Education & Development

North Country Hospital

provides support to healthcare professionals through national certifications, higher education, preceptor training and simulation training. The goal is to give employees the opportunity to develop new skills, refine existing skills, and grow in their profession.

As a Critical Access Hospital, clinicians at North Country Hospital see patients across a wide spectrum of care without necessarily having specialty units to care for those patients. This means that nurses need a broad range of education and skills to take care of patients in our facility. Education and continuous training helps prepare our clinicians for the unknown.
Approved Provider of Continuing Nursing Education

Education is offered on a unit and facility-wide basis to help employees meet the regulatory assignments and to encourage continuous education in their professional fields.

Clinical Simulation Lab

North Country Hospital has a Clinical Simulation Lab with a computer animated manikin called SIMman that allows nursing students, nurses and physicians to practice clinical procedures in a safe learning environment. Six members of the North Country Team have undergone Laerdal SIMman training and are able to create clinical scenarios for our employees. Employees experience Advanced Life Support techniques and simulation, as well as being able to apply their critical thinking skills in a safe environment. Employees get hands on experiences that will help improve patient outcomes.
Simulation-based learning allows clinicians to practice difficult and/or low-volume procedures in a safe environment. Simulation helps promote standardized training, increases the ability to practice infrequently used skills, promotes team training, and increases clinician confidence in high-risk situations.

American Heart Association

As an American Heart Association Training Center, employees are able to maintain their certifications for Basic Life Support and Advanced Life Support on campus with employed instructors.
Voice-assisted manikins are available on campus for clinicians to practice and certify for their Basic Life Support skills. The American Heart Association’s voice assisted manikins help reduce the variations in monitoring, implementation and quality improvement (Meaney, Bobrow, Mancini, Christenson, de Caen, Bhanji, Abella, Kleinman, Edelson, Berg, Aufderheide, Menon, & Leary, 2013). The manikins help ensure that all five critical components of high-quality CPR are addressed. Interruptions are minimized, compressions are at the adequate rate and depth, leaning between compressions and excessive ventilation are reduced (Meaney et al, 2013). In short, better training, measurement and systems-improvement processes can have a significant impact on survival of cardiac arrest patients (Meaney et al, 2013).
Meaney, P., Bobrow, B., Mancini, M., Christenson, J., de Caen, A., Bhanji, F., Abella, B., Kleinman, M., Edelson, D., Berg, R., Aufderheide, T., Menon, V., and Leary, M. (2013, June 25). CPR Quality: Improving Cardiac Resuscitation Outcomes Both Inside and Outside the Hospital: A Consensus Statement From the American Heart Association. Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association. Retrieved from: AHA

Home-grown instructors

In addition to having American Heart Association Instructors on campus, North Country Hospital is also proud to have in-house lactation consultants and neonatal resuscitation instructors on staff.

Educational Support

North Country Hospital recognizes the need to reward and incentivize employees who achieve national and state certifications above and beyond requirements which are pertinent to their given job position. With these achieved distinctions, it is anticipated that their skill set will be broadened with quality outcomes achieved.
North County Hospital acknowledges its obligation to provide quality care to its patients. NCH therefore recognizes the importance of educational advancement for all its employees. Recognition is provided to employees who initiate and improve their job skills in their chosen fields.
North Country Hospital celebrates Certified Nurses Day on an annual basis. The certified nurses are recognized for their professionalism, leadership and commitment to excellence in patient care.

Surgical Staff Certifications

North Country Hospital Operating Room Nurses have received recognition for being “CNOR Strong” for two years running. A very high percentage of the nurses in the operating room have taken the certifying exam and are CNOR (Certified Operating Room Nurse) certified. The Pre-Operative and Recovery Room nursing staff are 100% certified in CAPA and CPAN (Certified Ambulatory Perianesthesia Nurse and Certified Post Anesthesia Nurse, respectively).
Central Sterile processing employees are 100% CSPD certified. This certification ensures the highest quality standards are met in accordance with government agencies.
SANE Certifications
SANE stands for Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner. State certification obtained by two North Country Hospital employees.

Nursing Orientation

A dedicated preceptor works closely with manager to plan the orientation according to the nurses’ needs. Orientation is based on the nurse’s prior experience. New to specialty orientation is supported and can be designed to transition the experienced nurse to a specialty unit.

Clinical Ladders

The mission of the Clinical Excellence Ladder for RNs (Ladder) is to give individual recognition within the profession of nursing at North Country Hospital (NCH). The Ladder offers support and incentives to participate in continuing education, service, leadership and quality improvement. It is the involvement in these professional activities that serves to strengthen the entire body of nursing and improve patient outcomes.
The Clinical Excellence Ladder serves as a vehicle to:
• Provide a challenging and nurturing environment allowing nurses to excel personally and professionally.
• Develop standards and evaluate nursing practice based on evidence-based research.
• Provide career mobility and compensation to all nurses and especially those who distinguish themselves through expert practice.
• Identify and develop leaders in the clinical staff.
• Recognize and reward outstanding clinical expertise of staff nurses.
• Increase personal job satisfaction.
• Improve retention of nurses by providing opportunities for advancement at the bedside.
As professional nurses working in a Critical Access Hospital, North Country Hospital RNs continuously strive to provide the best and safest care to our patients, their families, and the communities we serve. Many professional nurses here excel in their patient care responsibilities, their stewardship of resources, and their efforts to advance the nursing profession.
The purpose of the Clinical Ladder advancement is to recognize and reward those nurses who go beyond the requirements of their position descriptions to create and sustain excellence in professional practice.
Ladder Levels and Points
There are 5 levels of clinical practice defined at North Country Hospital (NCH).
• RN I is the entry level position for the graduate nurse RN without experience. This supervised position cannot exceed one (1) year.
• RN II is the entry level for the experienced RN performing direct clinical care with at least one (1) year of experience.
• RN III, IV and V levels require the RN to submit an application for the Clinical Excellence Ladder
North Country Hospital’s Clinical Excellence Ladder for RNs is based on a point system. Each enrolled nurse will keep track of points earned during the program year. The Ladder requires a designated number of points for levels III, IV, and V. It is the responsibility of the professional nurse to maintain a record of his/her activities and achievements for the Ladder. This record will be in the form of a “portfolio” presented to the nursing director at the time of application and/or annual evaluation. The ladder establishes the expectation that the nurse will be personally accountable for his/her practice.
Further information regarding clinical ladder incentives and requirements are available after hire.

Clinical Mentors

Many nurses at North Country Hospital participate in mentoring aspiring health career professionals throughout their education experience. High school and college students spend time shadowing and learning nursing specialties throughout the year. Community members spent nearly 3,500 hours shadowing in the Emergency Department, Intensive Care Unit, Medical Surgical Unit, Maternal Child or Surgical Services suite during the 2013-2014 school year. Additionally, approximately 2,500 hours were spent shadowing other departments on campus!
Twenty students from Northern and Central Vermont come to North Country Hospital for education and shadowing through AHEC’s MedQuest program.

Teddy Bear Clinics

Our goal is to familiarize kindergarten students with the ambulance service and emergency department, and make visits to the hospital a less frightening experience for all. Children are encouraged to bring a favorite stuffed animal or doll for a routine “check-up” and tour of the Emergency Department. The program will be about one hour in length.