Question on Certification

  1. If I've passed my NCLEX, I will be working on a cardiac stepdown unit. We get CABG patients, various cardiac conditions, ICU overflow. So, what kind of certification should I eventually seek? CCRN, RNC in cardiovascular nursing? what?

    Thanks for your help.

    Acosmic
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  2. 11 Comments

  3. by   RNPATL
    If you are going to be working on a cardiac step down unit that deals with post-op CABG as well as different types of thoracic patients and cardiac drips, you might want to consider getting your CVRN certification. The ANCC offers this certification as well as the CV professional organization. It really depends on what your future is going to be. If you are planning to move into critical care, such as post open heart recovery (CCU) or ICU, then perhaps you should get your CCRN.

    I have worked both areas and have made the decision that I am going to go for CCRN. This is the area that I plan on staying in for a while and might as well have the certification to back me up.

    Good luck.
  4. by   Celia M
    The AACN have a new certification aimed at nurses working in step down units called the PCCN Progressive Care Certified Nurse. For more info go to www.aacn.org
  5. by   TexasCCRN
    Quote from Celia M
    The AACN have a new certification aimed at nurses working in step down units called the PCCN Progressive Care Certified Nurse. For more info go to www.aacn.org
    I agree with this. Working in a SD unit you will not be seeing the "fresh" open heart patients and critical ICU patients, but you will be seeing a very high acuity probably. PCCN would be the best thing. Good Luck
  6. by   TxNurs32
    I attended a CCRN/PCCN review this week with Nancy Townsend. She suggests telemetry/stepdown nurses get CCRN. The PCCN is new so it does not have validity and reliability results yet and it it not as recognized as the CCRN. She also made the point that if you look at the test plans, they are not that different.
  7. by   powertonurses
    AACN also has the PCCN certification (Progressive Care Certified Nurse) - it is the one I would recommend for anyone in a primarily cardiac step down unit. www.aacn.org
  8. by   TopherSRN
    Doubt you would meet pre-reqs (CC hours) for CCRN. Fairly certain stepdown isn't critical care. You would also be at a huge disadvantage taking the CCRN having never worked with swans, vents,or the active titration of vasoactive gtts.
  9. by   anonymurse
    You know I had this same Q myself. However a quick search of the forums netted 2 threads containing the search term PCCN (this and one posting with no replies), 1 thread mentioning CVRN (this), and 487 mentioning CCRN. I just called AACN and learned it was a "gray area" and was transferred to someone for clarification, but they're only there M-Th. Anyway it seems if you aren't planning on a tele career, but want to eventually move on to ICU, CCU or even ED, if there is any way to sit for the CCRN, that would be much more of a recommendation for you to these areas than PCCN. Hope to find out more on Monday.
  10. by   All_Smiles_RN
    anonymurse, what did you find out?
  11. by   Nightcrawler
    Quote from TopherSRN
    Doubt you would meet pre-reqs (CC hours) for CCRN. Fairly certain stepdown isn't critical care. You would also be at a huge disadvantage taking the CCRN having never worked with swans, vents,or the active titration of vasoactive gtts.
    From the AACN site:
    AACN Certification Corporation recognizes the effect the dynamic healthcare environment has had on critical care nursing practice. While high acuity patients are still cared for in ICU/CCU settings, many patients traditionally cared for in these areas may now be admitted or cared for in a variety of units. AACN Certification Corporation acknowledges that critical care nursing occurs outside the four walls of the traditional ICU/CCU setting. Regardless of the clinical arena, acutely and critically ill patients require knowledgeable, clinically competent nurses.

    The CCRN-certified nurse has the advanced body of knowledge necessary to care for the complex needs of complex patients whether acute or critically ill. Forty percent of the 40,000 certified CCRNs work in areas outside the ICU/CCU setting. AACN Certification Corporation values all CCRNs and nurses caring for these patients and has updated the CCRN program to reflect the ever-changing healthcare environment. The specialized body of knowledge for critical care nurses delineated by the Study of Practice is still the framework and basis for exam content.

    As stated above, working within the four walls of a ICU is no longer a requirement for sitting for the CCRN. I have always worked in PCU's and chose to get the PCCN almost a year ago. It is true that the CCRN still means more, but that is because it is so new that no one knows about it yet. If you look at the blueprints for the two tests, you will find that the only real difference between the tests is in mechanical ventilation and hemodynamic monitoring. For someone that is planning on moving to the ICU, study on those topics will not only prepare them for the exam, but will serve them well in their own career advancement.
  12. by   SEOBowhntr
    Quote from txnurs32
    i attended a ccrn/pccn review this week with nancy townsend. she suggests telemetry/stepdown nurses get ccrn. the pccn is new so it does not have validity and reliability results yet and it it not as recognized as the ccrn. she also made the point that if you look at the test plans, they are not that different.
    then she obviously doesn't really know what she's talking about since taking the ccrn requires xxxx number of hours of critical care experience in the last 2 yrs. not just anyone can go take the ccrn, they have to be certified that they've worked critical care during the last 2 yrs.


    taken directly from this website: http://www.certcorp.org/certcorp/cer...l%20ccrn%20c_0

    eligibility requirements

    clinical practice eligibility
    critical care practice as a registered nurse is required for 1,750 hours in direct bedside care of (adult, neonatal or pediatric) acutely or critically ill patients during the 2-year period preceding date of application, with 875 of those hours accrued in the most recent year preceding application. all 1,750 hours must be in care of same patient population (for example, for the adult ccrn exam, all 1,750 hours must be caring for acutely/critically ill adult patients).

    back to the real topic.....

    i would say to the op, which was almost 3 yrs ago now, that you need to worry about learning how to time manage, and get yourself comfortable with the workload you are about to assume. and then, after a couple years, you can determine if that is the type of nursing you really want to do, and then consider certifications. certifications mean very little if you can't take care of the patients.

    that being said, i thought the pccn was a relatively easy exam, and thought that many of the questions were not overly well written. and the ccrn is more along my lines of thinking as i look at various review tests, however, since i am not a critical care nurse, i am not eligible to take the test even.
  13. by   TopherSRN
    Quote from Nightcrawler
    From the AACN site:

    As stated above, working within the four walls of a ICU is no longer a requirement for sitting for the CCRN. I have always worked in PCU's and chose to get the PCCN almost a year ago. It is true that the CCRN still means more, but that is because it is so new that no one knows about it yet. If you look at the blueprints for the two tests, you will find that the only real difference between the tests is in mechanical ventilation and hemodynamic monitoring. For someone that is planning on moving to the ICU, study on those topics will not only prepare them for the exam, but will serve them well in their own career advancement.

    PCCN != CCRN. No clue why you cut/pasted from AACN site and then told me you sat for the PCCN because you wourk on step downs. Vent management and hemodynamic monitoring are the essence of an ICU. Hence you need to work in an ICU (caring for acutely/critically ill adult patients) to sit for CCRN. Nothing wrong with PCCN, don't know why you are so defensive. Step downs just are not ICUs. If they were we wouldn't have to admit their pts that crap out. Believe me I would love that.

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