They care: Carolinas Hospital System celebrates Certified Nurses Day

FLORENCE, S.C. – Carolinas Hospital System celebrated Certified Nurses Day by honoring its 39 board-certified registered nurses on Monday afternoon.

“We thank our nurses who have demonstrated professionalism and dedication to quality patient care by earning their national board certification,” said Costa Cockfield, chief nursing officer of Carolinas Hospital System.

Cockfield said it is difficult for nurses to receive certification.

“The exams are rigorous, and maintaining board certification takes a lot of dedication and commitment as well,” Cockfield said. “That is why fewer than 20 percent of American nurses are board certified.”

Melissa Howell, a CIU nurse at Carolinas, said becoming certified was always a personal and professional goal.

“It doesn’t necessarily make you better than a nurse that isn’t certified, but I think it encourages you to continue to grow and to learn as a nurse and to make sure that you’re doing the very best care you can for your patient,” Howell said.

Howell said she wants to help other nurses obtain their certifications. While she received her certification less than a year ago, she is already helping others study for their exams.

Rebecca Harrington, a CIU nurse at Carolinas, is the most recently board-certified registered nurse at Carolinas. She received the “traveling trophy” during the ceremony. The trophy changes hands whenever another nurse is certified.

Howell drove Harrington to her four-hour certification exam in Charleston to show support.

“We have a very tight-knit, good crew here,” Harrington said.

Registered nurses at Carolinas hold specialty certifications in areas that include medical-surgical, pediatrics, oncology, orthopedics, emergency nursing, critical care, operating room, addictions, wound care and rehabilitation nursing.

“You have to stay current, because things constantly change in health care,” Howell said.

Cockfield thanked nurses for their dedication and persistence. Nurses who attended received a catered lunch and a thank-you gift from the hospital.

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