Nothing Ever Changes at My Hospital

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Nurses can change healthcare, but it starts from within and not from the outside in. Validating your nursing knowledge and skills is the first step to personal and professional development that creates change.

“Nothing ever changes around here, and I mean ever!” a nurse said to me very emphatically. And I had to admit that she was right. Very little ever changes on the outside. It’s on the inside that change can be made in leaps and bounds. I’ve found that in my nursing career, the more I change, the more everything else changes…for the better.

Nursing offers more opportunities than any other career choice. In my nursing career I’ve worked in a variety of different clinical areas, taught nursing students, served as an expert witness, taught continuing education, and worked as a unit manager and house supervisor. Each of these opportunities helped me contribute more to the nursing field and impact thousands of patients.

In 1990, I became certified in Critical Care nursing, and that was just the beginning of a life of constant improvement. The experience of studying for the certification exam made me aware of just how much I didn’t know about nursing and stimulated an interest in continuing my education. From there I obtained a Master’s degree and pursued an additional two years of post-master’s work. The process changed my attitude about healthcare delivery and my role in making nursing all it should be.

Anything that stagnates becomes putrid. The quest for lifetime learning taught me that if anything is going to change it’s up to me to initiate that change, and to begin with myself. When I pursued additional education and certification, my attitudes changed. I saw new opportunities within my current job and outside of it too.

Anyone can do what I’ve done. I’m not just “lucky” because I have a Master’s degree, or because I’m certified in Critical Care nursing. Those things just opened more doors for me. I know nurses with diplomas and associate degrees who teach continuing education and serve as legal nurse consultants. I know nurses with a bachelor’s degree who are managers, supervisors, and teach nursing students.

You can too, and it starts with certification. The extra letters at the end of my name don’t make me a better nurse; it’s the study and self-development that went into certification that makes me a better nurse. In order to consider becoming certified, I had to value myself and had to desire to validate my expertise. The process of preparing for certification taught me things I didn’t know, or had forgotten. And the combination of taking action on my own behalf, and additional study led to more confidence, better collaborative relationships with my peers, and better care for my patients.

Certification is something that you do for you. I’ve stopped teaching certification classes to people who are just “going through the motions.” They attend a seminar because their hospital wants them to become certified and will pay for it. I want to teach the nurses who want certification as a personal and professional goal. Together we’ll get “fired up” about it! These are the nurses who’ll change the system. These are the nurses that our patients rely on. These are the nurses who don’t wait for the system to change before changing themselves – these nurses seek out opportunities to BE the change they want to see happen.

“Nothing ever changes around here” may be true for some, but you don’t have to make it a part of your career. Join me and thousands of other nurses in becoming certified to validate your expertise and start the amazing journey in a career more fulfilling than you ever expected!

David W. Woodruff, MSN, RN, CNS, CCRN helps nurses become extraordinary, and has helped thousands of nurses to become certified through his unique “Test Prep” programs that guarantee success on the certification exams. Get more information at

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David Woodruff