Saturday, February 1, 2014

Critical Care Certificate Program

Over the past year I have received numerous questions regarding the Critical Care Certificate Program (CCCP) from nursing students at Liberty University. Most often these questions revolve around what the program is and how it benefits students interested in critical care nursing.

The Critical Care Certificate Program gives students the advantage of taking three American Heart Association tests that nurses normally will not take until they have already graduated. These three tests are Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS), and Neonatal Resuscitation Program (NRP). Taking these tests before graduation allows Liberty Nursing students to achieve more qualifications for a nursing job than most new nursing grads, in effect, giving students an extra advantage. This is particularly helpful for positions, such as those in an intensive care unit (ICU) or emergency department (ED), that require these certifications be acquired soon after being hired.

Another advantage of the CCCP is the numerous hours that are spent in simulation, running code blues, interpreting EKGs, selecting and administering the appropriate drugs to the simulation patients, performing CPR, delivering breaths with an Ambu bag, and practicing recording drugs and interventions given during a response to cardiopulmonary arrest. This provides the opportunity to learn in a low-stress environment by working through real-life scenarios that allow you and your peers to learn from your and others' mistakes as well as successes.

I am currently in the Adult CCCP and loving it! We start each NURS 465 class with two hours of lecture, break for lunch, then come back and run mock codes for three hours. An added benefit is NURS 465 (for the Adult CCCP) counts for the nursing elective required to graduate from Liberty's Nursing Program.

Another advantage of being a part of the CCCP (both Maternal/Child and Adult) is you will be given preference during selection for Leadership. This means that your requests for Leadership clinicals will be looked at first before your peers who are not in the program. The reason for this is that you will need to complete 140 hours of Leadership (NURS 490) clinicals in a critical care setting, such as an ICU or ED, which is greater than the 90 hours of Leadership required of your peers. If you get into the Adult CCCP, you will also have the opportunity to shadow in a critical care setting of interest to you such as the CVOR, flight nursing, EMS/fire department, etc. These are great observational opportunities that you may never have again after graduation.  

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