A Success Story in Certification: UC Davis Health, Inpatient Renal Services Unit

Thursday, July 22nd, 2021

2021 Nephrology Nursing Certification

Advocacy Award Winner


By emphasizing excellence, autonomy, and accountability, the inpatient Renal Services Unit at UC Davis Health in Sacramento, CA, has consistently logged a record of success in patient care and accolades from their facility. Now they have another trophy to add to their collection: the NNCC 2021 Award for Nephrology Nursing Certification Advocacy.

The UC Davis dialysis unit award application was submitted by Vincent Paracuelles, BSN, RN, Assistant Nurse Manager, Inpatient Renal Services Program and Facility Manager, Outpatient Pediatric Peritoneal Dialysis. (See below for an interview with Mr. Paracuelles.)

According to NNCC President Sandra Bodin, MA, RN, CNN, the UC Davis Unit stood out for its comprehensive support of certification.

“They clearly nurture their nurses’ progression on the clinical ladder and put patient care first,” Bodin said. “The NNCC Commissioners believe strongly that certification improves patient care, and the methods UC Davis has put in place to support certification for the Renal Services Unit clinical staff is impressive.”

NNCC gives the Advocacy Award to one unit each year for outstanding performance in advancing nephrology nursing certification and patient care. Applications are reviewed by the NNCC Board of Commissioners, which looks for programs and activities that support certification. The Commissioners also consider the impact the facility has on the community.

NNCC Commissioner Danilo Concepcion, will present the award to the UC Davis staff members in August. The unit will receive an engraved plaque and a check for $1,000.

An Interview with Vincent Paracuelles

To further honor the dedicated staff members, we spoke with Mr. Paracuelles about his unit’s award.

Why did you submit an application for your unit for the NNCC Advocacy Award?

We have made some amazing strides in our renal department that exemplify our nursing practice. This work is done by our certified nephrology nurses and certified dialysis nurses. I wanted to showcase these events.

Name some things you feel particularly distinguish your unit and staff members.

Our UC Davis Health – Adult Nephrology and Pediatric Nephrology services are both ranked nationally by U.S. News and World Report. Our staff values excellence, and we put meaning and purpose in our nephrology nursing practice.

Why is certification important to the nurses in your department and your facility?

Certification is encouraged for each one of us throughout UC Davis Health. As a hospital that has received Magnet® recognition by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), there is a culture of excellence, professional autonomy, and accountability here. We take pride in delivering the best care in our patients.

How do you motivate your nurses to get certified?

Motivating our nurses this past year was very challenging, as we encountered the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in California. We dealt with different challenges at home and at work. Fortunately, early this year, we were able to regroup and realign our goals and objectives within the Unit-Based Practice Council. We already have the infrastructure, the resources, the monetary awards, or stipends, in place to motivate our nurses to get the certification and we highlight that in our current meetings.

Does your employer value/appreciate nephrology nursing certification? if so, how?

UC Davis Health values any type of certification within any specialty. To honor and recognize our newly certified nurses, we publish their names on our Inpatient Renal Services website and in the main UC Davis Health Nurse Journal. The certification can then be used to move up the career ladder.

Where do you go from here?

Our Inpatient Renal Services Unit, through transformational leadership and collaboration with our Unit-Based Practice Council, will continue our quest to challenge and motivate our nurses to pursue a higher level of practice either through nephrology nursing certification or advance practice nursing.

What would you tell other nurses who are considering nephrology nursing certification?

According to the CDC, kidney disease is the 9th leading cause of death in the United States. With that said, there’s always a place for nephrology nursing. Nephrology nursing certification could then be one of the exciting cornerstones that can highlight your career and your passion to serve our dialysis patient population.

More About the Award

The Award for Nephrology Nursing Certification Advocacy, launched by NNCC in 2014, recognizes organizations that promote certification in nephrology nursing and achieve excellence in patient care. Recipients are selected based on their performance in the following criteria:

  • Valuing certification as a way to promote safety and improve quality care.
  • Informing the public about the specialty and the value of certification.
  • Supporting those staff members interested in seeking certification.
  • Recognizing staff members who are certified.
  • Advancing the cause of specialty nephrology certification.

To be eligible for the award, an organization must provide patient care to individuals with kidney disease and employ certified nurses and technicians. Such facilities include free-standing outpatient dialysis units, hospitals, and ambulatory care clinics, or units or divisions of larger organizations.

Complete information and a downloadable application are available on the NNCC Advocacy Award Page. Those who wish to be considered for the 2022 award must apply before January 1, 2022.

Reported by NNCC Media and Communications Director Janet Perrella-D’Alesandro.

View all NNCC awards, scholarships, and grants and apply.