In honor of Certified Nurses Day on March 19, we spoke with some of our certified nurses across the Brigham to learn more about what certification means to them.

Stacy Collins

“I’ve always believed that education is a life-long pursuit and beneficial to nurses and their patients. Certification serves to validate the skills, experience and knowledge I have as a trauma nurse. As a Trauma Certified Registered Nurse (TCRN), I feel confident that I am providing my patients with comprehensive care, utilizing evidence-based practice and staying current with emerging trends.

Obtaining certification has been a goal of mine for a very long time—it seemed like the natural progression in terms of professional development. My managers and professional development manager were all very supportive of me pursuing certification, and the Brigham makes it easy by providing a voucher up front—no need to pay and wait for reimbursement. I would encourage any nurse considering it to go for it! It requires effort and dedication, but it is absolutely worth it.”

Stacy Collins, MSN, RN, TCRN, Braunwald Tower 8AB, Burn, Trauma, Surgical Intermediate Care


Gina Damp

“Certification has allowed me to broaden my knowledge beyond lung transplant alone and learn about various organ transplantation processes.  It has allowed me to be more of an expert in my role as a pre-transplant coordinator and has improved my ability to educate my patients, which is a critical component to the transplantation process.

Certification gives you more confidence and evidence-based knowledge to use in your daily practice and interactions with your patients. I encourage others who are interested in certification to seek advice from colleagues who are certified. They are often good resources for educational materials or courses they have taken to help them gain their certification. Seek educational opportunities to help you study for your certification.

If you are a member of a professional organization, there are often opportunities and guidance on methods to study and to obtain certification. Take your time, we all live busy lives inside and out of work. Build time into your schedule to study periodically, when it works best for you.”

– Gina Damp, MSN, RN, CCTC, Pre Lung Transplant Nurse Coordinator


Jonathan Esponilla

“Certification has confirmed my clinical skills and capacities to colleagues, patients and administrators. It helps me provide high-quality patient care, and it fosters professional confidence and solidifies my commitment to nursing.

Certification also opens up professional opportunities. Receiving certification as a Progressive Care Nurse led me to become a nurse in charge on the 16AB medical-surgical intermediate care unit.

I am very thankful for those who encouraged me to pursue my PCCN, including my manager, certified colleagues and professional development team. I encourage all nurses who are qualified to apply for certification, and now is a perfect time. The nursing profession continues to evolve, and as nurses, certification is our best way to learn and grow with the job.”

Jonathan Esponilla, BSN, RN, PCCN, Braunwald Tower, 16AB, Intermediate Medical Surgical Care


Lisa LaRiviere

“My certification has enriched my practice by the depth of specialization, and it invites a more targeted approach to bedside care in the peri-anesthesia area. It has increased my confidence both professionally and personally. I’ve learned more even after 18+ years here at BWH. The class was incredibly informative, and the teacher provided a multi-faceted approach to teaching that accommodates the individual learning languages of the students.

Not only did I feel incredibly supported by the Department of Nursing as well as the Periprocedural Division (which hosted the Certified Post Anesthesia Nurse/Certified Ambulatory Perianesthesia Nurse—CPAN/CAPA—review course), the certification also showed me that furthering our education is important to the Brigham. The certification reminded me of the extensive specialties available to our colleagues and just how awesome our BWH nurses are.

My grandfather always said to me, “people can take a job, a house or your money away from you, but they can never take away your degree or education.” I was raised on that mentality, so I am forever grateful to BWH for providing us this opportunity to further our education and broaden our knowledge base, whether it’s with certifications in specialties, advancing our degrees or just being able to attend classes that help us to improve care to patients and families.”

Lisa LaRiviere, BSN, RN, CPAN, Post-Anesthesia Care Unit


Dolly Nasr

“Being a certified Cardiovascular Registered Nurse (CVRN) not only validates and improves my knowledge in patient care but also provides me with confidence to be a patient advocate. I believe that knowledge is power, and this certification gives my managers trust in me to teach, mentor and share my learning experiences with my peers. Being a bedside nurse isn’t only a career to me, but also a passion. Being certified helps me deliver the best quality and safe care to my patients.

I would also like to thank our Department of Nursing who helped and supported us in earning our certification. Special thanks to both Lisa Govoni who provided us with a review class and Lisa Preston who provided helpful videos and review materials.”

Dolly Nasr, MSN, BSN, RN, CVRN, Electrophysiology Lab, Cardiovascular Diagnostic and Interventional Center (CDIC)


Susanna Pan

“Obtaining a certification in ambulatory care nursing has helped enrich my career. Medicine is constantly evolving, so it’s important for nurses to keep up with the most updated evidence-based practice.

Studying for the certification while working full time can be challenging. However, as someone who has completed the process already, I am confident saying it is doable and well worth the time and effort. The process of getting certified helps us gain more knowledge as we study and prepare for the test. The certification helps show that we are committed to mastering our skills and knowledge in the nursing profession.

While I was studying for the certification exam, I attended one of the exam-preparation classes arranged by the hospital. I found it to be extremely helpful, and I am grateful for the opportunity.”

Susanna Pan, BSN, RN, AMB-BC, CBS, Ambulatory OB/GYN


Hong Zeng

“Neuro changes are usually very subtle, so certification helps me better understand the causes of presenting signs and symptoms, thereby improving patient care and detecting any deterioration sooner in hopes of reducing overall neuro damage.

For those interested in pursuing certification, the available exam guide really helps to direct your study. You can then dive deeper into the Certified Neuroscience Registered Nurse (CNRN) Core Curriculum book for specific topics that interest you. Our professional development managers also have all the resources you need.”

Hong Zeng, BSN, RN, CNRN, Tower 10 BCD, Neurosciences Intermediate Care Unit

Brigham nurses can find more information about the support for certification offered by the Department of Nursing here. Please note that this intranet link is available to staff only.