Credentialling Success Story: Jeff Belcher, BSN, RN, CSSM
Welcome to another new Periop Café Insider column, Credentialing Success Stories. In the coming months, we’re focusing on the CSSM (Certified Surgical Services Manager) certification. We will feature interviews with perioperative professionals on why they pursued this less common credential and how it boosted their confidence and careers.
Jeff Belcher worked as a waiter while in school, earning his ADN. One evening a couple came in for dinner, excited and clearly in the mood to celebrate. The husband told Belcher she was a nurse and had just received her Certified Perioperative Nursing Credential (CNOR).
“I said great, congratulations,” Belcher said. “But at the time, it was completely meaningless to me. I had no idea what they were talking about.”
Fast forward a decade or so into his nursing career, and the CNOR is becoming more common for OR nurses. Even so, Belcher described himself as, at the time, a nurse that didn’t think certification was essential. His perspective changed when he became a leader, but it still took a while for him to realize its value. But when a CNOR became a serious consideration, he had been in leadership for a long time and felt a bit rusty clinical-wise. Then he heard about the CSSM (Certified Surgical Services Manager) certification.
“I thought that this was absolutely perfect. I can get a certification and set a good example for the leaders under me,” Belcher said.
Geared towards perioperative directors and managers, the CSSM covers seven subject areas: operations, finance, human resource management, strategy, leadership, communication and relationship management, and professionalism.
“I had never taken a step back and looked at the work I do as a leader,” Belcher said. “I realized that much of what I did fell pretty neatly into these categories. It wasn’t as hard as I expected because I was already doing a lot of the work, but I also learned new things. It was very validating. However, the exam was still very challenging.”
While the CNOR has become standard, there is less of an expectation for a leader to have a CSSM. Belcher says that when people see the CSSM behind his name, they often don’t know what it is. Once he had the CSSM, he strongly encouraged the supervisors under him at the time to get certifications and was more than okay explaining the benefits.
“I was really surprised at the feeling of accomplishment when I got it. I then used that as a springboard to encourage my leaders to do the same.”
For more information about the CSSM, visit www.cc-institute.org.