Clinical Corner: Online Certification Courses

Clinical Corner

online nurse certification
Find out why travel nurse companies and hospitals alike prefer — and sometimes require — certifications be earned with a hands-on skills evaluation component.

By Joe Bryowsky RN, Alumnus CCRN

There are numerous online agencies that offer both initial certification as well as renewal of various healthcare certifications, however not all courses and certification cards are acceptable by Medical Solutions standards. The majority of hospitals also do not accept online certifications either. The reasoning for this is that online courses lack the hands-on portion of what would be considered an acceptable course, as they are conducted totally online. Acceptable certification courses can be completed partially online, but will also have a mandatory skills evaluation in front of a qualified instructor.

Why is the hands-on skills analysis with a qualified instructor so important? An instructor is able to observe, assess, and, if needed, correct the candidate at the very same time that skills are being practiced and performed. The instructor is also able to answer any questions as they arise. Online courses do not offer any of these important steps. Online courses can only offer feedback in the form of right or wrong answer.

Lastly, hands-on skills practice and evaluations also teach and promote the concept of teamwork. It is rare, if ever, that a healthcare worker will face a code or any other emergent situation alone.

A few years ago I was speaking with the CNO of a large Level 1 Trauma Center, and I asked him why accepting only certifications from courses that required hands-on skills testing was important and required for his nurses. His answer was quite simple yet very thought-provoking:

“Imagine your teenager comes to you and says, ‘I just finished learning how to drive a car through a course I took online. I passed all the tests with flying colors and even earned this certificate. Can I take your car for a spin now?’”

Then he asked me, “Would you hand him the keys?”

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