Mayo Clinic expert shares tips for making healthcare certifications worth the expense and effort

Kenneth Stensvold offers advice to prospective students about what they should consider before enrolling in a program. 
By John Andrews
07:21 AM

Healthcare is an industry that celebrates academic accomplishment and continuing education. As such, many healthcare professionals seek new certifications for a variety of reasons: career advancement, financial reward, professional recognition and pursuit of new opportunities.

Indeed, there are myriad certifications available for professionals looking to add more alphabet groupings behind their names, but is it always a worthwhile endeavor?

“There is a lot of misunderstanding about this right now,” said Kenneth Stensvold, assistant section head for the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

Before enrolling in a certification program, Stensvold recommended that prospective students ask themselves some pointed questions about it.

“They should ask themselves what purpose are they trying to serve?” he explained. “Are they doing it because it is required or are they doing it to benefit themselves? Cost is a consideration, so does the employer pay for tuition? It is common for some organizations to pay for a portion certification training, depending on performance.”

Another big question, Stensvold said: “What are the benefits? If I spend $300 for a certification, what will it do for me? There needs to be a cost-benefit analysis that shows getting certified produces a tangible benefit.”

The onus is on certifying entities to demonstrate the value and the healthcare industry, in turn, should produce a list of certifications it recognizes, he said.

Stensvold and Mayo Clinic IT program manager Andrew Galbus will discuss this topic during a HIMSS17 session in February.

“We won’t make recommendations, per se, but our intent is to give the information necessary for the individual to decide,” Stensvold said. “This is an opportunity for the audience to join a group for ongoing study, because at this point there are a lot of questions that remain unanswered.”

Their session, “Certification in Healthcare: Learning Where There is Value” is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 23, at 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. in Room 204A. 

HIMSS17 runs from Feb. 19-23, 2017 at the Orange County Convention Center.

This article is part of our ongoing coverage of HIMSS17. Visit Destination HIMSS17 for previews, reporting live from the show floor and after the conference.

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