February 10, 2020
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Congratulations to Cristina Ritzema, RMG Clinic RN and National Certification Exam High Scorer!

Cristina achieved the top score out of a cohort of 953 examinees on the October 2019 Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES®) examination!  CHES® is a Magnet-accepted national certification and is administered by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing (NCHEC).  Cristina’s score of 98% is impressive when compared to the national cohort average score of 70%.  NCHEC will be featuring Cristina’s bio (see below) in their Spring 2020 newsletter and social media outlets.

Congratulations, Cristina!  Your achievement proves once again that some of the best of the best nurses can be found right here at Riverside Healthcare.

Cristina Ritzema, MPH, BSN, RN, CHES entered the health profession as a Trauma and Critical Care nurse and thought that she’d found her lifetime calling.  However, Cristina’s nursing career path took a different direction when she was introduced to the challenges and complexities of public health while living with her husband and their five children in developing countries for nearly ten years.  With a vision to make an impact through research and policy change, Cristina pursued a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree in Health Promotion from Liberty University (LU), graduating in September 2019 with a 4.0 GPA and recognition as a Graduate with High Distinction.  Cristina practiced what she was learning while working in Hanoi (Vietnam) as a Health Advisor for rescued victims of human trafficking and abuse and as the Head Nurse at an international school.  She returned to the USA, landing in Illinois with her family in the Fall of 2018, and continued to put her MPH training to use in her “new” home.  As a Kankakee County Health Department intern, Cristina completed a project that helped to optimize Kankakee County’s community health assessment process (Mobilizing for Action through Planning and Partnerships-MAPP).  Likewise, utilizing the competencies she gained through her course of studies, Cristina has contributed to enhancing the quality of care and improving patient outcomes as the Magnet Research Analyst for Riverside Healthcare, providing research support and analyses of evidence-base for nursing practice.  She recently returned to a clinical role and now serves with the same level of commitment as a Riverside Medical Group Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery clinic nurse.  Cristina thinks of nursing and public health as the “science of compassion” and feels extremely privileged to participate in this work.