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SLHS Honors Its Certified Nurses

POTSDAM, NY – St. Lawrence Health System (SLHS) proudly recognizes all of its nurses who have taken the extra effort to become nationally board certified in their specialty.

Certified Nurses Day is held annually on March 19 to recognize the men and women in nursing for the professionalism and excellence they contribute to the healthcare industry. Between its Canton-Potsdam, Gouverneur, and Massena hospitals, SLHS is proud to have 44 certified nurses among its ranks who are working in their specialty area.

Pursing and receiving registered nurse (RN) certification is a voluntary accreditation. To become certified, an RN is required to study, work 2,000 hours in a specialty area, pass a standardized national exam, and complete 100 hours of continuing education units every three years.

“While RN licensure validates entry-level competence, certification validates specialty knowledge, experience, and clinical judgment,” stated Canton-Potsdam Hospital Director of Nursing Education, RN, Amy Nugent. “We want to recognize our certified nurses because, as a voluntary process, it demonstrates their exemplary commitment to patient care.”

Gouverneur Hospital Clinical Nurse Educator Julianne Henry, RN, added, “It is important that hospitals recognize their certified nurses, as this designation is representative of nurses who care about the quality, safety, and excellence in the healthcare they deliver.”

Massena Hospital Assistant Director of Nursing Tammy Mitchell, RN, went on to state, “In recognizing our certified nursing staff, it shows we have dedicated staff members who only want the best for our patients. Their continued education provides expertise in many areas of nursing which will ensure the absolute best quality of care for the population we serve.”

Elise Hejna, RN, is a certified critical care nurse in Canton-Potsdam Hospital’s Critical Care Unit (CCU), who pointed out that earning and now maintaining her certification requires her to continue her education, stay current on the best medical and nursing Standards of Practice, and the developments in her field.

“Participation in the National Professional Organization for my specialty area, the American Association of Critical Care Nurses, provides excellent continuing education, online learning, and conferences, which help me stay current on new medical and nursing research developments, and evidence-based best practices in my nursing field,” Ms. Hejna said.

“By being certified, I have demonstrated a certain level of competence and experience in critical care nursing,” she added. “Medicine changes so quickly, and nurses need to be lifelong learners to stay on top of the newest developments.”

Ms. Hejna said being certified helps her feel confident in standard nursing practice and policies when orienting and mentoring new nurses in the Critical Care Unit. She noted when she was deciding which hospital to work in, she looked for specifics which included the number of nationally certified nurses in specialty areas in the hospital.   

“I hope having a number of certified nurses in each care area at CPH instills patients and their families with confidence that we are providing excellent nursing care that meets the national standards in healthcare,” Ms. Hejna stated.

“I truly enjoy CCU nursing because of the specialized care I can provide to my patients and their families. We really get to know our patients because we often take care of them for days or weeks at a time. The blend of the high-tech and hands-on care incorporates the head- and heart-work of nursing,” she said. 

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St. Lawrence Health System’s Nationally Certified Staff Nurses currently working in their specialty are:

Certified Medical-Surgical Nursing: Robin Avery, Sandra Fisher, Ethel Gilbert, Julie Gravelin-Vari, Brian Moore, Kelly Recore, Elizabeth Taylor, and Christie Valdez

Certified Inpatient Obstetric Nursing: Kimberly Belanger, Barbara Bromley, Colleen Grant, and Vicki McLain

Certified Lactation Counselor: Elizabeth Froats, Vicki McLain, Acacia White, and Lindsey Sorrento

Certified Case Manager: Angelia Bernard, and Terri Young

Critical Care Registered Nursing: Elise Hejna, Danielle Melanson, Jean Stoian

Registered Polysomnographic Technologist: Katherine Barkley and Sherry Guyette

Certified Perioperative Nursing: Melissa  Burcume, Katrina Fagerlund, Spencer Farr, Susan Quinell, Melissa Teneyck, Gordon Vavra, Leah Witkop, and Leah Worden

Oncology Certified Nursing: Elise Cole, Bridget Gilbert, and Darien Jackson

Certified Clinical Documentation Specialist: Sheryl Curtis and Joan McGrath

Certified Registered Infusion Nursing: Nova Hogle

Certified Emergency Nursing: Tammy Farr. Sandra Jensen, Kelly Lecuyer, Carol Muench, Mackenzie Palmer, Natasha Quicke, and Christa Tribble

(Note: Staff Nurses only are listed.)