After working long hours and gaining years of experience in our specialty, getting certified is a professional goal for many nurses. As nurses, we strive to achieve certification to validate our skills and demonstrate our commitment to excellent patient care. Many national nursing organizations, such as ANCC and specialty organizations like the Board of Certification For Emergency Nursing and the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses, offer nursing certifications.
Popular Nursing Certifications and Their Credentials
- RN-BC: Registered Nurse-Board Certified. Several certifications use these credentials, such as cardiovascular nursing, gerontological nursing, medical-surgical nursing, and nursing case management, among many more.
- CCRN: Critical Care Registered Nurse
- CEN: Certified Emergency Nurse
- NE-BC, NEA-BC: Nurse Executive-Board Certified, Nurse Executive
- NPD-BC: Nursing Professional Development-Board Certified
- OCN: Oncology Certified Nurse
- CDE: Certified Diabetes Educator
- RNC-OB: Inpatient Obstetric Nurse
- SANE-A, SANE-P: Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner-Adult or Pediatric
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Achieving certification is an excellent way for us as nurses to validate our knowledge and years of experience. Being certified is a significant confidence booster and can improve our professional satisfaction. Certification can also increase our patient’s confidence in us. Surveys have shown that patients and their families understand the value of nursing certifications and prefer to receive care from organizations with certified nurses. Holding a certification also demonstrates to patients and colleagues that we are practicing with the highest level of expertise. By having a certification (or more than one!), we gain credibility in our field and support our organizations’ professional reputation.
Being certified increases marketability for nurses because it not only validates our skills but it demonstrates our commitment to our profession. Many certifications require continuing education to maintain the certification. This helps us maintain ongoing competency, which is highly valued by employers. Hospitals that have achieved ANCC Magnet Recognition Program® status seek nurses who have achieved certification as part of their commitment to nursing excellence. Employers want to hire nurses who are experts in their specialty, and certification provides a way for us to communicate our value to potential employers.
Improved Patient Care
Commitment to Lifelong Learning
As an incentive, many healthcare organizations offer bonuses or increased pay to nurses who become certified. While this pay increase may not be the primary motivation for you to get certified, it is a bonus for those nurses who have achieved this honor. Some organizations also offer reimbursement for nurses who take and pass certification exams, making it easier for nurses to meet their goals.