Shreveport Nurse Earns National Specialty Certification

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For Jennifer Gardner, BSN, RN, CCRN, Nurse Supervisor at LifeCare Hospitals of Shreveport, excellent nursing care is her specialty!

A registered nurse for seven years, she has set several educational advancement goals and achieved them. Her most recent accomplishment: earning the Critical Care Registered Nurse (CCRN) certification. Jennifer is also currently in graduate school for two master’s degrees – an MBA and a Master of Nursing Administration – which she anticipates completing this fall.

The Pulse caught up with Jennifer to find out what drives her passion to keep her skills sharp:

What do you enjoy most about being a nurse?
I enjoy that nursing is a profession and a ministry.  Nursing is a ministry of caring; I enjoy providing compassionate care and comfort to those during their sickest times.  As a nurse leader, I enjoy being a positive role model for all the nurses I supervise.

What inspired you to choose a career in nursing?
I decided to become a nurse because of the endless possibilities. In the seven years as a nurse, nursing has allowed me travel the world as a travel nurse, be a mentor and leader for other nurses as nursing supervisor, and become a nursing entrepreneur through my health care certification company. So many ways to be nurse!

Why do you enjoy working in your department?
I enjoy working with my CNO, Geoff Dewerff, and my co-nurse supervisor, Tandra Garza, because they are very supportive and we work great as a team.  We all are relatively new to our positions and we support each other on this journey of building a strong nursing team.

Why did you choose to pursue this specialty certification?
I decided to become certified in critical care because critical care is my passion.  I love to see sick patients become better because of the nursing and medical care LifeCare provides.  As a nurse leader it is important to promote and demonstrate life-long professional learning and advancement.  It is important that nurses become certified in their nursing specialty because it demonstrates they have advanced knowledge on evidence-based practices and advanced nursing skillsets.

How do you think your specialty certification will help you advance in your career?
My Critical Care Registered Nurse Certification will help advance my career because it has set the foundation for my future goals.  I am going to build on this certification by striving for my next certification: Nurse Manager and Leader (CNML) certification.

Why do you think it’s important for nurses and allied health professionals to keep their skills sharp and pursue certifications in their field of specialty?
It is important for health care professionals to keep their skills sharp and pursue certifications to ensure we provide our patients with optimal care.  Striving for certifications demonstrates that nurses value the work they do and view nursing not as only a job but a profession.  Nursing certifications makes nurse feel proud of their accomplishments and certified nurses are role models for other nurses and other healthcare professionals.

How do you think earning a specialty certification is an example of our value OWN it?
Studying and taking the exam for my critical care certification demonstrated OWN it because I took ownership of my new position as a nurse supervisor and made myself accountable to be the best nurse leader I could be and that began with valuing nursing education and advancement.  We own it by holding ourselves and each other accountable for the patient experience and our professional experiences.  “We do what we say we’re going to do.” I said I wanted to become a Certified Critical Care Nurse (CCRN) and owned it and achieved it!

My Most Relatable Nursing Quote:

“The longer I’m in this profession, the more experiences shape my life, the more amazing colleagues influence me, and the more I see the micro and macro power of nursing.”

By: Joni Watson (Author and Nurse)

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