Like physicians, nurses have the opportunity to specialize in a particular area of healthcare. This is accomplished by obtaining certification, which promotes safety, excellence in nursing, and demonstrates the knowledge and proficiency of a nurse in a certain specialty. In many cases, certification provides a nurse with the expertise to care for patients with many needs. Also, it is linked to better patient outcomes and improved quality of care.
I recently completed the Orthopaedic Nurse Certification programs and wanted to share my reasons for seeking additional education and certification.
What does it mean to be a certified orthopedic nurse?
Orthopedic Nurse Certification (ONC) means the nurse who attained it has demonstrated both expertise in orthopaedic nursing as well as a commitment to lifelong orthopaedic education. To apply, a nurse must:
- Be in active practice for two years
- Be licensed by the state
- Have at least 1,000 hours of orthopaedic nursing practice in the past three years
After that, I prepared for and passed the 150-question test.
Why did you decide to pursue this certification?
My manager Beth Gard and co-worker Carrie Nowatzke, both of whom have their ONC, encouraged me. This was a good time to truly assess my knowledge of orthopaedic nursing. Assisting in the development of the Nurse Navigation department at OrthoNebraska led to a transformation for me. I felt truly engaged as a nurse. I have a vested interest in not only this department we created but also the wildly positive effects it has had on our patient’s joint replacement journey and the teamwork it has created throughout OrthoNebraska.
What did you learn or what has it empowered you to do?
I learned – and was pleasantly surprised by – how much I already knew. The more I studied, the more connections I made about how body systems affect each other in relation to orthopedics. I also better understand what patients might need both physically and emotionally from their nurse. It has empowered me to continue educating myself, encouraging my professional growth in orthopaedics.
What would you tell others about the certification?
I felt unprepared for how proud I would be of myself. As I approach my 20th year of nursing, I have a renewed sense of excitement in my field. Medicine is constantly changing, and this has inspired me to be ready for those changes. I would say to someone wondering about ONC to go for it! You likely know more than you realize. Especially at OrthoNebraska, we already give exceptional orthopedic care. I would tell anyone considering the certification that it’s a chance to be recognized for what you do every day.
What do you want patients/the public to know about this certification, OrthoNebraska or our nurses in general?
As an ONC Nurse, I understand the complex challenges that our specialized patients face, and I am ready to help. Our clinic and hospital nurses create such a wonderful team together, wherever you turn you will be met with nurses who understand what you are going through.
For more information on the Orthopaedic Nurse Certification, visit www.oncb.org.