Magnet Certification - Read About It

A Nurse's Perspective on Advanced Certification

By Janice Reynolds, RN, BC, OCN, CHPN

Janice Reynolds, RN, BC, OCN, CHPN, left, talks with a community member about palliative care.

As a student nurse I worked in a work-study program on an Oncology floor, so my eyes were opened to the fact that oncology patients were different and more complex than the usual Medical/Surgical patients we had on the floor. When I began working at Mid Coast, I realized that there were a lot of oncology patients whether or not they were admitted for reasons related to their cancers. I felt very strongly they deserved someone well-versed in oncology to care for and advocate for them. The only route I felt appropriate was Oncology Certification. At this time I had no mentor, so I read The Principles and Practices of Cancer Nursing, read journals, attended Southern Maine Oncology Nursing Society (SMONS) meetings, took a certification review course, studied certification review guides, and badgered Dr. Keating with questions. This took nearly two years. My husband called me at work the day the letter came telling me I had passed the certification board exam. I cried. It is still one of my happiest moments.

With my Pain Management Certification I am proud to say I was one of the pioneers. As a long-time member of the American Society for Pain Management Nursing (ASPMN), I was most interested in their attempts to create a certification to validate the knowledge of their members. There was a need to develop core curriculum, test questions, study guides, and review courses. I played a small part in this process and was in the first group of nurses to receive this certification in 2005.

The most recent certification I have received is in Hospice and Palliative Care Nursing. The next certification I am thinking about is Gerontology (the study of aging). With the increase in numbers of older Americans, it is said all nurses will need to be Gerontology specialists. I have presented several times on pain management in this population, attended classes related to cancer in older adults, and belong to two Geriatric Special Interest Groups (SIGs). There is still so much to learn.

Janice Reynolds, RN, BC, OCN, CHPN works on the Medical/Surgical/Pediatrics Unit.