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Whitman Partners Credentialing Success Story: Daphny Peneza, MSN, RN, CNOR, CSSM, FAORN 

April 27, 2023


Whitman Partners Credentialing Success Story: Daphny Peneza, MSN, RN, CNOR, CSSM, FAORN 

Welcome to Periop Café Insider’s newest column, Credentialing Success Stories. 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.   

Daphny Peneza had no qualms about pursuing her CSSM. “I wanted to know if I had what it takes to be a leader. It was also an evaluation of my master’s degree in nursing management. And you know what? I passed on the first try in 2018.” 

Peneza is the perioperative services manager for the neurosurgery and otolaryngology operating rooms at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, TN. It is clear that she has a strong passion for continuing education. She helped develop three certifications as a CCI Certification Council Member during the height of the COVID pandemic, is a former AORN Clinical Nurse Educator Specialty Assembly Chair, and served as President of AORN’s Houston Chapter from 2020 – 2021.  

How the CSSM helped her as a leader. While her previous roles (charge nurse, nurse educator) and education exposed her to various aspects of leadership, the CSSM helped her implement specific strategies laid out in the CSSM. 

“At the time, one of my mentors was already encouraging me to lead a professional association (AORN Houston), and my hesitation was that I did not have a formal leadership position,” Peneza says. “I thought getting the CSSM was a good way to if I had what it took. It confirmed my leadership potential.” 

CNOR value vs. CSSM value. Peneza says that the CNOR is the gold standard for clinical perioperative practice. But the CSSM has now become the gold standard for gauging one’s preparation as a clinical leader in the perioperative setting.  

“The journey of preparing yourself for a certification that is tailor-made for leadership in the perioperative setting is beyond amazing,” Peneza says. “Perioperative is extremely multidisciplinary. You must balance time, resources, staffing, and real estate (if your organization has a long history). The CSSM uncovers specific approaches to overseeing a team, especially regarding the business aspect of perioperative practice.” 

Healthcare needs to move forward. As a leader, Peneza’s vision as a perioperative leader is to infuse innovative strategies to move the industry into a streamlined future. For her, the CSSM is one tool to achieve that. 

“The greatest thing the healthcare industry needs to work on is being open to growth opportunities. That means considering new views, looking at trends, and thinking outside the box.” 

Go here for more information about the CSSM.