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Is a Nursing Certification Right for You?

All nurses, no matter the level of education, should never stop learning. The healthcare system and the delivery of patient care are complex and constantly evolving. Nursing certifications allows registered nurses to build on their expertise and stay up to date on innovative medical procedures and techniques.

What Is Nursing Certification?

Certification validates nurses’ professional capabilities and expert knowledge in their field of nursing. The certification is a credential not a license.

What Does It Mean To Be Certified?

Certification demonstrates to employers and patients that a nurse has the competencies required to practice in a defined area of nursing. The Lippincott Nursing Center has a full list of nursing certification associations. The following are a just a few examples.

  • American Nurses Credentialing Center.
  • American Association of Critical Care Nurses Certification Corporation.
  • American Holistic Nurses Credentialing Corporation.
  • Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing.
  • Medical-Surgical Nursing Certification Board.

How Does Certification Help Nurses?

When nurses pursue certification, they show a dedication to achieving a higher level of preparation. Additionally, employers may prefer to hire RNs with certifications. Nurses also may find that they are qualified to move ahead in their careers to positions that offer an increase in salary. Besides the occupational perks, nurses feel pride that they have earned confirmation of their nursing skills. Here are a few other reasons why nurses should acquire certification:

  • Expertise in handling patients with complex diseases and chronic ailments.
  • Improved patient outcomes.
  • Professional development.
  • Demonstration of leadership.
  • Continued preparation.
  • Career mobility.

Why Is Nursing Certification Beneficial for Patients?

Nurses who are certified in a specific area of patient care can gain confidence in their nursing ability which can lead to fewer errors and better patient satisfaction. In the study, Nursing Specialty Certification and Patient Outcomes: What We Know in Acute Care Hospitals and Future Directions, Diane Boyle concluded that there is a connection between nursing specialty certification and positive patient outcomes, such as lowering the rates of total patient falls, pressure injuries, selected hospital-acquired infections, failure to rescue and fatalities.

What Types of Certifications Are Available?

A multitude of certifications exist in nursing. Nurses can be certified in life support, a nursing specialty or advanced practice. Here are some certifications nurses may obtain.

  • Basic Life Support — BLS
  • Advanced Cardiac Life Support — ACLS
  • Advanced Certified Hospice and Palliative Nurse — ACHPN
  • Adult Health Clinical Nurse Specialist – Board-Certified — ACNS-BC
  • Certified Pediatric Nurse — CPN

What Is the Certification Process?

The certification process involves submitting an application, meeting eligibility conditions, receiving approval, and taking and passing an exam. Before nurses can sit for a certification test they have to meet certain requirements which may include:

  • An unrestricted RN license.
  • Specified minimal level of preparation such as a holding at least a bachelor’s degree.
  • Required years or hours of experience in nursing and specialty practice.

What Role Do Employers Have in Nursing Certification?

Employers can offer financial incentives to nurses so it is easier for them to make a decision about seeking certification. They may reimburse nurses for review courses or pay application fees. By supporting certification, employers can create a workplace where nurses are valued for their nursing knowledge and proficiency. This may lead to prominence in the competitive healthcare market and result in successful recruitment and retention of employees.

Nurses need the proper preparation so they can provide intricate care to critically ill patients. Nursing certification is a mark of excellence in healthcare. The credential signifies to patients that a nurse is committed to delivering safe, quality care. Employers can encourage nurses to acquire certification by offering a raise in salary or job advancement. A nursing career entails lifelong learning. While nurses may obtain certifications, they also must remain vigilant about renewing these credentials to keep them current.

Learn more about La Salle University’s online RN to BSN program.

Sources: Life Cycle of a Nurse: Professional Nursing Certification

Elsevier: Nursing Specialty Certification and Patient Outcomes: What We Know in Acute Care Hospitals and Future Directions

American Association of Critical-Care Nurses: Certification Benefits Patients, Employers and Nurses

American Holistic Nurses Credentialing Corporation: Certification Overview Complete List of Common Nursing Certifications

American Journal of Nursing: Reap the Benefits of Certification

Nurse Journal: 5 Most Common Types of Nursing Certifications You Should Have

Working Nurse: The Power of Nursing Specialty Certifications

Lippincott Nursing Center: Nursing Certification Boards by Specialty

American Nurses Credentialing Center: Certification

American Traveler: RNs and New Grads Increase Value With Advanced Certifications

Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing

American Mobile: Why and Where to Pursue Nursing Certification

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