Three Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune nurses set the pace on certification
By SARAH HAUCK | The Daily News, Jacksonville, N.C. | Published: June 4, 2018
JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (Tribune News Service) — A sign of effective leaders is to lead by example, something a trio at Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune take seriously.
Most recently, the three earned Trauma Certified Registered Nurse credentials — the first ever for Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune (NMCCL).
Three NMCCL staff in leadership within the Emergency Department (ED) have recently earned Trauma Certified Registered Nurse (TCRN) Certification, paving the way for those around them to continue propelling the medical center to the front of patient and trauma care in Navy Medicine.
Lt. Cmdr. David McDonald, Lt. Heidi Schreckenbach and Kylee Cisneros are the first nurses within NMCCL to earn such a certification; McDonald and Schreckenbach being some of the first in the U.S. Navy.
The three were awarded the certification by the Board of Certification for Emergency Nurses, which has only awarded 2,100 total TCRN certifications. The TCRN certification recommends nurses applying for the exam have at least two years of trauma nursing experience, or about 1,000 hours per year, and 20-to-30 hours of trauma-specific education.
Division officer for the ED, Cisneros is proud to have been the first civilian nurse to have earned the certification at NMCCL, and it’s an accomplishment for more than just herself.
“To be the first GS TCRN I think helps to set a standard and an example especially for staff nurses ... one of the biggest complaint(s) you’ll hear from staff nurses that are GS is that they have nowhere to grow or progress,” said Cisneros. “Showing them that I can get the certification will hopefully encourage them to give it a shot as well.”
McDonald explained his desire to pursue the certification was to challenge and encourage others to pursue excellence in trauma nursing.
“For our warfighters to maintain lethality, we must be experts in the field of trauma nursing,” said McDonald. “The board certification is an outward representation to validate a skill set that each of us emergency/trauma nurses must have.”
With NMCCL receiving their American College of Surgeons Level III Trauma Certificate of Verification in February of this year, these nurses receiving trauma specific certifications will help solidify trauma treatment and the final stage of becoming a trauma center designation by the state of North Carolina.
According to Cmdr. Joseph Kotora, ED director, having TCRNs places NMCCL in a position of leadership in Navy Medicine in regards to making trauma care a priority.
“It reinforces the commitment this institution has for the care of the trauma patient, particularly for the nursing side. These three individuals are leaders in the Navy with regards to trauma care. This institution is very proud, I’m sure, that they have taken the initiative to get this certification, which is not easy,” said Kotora. “Am I proud? I couldn’t be prouder. Am I surprised? Not in the least.”
The three TCRNs spent several weeks studying together to prepare for the exam. According to Schreckenbach, the three used various study aids that focused on trauma-related incidence and treatment.
The accomplishment is something not only the nurses, and their department head are proud of, but the command as well, whose support was crucial to the three pursuing the certification.
Cisneros plans to help organize the ED nurses into groups to begin the studying process for their own TCRN certifications.
Much like NMCCL continuing to move towards complete trauma center designation, the staff, with the examples set by the three newest TCRNs and leadership support, will continue to move towards growing the knowledge of trauma and emergency care provided through certifications like this one.
“Board certification is not the beginning or end of the learning process. It is somewhere in the middle. It validated you have the necessary knowledge/skills as an experienced trauma nurse, but it cannot be the end of the professional development spectrum,” said McDonald. “Nursing is always changing and all nurses should be constantly learning and pursuing continued education in their specialty fields. Our warfighters are depending on our ED and trauma nurses to be the best they can possible be – board certification is just one step in the process.”
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