As a practitioner in the healthcare field, you may find yourself lacking time to further your education and (therefore) career. This is a Catch-22 scenario, because advancing your career and expanding your skill set can allow you to provide better patient care. So you no doubt feel pulled in many different directions – being “pulled” between caring for you patients and ensuring that you advance in your career. So how can you do both?

The Opportunities of Certifications

While many individuals aspire to obtain another time-intensive degree, certifications provide alternate education options for individuals who have limited amounts of time.

Certification courses are offered in a variety of program lengths and at a variety of locations, making it convenient for professionals.  Not only will you be able to add that certification to your resume/CV, you’ll be able to put your new training to good use almost immediately – and your patients will benefit greatly! It’s a true win-win.

In addition, certification programs provide you with an excellent opportunity to interact and network with like-minded professionals; professionals who can come in pretty handy when you want to move on to a position with more authority – and pay.

Quality of Care Benefits

Getting certified also helps your employer. The more staff members that stay current with the latest modalities and techniques, the better off the facility is as a whole. The increased skill set of employees means better patient outcomes. Better patient outcomes means increased rapport within the community for your employer. If a facility’s reputation is positive, it may lead to growth, and that growth can translate into growth for yourself – to a position of more responsibility because you have – you guessed it – professional certifications.

A school of nursing professor, Mary Blegan, recently conducted a quantitative study evaluating patient care/treatment outcome, and the certification level of nurses. “Results showed that hospitals with a larger percentage of nurses who had baccalaureate degrees and certification had lower 30-day mortality and failure to rescue rates for surgical patients. Every 10% increase in the percentage of baccalaureate nurses in hospitals was associated with a 6% decrease in the odds of patients dying (both 30-day mortality and failure to rescue).”

This goes to show that if a facility employs staff that has additional qualifications and education, the patients truly benefit. That is one of the reasons why any healthcare professional (OT, PT, speech therapy, LVN, allied health, etc.) also will see improved patient outcomes, while also contributing to their career.

Availability of Certifications

While most healthcare professions require practitioners to take continuing education credits to maintain their license, it is advisable for individuals to seek education outside of these requirements. Many certifications can be completed in only a few short classes, so the process can be very conducive to your busy schedule.

Here is a list of several popular certifications that are being offered to medical professionals:

  • Registered Nurse Certifications:
    • Age-Specific Considerations with Dosage Calculations
    • Agitation in the Critically Ill
    • Easing the Anguish of Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Physical Therapist Certifications:
    • Cardiovascular and Pulmonary
    • Clinical Electrophysiology
    • Sports
  • Occupational Therapist Certifications:
    • Gerontology (Board)
    • Physical Rehabilitation (Board)
    • Feeding, Eating and Swallowing (Specialty)
  • Speech Therapist Certifications:
    • Language and Literacy
    • School-based Issues
    • Speech and Voice Disorders
  • Licensed Vocational Nurse Certifications:
    • Inhalant Abuse
    • Mental Health: Race, Culture and Ethnicity
    • HIV Counseling & Referral

What about you? Have you found that continuing education or certification programs and classes help your patients as well as your career? Share your experience with us.

Be sure to bookmark the Snelling Medical Blog; next week’s topic will discuss whether going “green” will make your facility safer.

NOTE:  A full-color, downloadable PDF is available.