Why all the Initials? By Anne Llewellyn, RN-BC, MS, BHSA, CCM, CRRN

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Anne in PinkI am often asked this question when people see my name and the list of credentials that follow. I always answer by saying that I needed all of the credentials to work in the various roles that I have had the honor to participate in during my career. I also caution nurses that when looking at academic education and national certifications to look at the areas that will help you build your career.

As a nurse, I have had very exciting opportunities to use my skills and share my expertise. Like most of us, I started out as a medical surgical nurse than moved to the Emergency Department and then onto Respiratory Intensive Care.  In the mid-80s, I had the opportunity to take a position in Risk Management that broadened my vision of how complex the healthcare system was and why reporting medical errors and other issues was important.  For these roles, being a licensed registered nurse qualified me for these positions. Today, having a Bachelor’s in Nursing is the entry level for nurses. If you are thinking about entering the profession of nursing, or want to advance in your career, make sure you have a BSN after your name. 

When I moved to Florida in 1988 I had the opportunity continue my clinical career in a community hospital as an emergency department nurse. As I was working 3-11 and had a good amount of time on my hands, I decided to enter the world of Case Management.  This was an area that I was not familiar, but a friend shared information about the role and an opportunity in the area where I lived for new case managers so I went for it. Case Management has allowed me to see how patients with chronic conditions and catastrophic injuries coped and moved forward in their lives.  The catastrophic case manager is the one professional who traditionally follows a patient as they transition through the continuum of care to ensure they have the tools and resources to manage their condition and minimize complications. To work in this area, being a licensed registered nurse was required, but today, most organizations require that the professional achieve case management certification. Case Management is a multidisciplinary practice, but the most common professional to practice case management is a nurse.There are several case management certifications today, but the most popular one is the Certified Case Manager (CCM), offered by the Commission of Case Manager Certification.  Having my CCM has opened many doors for me over the years. In my early years in case management, I specialized in catastrophic case management and worked for a company that was regarded as a leader in the practice.  As I developed more experience in this field, I moved to independent practice. Most of the work for independents in the State of Florida was in the area of Workers Compensation. To ensure competency, the State requires case managers to have a national certification to practice. The one credential that fit my expertise and that was approved by the Board of Workers Compensation was a Certified Rehabilitation Registered Nurse (CRRN).  I sat for this exam, passed and had an interesting career in the area of workers compensation where I was responsible for assisting injured workers return to gainful employment.

My career took a twist in the early 90s when I entered into the world of continuing education.  As a leader in the practice of case management, myself and a colleague became partners in a new venture to provide continuing education to professionals who worked in managed care organizations. It was an interesting venture to learn the ins and outs of this field and to develop educational programs that met the needs of physicians, pharmacists, nurses, social workers, case managers and disability management specialists.  As continuous learning is critical for all healthcare professionals, this career move was exciting for me and useful to the professionals we encountered.  As a result of this role and my active participation in the area of case management I was viewed as a thought leader. As a result I was approached by the American Nurses Credentialing Center who asked me to write a book on Case Management. The book was called the Case Management Review and Resource Manual. This was a manual that professionals who were entering the field of Nursing Case Management could use to better understand the practice and prepare for their Nurse Case Manager Certification. Once the book was written, a national certification was developed by ANCC and I was required to take the certification the first year it was offered. As a result of passing this certification, I earned the credential of Registered Nurse Board Certified (RN-BC).

It was during these years, that I continued my formal education and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Health Services and a Master’s Degree in Training and Development.   Both of these degrees prepared me in attaining my latest positions as Editor in Chief and Director of Training and Development for several publishing companies who wanted to enter the field of case management. My role was to provide direction and to build products for professionals working in area of care coordination.

As a result of a life changing medical condition, I am now in the role of a patient and a disabled nurse. This role did not require any certifications or degrees, but has required strength, perseverance and patience. As someone who has always been active, I decided to develop a Blog to share my experience as a nurse, case manager, educator and patient to assist consumers and health care professionals in navigating the complex world of healthcare. Nurse Advocate is my latest venture that is helping me heal and empower others to understand the patient is the center of the healthcare team. So there you have the story behind my name!

If you are interested in learning more about opportunities in nursing, please feel free to email me and we can discuss your goals and share ideas on careers that might match those goals. In closing, know that the profession of nursing offers many opportunities for those willing to take a chance, to step out of your comfort zone and to use the clinical and management skills that you develop as a nurse to do important work that provides personal and professional satisfaction. Here are some resources that might help you realize the potential that are open to you as a nurse.

Future of Nursing Report: The Future of Nursing Report is a sentinel report that outlines the important role nurses play in today’s healthcare system and the value they bring to patients, caregivers and the healthcare team. This report is a must read by all nurses.  http://www.thefutureofnursing.org/IOM-Report

Beyond the Bedside Series: A compilation of articles on the variety of roles nurses can play who want to move Beyond the Bedside: http://www.nursetogether.com/beyond-bedside-nursing-new-nursetogethercom-series to view the entire 40 articles in this series, enter my name into the search engine on the Nurse Together Website.

Nurse Advocate: Follow my Blog, Nurse Advocate to learn about challenges patients and caregivers face when thrust into the complex world of healthcare. The Bog shows how nurses and other members of the healthcare team can use their skills and expertise to improve the healthcare experience for all who enter the healthcare system. http://nurseadvocate5.blogspot.com

Anne Llewellyn, RN-BC, MS, BHSA, CCM, CRRN is the author of Nurse Advocate, a national Blog whose purpose is to educate and empower consumers, caregivers and healthcare professionals who are challenged to navigate the complex world of healthcare. Anne has had a fruitful career as a nurse and has held a number of positions such as a Critical Care Nurse, a Risk Manager, Educator and Editor in Chief, and Director of Training and Development for Dorland Health, a division of Decision Health. In 2015 Anne was awarded the Case Management Society of America’s Lifetime Achievement Award for her lifelong work in Case Management. Anne also is a past President of the Case Management Society of America and author of the Nurse Review and Resource Manual: Nursing Case Management published by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. The book is now in its 4th edition.  Anne lectures nationally and internationally on topics such as case management, patient advocacy, quality of care and patients empowerment. Anne is a mentor and a connector who assists nurses and other members of the team to realize their goals while improving the complex world of healthcare.  

Contact Anne:  Allewellyn5@bellsouth.net

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