Wednesday was supposed to be a day to talk about the success the pediatric nurses at St. Vincent have achieved, with all 24 of the nurses on the floor now certified pediatric nurses.
The hospital is one of just two in the United States the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board is aware of that has reached that 100 percent mark.
Instead, pediatric nurse manager Amber Pisk and Bryana Reiter, clinical supervisor for pediatrics and the pediatric intensive care unit, pitched a story about a couple needing to secure home care for their son before they could return to Bozeman.
Focusing on young patients and their parents comes naturally to these nurses, Pisk said.
“In working toward our certification, the nurses gained a great deal of knowledge and skill they’re able to put toward their work in caring for these children,” she said.
Reiter, who began her career as a nurse nine years ago at St. Vincent, was the first nurse at St. Vincent to achieve the national certification. It took her about a year and a half.
Nurses must work 1,800 hours in pediatrics in 24 months to take the test. The experience-based test includes 175 multiple-choice questions.
Once she earned the CPN designation, Reiter became a CPN champion, a volunteer position, to promote certification and help other nurses on her floor work to attain theirs.
“There was never a goal to say we were 100 percent,” Reiter said. “It was very much a professional step in all our careers.”
But once they all achieved it, "it was a pretty big sense of accomplishment," she said.
They will have to complete continuing pediatric nursing education to maintain the certification.
“The goal is to stay up to date with the most current best practices,” Reiter said.
The first-time pass rate for the exam is 77 percent, said Lori Anne Boocks, director of marketing and communications for the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board.
“I think it speaks to the commitment of care,” Boocks said of the St. Vincent nurses. “Even though families might not ask, the fact that they, as a cohesive group, have undertaken this as a goal and met it is exemplary.”
The bottom line, Reiter said, is she and her coworkers love kids.
“Being certified is a commitment to our community that we take the best care of children we can,” Reiter said.