1. Price, Matthew C. MS, RN, CNP, ONP-C, RNFA
  2. President, Orthopaedic Nurses Certification Board

Article Content

Nurses are inherently selfless. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has given us innumerable examples of nurses' selfless commitment to their patients and the greater public health. This selflessness, however, can often result in a neglect of personal needs. As the world heals from this pandemic, so too must we as nurses heal. Remembering Maslow's hierarchy of human needs, we must first address our physiological and safety needs, followed closely by psychological needs through reconnecting intimate relationships and friendships. We should not forget the fourth and fifth needs of the hierarchical pyramid: accomplishment and self-fulfillment, respectively, as we work to achieve our full potentials. Certainly, many of these higher level needs have taken a back seat to ensuring basic needs of coping and survival through these trying times. As we continue to heal, however, we must reconnect, reaffirm, and pursue our self-fulfillment needs.

Matthew C. Price, MS... - Click to enlarge in new window President, Orthopaedic Nurses Certification Board

As we achieve and ensure the basic needs in Maslow's hierarchy, it is important to maintain the connections we had and remember our goals related to achieving higher level needs in the hierarchy. Personally, staying connected with my orthopaedic colleagues has remained a source of energy in coping with the challenges of being so physically distanced. As elective surgeries were cancelled, many of us have been furloughed or redeployed, often outside our orthopaedic comfort zone, to areas with critical staffing shortages and higher acuity patient needs. While missing the physical presence of my orthopaedic colleagues and patients, I found outlets for connection through articles in Orthopaedic Nursing; updates and words of encouragement and hope on NAON's and ONCB's Facebook pages, websites, and email updates; and through my fellow ONCB board members and the larger certified orthopaedic nursing community as a whole.


During these difficult times, one thing that has invariably remained an ongoing source of energy, pride, and fulfillment is my orthopaedic nursing certification. Passing the certification examination, and obtaining my orthopaedic nursing credential, remains one of my proudest moments, allowing me to realize a significant self-fulfillment goal. Seeing my credentials listed on my laboratory coat, in my email signature line, and in my employer's advertisements are small bright spots throughout my day reminding me of, and displaying for others, my accomplishments.


Many of us have turned to electronic resources to help stay connected with our patients, colleagues, and loved ones. Realizing the importance of finding alternate ways to stay connected as we continue to mitigate the pandemic, ONCB has worked to develop and improve its electronic and online presence and offerings.


A digital certification badge (see Figure 1) is now available to all our certificants to help display their achievements in various electronic platforms. The badge can be attached to an email signature line and also directly linked to social media and professional networking profiles. The digital badge provides employers and other interested parties with a direct link to ONCB's certificant database for certification verification. In an effort to expand access to recertification continuing education, ONCB has developed and maintains a "BONEafide" list of free orthopaedic CE on the ONCB website. In addition, while there are many great resources for certification test preparation, there was a perceived need for remote and electronic materials. ONCB has worked to develop and offer a variety of electronic test prep materials.

Figure 1 - Click to enlarge in new windowFigure 1. Example of an ONCB digital badge for the Orthopaedic Nurse Practitioner certification.

ONCB is also exploring options for examination administration through live online proctoring (LOP). Knowing many people still have anxiety about minimizing exposure to groups of people and public venues, ONCB members see LOP as a viable option to help reduce or eliminate these concerns. Furthermore, LOP will help ONCB to offer testing to nurses in more remote locations where brick and mortar test centers may not be convenient. The ability to offer testing in areas where physical testing sites are not available not only benefits nurses in more rural and remote U.S. locations but may also allow ONCB the ability to offer certifications to members of the military deployed overseas as well as a larger contingent of international nurses.


To all of the nurses who have worked tirelessly to bring us through the COVID-19 pandemic, thank you! I hope we can all begin to find ways to now start to heal, care for ourselves, and reach our full potential. I encourage you to find strength in each other, pursue goals that have been on hold, and develop new goals that allow us to continue to grow personally and professionally.