Nursing specialty certifications show expertise in a particular area of nursing.
Okay, so you've been a nurse a few years and you want to show your patients, colleagues and higher-ups you have achieved expertise in your field. You have choices; you can go back to school for a grad degree and obtain an advanced practice degree or you can obtain specialization in your patient care focus.
Certification, whether it comes from advanced formal or informal education can be beneficial to your career in many ways:
- Improves your chance for advancement as it shows a commitment to life-long learning. Some facilities pay for certification and/or reward nurses by extra pay. It also enhances your professional credibility. Certification also improves your earning power.
- Proves a level of expertise to your patients who nowadays are more educated then ever. Certification assures consumers that professionals have met standards of practice.
- Conveys to your co-workers that you have invested time and effort in benchmarking your knowledge. The preparation and study necessary for successful completion of certification examinations improve a nurse's ability to care for acute, chronic, or critically ill patients. Continued competency requirements for certification renewal ensure that certified nurses remain up-to-date with the latest developments in their specialties.
- Certification also proves to YOU that you have achieved a goal which required commitment and dedication.
- Advanced Practice Nurses are now required to obtain certification in order to be reimbursed by Medicare/Medicaid. APRNs are required to be certified to be licensed in most states. APRN certification is the gold standard of care for advanced practice.
The benefits of specialty certification reach throughout the healthcare system - to nurses, the nursing profession and employees to hospitals, patients and families. Certification validates knowledge and skills, improves quality and safety and gives patients a benchmark to measure the level of care they can expect to receive at a healthcare facility. As patient acuity continues to climb, nurses are called upon to perform ever more sophisticated care. Certification helps to ensure that this expertise and clinical judgment keeps pace.
Most important, certification contributes to better patient care. A growing body of research indicates a link between certification and nurse knowledge, techniques, and judgment that affect patient safety. For example, one study found that the higher the proportion of certified nurses in intensive care units, the fewer total falls occurred. Other researchers have found that nurses certified in wound care had more knowledge about the classification of pressure ulcers, oncology-certified nurses had greater pain knowledge, and hospice-certified nurses performed better on appropriate inhaler use. Another study found that nurses certified in emergency and critical care performed better on a simulated mass-casualty triage test.
Multiple organizations provide certification for different specialties. Many organizations and companies also offer study guides for certification testing. Obtaining certification is not easy. However, it is well worth it to prove you provide the highest level of expert patient care to all your patients.
Here is a list of certifications and the organizations that sponsor them.
The National Certification Corporation provides certification in the following specialties:
- Inpatient Obstetric Nursing
- Maternal Newborn Nursing
- Low Risk Neonatal Nursing
- Neonatal Intensive Care Nursing
Nurse Practitioner certification
NCC offers both initial certification for bedside nurses as well as NPs in the fields of neonatology and women's care.
Certified Nurses Changing Lives
What is your certification story? Why did you choose to get certified?
Are many of your co-workers certified?
Are you reimbursed or somehow rewarded for obtaining certifications?
What study guide did you use for your specific certification?
Dec 22, '16I am no longer working, but I have been oncology certified (OCN) by Oncology Nursing Society since 2010. I've also had certifications in other specialties throughout my career; sometimes I was compensated for being certified, but oftentimes I pursued certification for personal satisfaction.
It frustrates me that nurses are asked to increase their education and obtain specialty certifications without rightful remuneration. When nurses do dare to ask for compensation, they're seen as being greedy. Altruism is a wonderful ideal, but it doesn't pay the bills.Dec 29, '16Quote from OCNRN63The "gold standard" for me is the "good character" standard.I am no longer working, but I have been oncology certified (OCN) by Oncology Nursing Society since 2010. I've also had certifications in other specialties throughout my career; sometimes I was compensated for being certified, but oftentimes I pursued certification for personal satisfaction.
It frustrates me that nurses are asked to increase their education and obtain specialty certifications without rightful remuneration. When nurses do dare to ask for compensation, they're seen as being greedy. Altruism is a wonderful ideal, but it doesn't pay the bills.
Where's the certification for that or am I just being old fashion?Jan 10, '17I prepped a whopping 5 hrs for my certification. These tests are intentionally made easy so almost any nurse can get them and make the ANCC more money.Jan 10, '17In my state, nurses with current (legit) specialty certification get a pass on the CE requirement to renew licensure. My organization also pays for initial certification & re-cert as well as the cost of certification prep courses. Certified nurses also get a salary differential.
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