

Healthy Lifestyles Magazine, inserted into the Times Picayune newspaper, featured the award‐winning staff in honor of Certified Nurses Day 2011.The hospital’s intranet and internal news outlets featured a picture with ABNS representative, Sandra Lee Schafer, RN, MN, AOCN, who presented the award and a story on the division’s accomplishment. Click here to see how the hospital honored the award recipients.

2010 Recipients

ABNS Congratulates the Duke University Health System on Receiving the 2010 ABNS Advocacy Award

ABNS presented the 2010 Advocacy Award to the Duke University Hospital and Durham Regional Hospital earlier this month. Attending the presentation were, Jackie Stewart, President-elect of the American Board of Nursing Specialties, Mary Ann Fuchs, Chief Nursing and Patient Care Services Officer for Duke University Hospital and Duke University Health System, Dr. William Fulkerson, Senior Vice President for Clinical Affairs at Duke University Health System, and Susan Avent, Associate Chief Nursing Officer, Quality for Duke University Hospital.

Among the criteria necessary to win this award, the organization must document the total number of direct patient care RNs and nursing managers and the number and percentage who are certified in specialty nursing. Nearly 30 percent of direct caregivers and 62 percent of the nursing management employed at Duke are certified.

Other criteria include how the organization supports those nurses interested in seeking certification. Duke encourages certification through a system of career ladders that are designed to reward and promote certified nurses, on-site courses for exam preparation, paid leave for nurses attending educational events and conferences, opportunities to earn continuing education credit for recertification, and financial payments to cover certification and recertification fees. Duke currently offers a one-time payment of $1,000 at the time of initial certification and $750 for recertification.

Utilizing a grant from BearingPoint, a global consulting company focused on systems integration, and managed services, Duke created the Certification Ambassadors Council in 2006. The Council is a formal group within the health system (complete with bylaws, mission and vision statements and values) whose mission is to promote a culture which values and encourages nursing certification. It hosts recognition events such as the annual nursing certification breakfast and activities related to Certified Nurses Day and Nurse Week. They are also responsible for placing announcements recognizing new certificants in the system’s internal publications.

ABNS congratulates the Duke University Hospital.

Click here to read more about the 2010 Advocacy Award Winner.


ABNS Congratulates Three Organizations Receiving Honorable Mentions

ABNS recognized the Lahey Clinic in Burlington, MA, the Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage, AK, and the CHRISTUS Hospital-St. Elizabeth & St. Mary in Beaumont, TX as strong advocates of specialty nursing certification.

  • Lahey Clinic – more than 17 percent of direct patient care RNs and 46 percent of nursing managers are certified. For those nurses who have successfully achieved their initial certification, Lahey Clinic’s policy is to reimburse the cost of the initial examination fee and subsequent recertification fees.
  • Providence Alaska Medical Center – more than 25 percent of direct patient care RNs and more than 42 percent of nursing managers are certified. For the Providence Alaska Medical Center, geography is one of the biggest barriers for RNs interested in obtaining a specialty certification due to travel expenses from Alaska to the lower 48 states. PAMC provides a tuition reimbursement benefit to offset costs of travel fees.
  • CHRISTUS – 26 percent of direct patient care RNs and 57 percent of nursing managers are certified. CHRISTUS Hospital requires certification for many open positions, including listing credentials for various positions in job announcements. Nurses also receive a pay differential of $.50 per hour. The hospital also celebrates Certified Nurses Day and holds a quarterly tea to celebrate certified or recertified nurses.

Click here for read more.

Past recipients

Past recipients of the ABNS Award for Nursing Certification Advocacy include:

St. Mary’s Medical Center, Evansville, Indiana

Orlando Regional Healthcare (ORH), Orlando, Florida

Robert Packer Hospital, Sayre, Pennsylvania

The 4th Floor Surgical Acute Department of Scripps Memorial Hospital, La Jolla, California

Saint Peter’s University Hospital, New Brunswick, New Jersey

Avera McKennan Hospital and University Health Center, Sioux Falls, South Dakota

2003 (Inaugural Award)
Genesis Medical Center (Davenport, IA) and the Iowa Department of Public Health (Des Moines, IA)