Overlook Medical Center, Summit, N.J., celebrated Certified Nurses Day this spring with the theme “Pearls of Wisdom — Leading Us into the Future.” The theme’s focus was to encourage mentorship by having certified nurses share their wisdom with those who are not yet certified in a specialty.
The Certified Nurses Day Celebration planning committee chose a pearl as its symbol for the event, which included keynote speaker Karen Drenkard, RN, PhD, NEA-BC, FAAN, executive director, American Nurses Credentialing Center, Silver Spring, Md.
The committee placed a tree adorned with pearls on a table at the April 29 event. One long strand of pearls was draped through the branches while other individual pearls hung as ornaments on the tree.
“Our committee’s goal was to increase the number of certified nurses at Overlook,” said Kathy Finan, RN-BC, AD, co-chairperson of the planning committee. “The strand of pearls was the perfect visual we were looking for to show where our certification numbers were, and as we add one pearl at a time we will see where we hope to be.”
Drenkard’s presentation, “Transformative Power of Clinical Nursing Leadership,” encouraged nurses to act as leaders for themselves, for others and for the medical center.
Planning committee members reminded certified nurses in the audience of the importance of giving back and explained the symbolism of the tree.
The long strand of pearls represented the 388 certified nurses at Overlook, while the individual pearls represented the certified nurses yet to be.
The planning committee asked certified nurses to take a pearl from the tree and give it to a nurse they wished to mentor through the certification process.
“What a wonderful way to do this,” said Kathy Leifeste, RN, MSN, clinical nurse educator for the adult oncology unit. “Certified nurses at Overlook are recognized as ‘pearls’ that possess a valuable body of knowledge which can be passed along to others. By mentoring and supporting our colleagues one at a time toward certification, we will make an impact on quality patient outcomes in our institution and community. On our unit, five eligible nurses are being encouraged to pursue their certification this year.”
Certified nurses were asked to share their wisdom gained through experience or from a mentor.
Committee members said their goal in the next year is for a nurse who is being mentored to become certified, then return the pearl so it can be added to the long strand.
The evening ended with a reception and a silent auction that raised $1,200 to benefit the Thomas Glasser Caregiver Center at Overlook. The center supports families with a quiet space for caregivers to get away to and provides snacks and massages. The center also connects families with needed resources and provides emotional support.
Susan Gallucci, RN-BC, BSN, is a nurse educator at Overlook Medical Center.