understanding nursing nomenclature

  1. Can someone explain the various nursing nomenclature's I see after R.N. For example: R.N. P.H.N., R.N. M.P.H., R.N. M.S.N., etc. It seems there are many abbreviations after R.N.
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    Joined: Oct '09; Posts: 1


  3. by   talaxandra
    RN means that the individual has achieved the academic, clinical and legal requirements to be registered by a state board to practice as a nurse. It is a protected title, which means that only people so registered may use it. The actual academic, clinical and legal requirements vary from state to state and country to country - an RN may have a bachelor degree or (if older) passed through a hospital program.

    Other letter combinations indicate additional academic achievements (eg MSN - Masters of Nursing Science, MPH - Masters of Public Health) or specialist education (eg ICU/CCU).
  4. by   SurvivorThriver
    Just wanted to add that those initials after names are called Credentials, whether it be college degrees or certifications. For example, a person who is an RN might also have earned a degree in nursing such as a Masters: thus the initials after that person's name would be RN, MSN. Say they have certified in a specialty like critical care through the appropriate organization, in this case American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN). The credential they might earn through courses and reading and testing would be CCRN, which they can then use after their name.
  5. by   dudette10

    LPN (licensed practical nurse)
    LVN (license vocational nurse--used in Texas for sure; possibly other states)

    The two above are the same thing, essentially.

    RN (registered nurse)

    APN (advanced practice nurse...who is and is not considered an APN varies by state nurse practice acts)


    ADN (associate degree in nursing)
    ASN (associate of science in nursing)

    The two above are the same thing.

    BSN (bachelor of science in nursing)
    MSN (master of science in nursing...for this one, you can specialize in your program of study, e.g. clinical nurse specialist, clinical nurse leader, nurse educator, etc.)
    PhD (doctorate of philosophy...but not philosophy, per se)
    DNP (doctorate of nursing practice)


    There are a quite a few certifying organizations.

    For emergency nurses: http://www.ena.org/bcen/Pages/default.aspx

    For cardiac and critical care nurses:

    For pediatrics: http://www.pncb.org/ptistore/control/exams/index

    For OB, neonatal, and women's health nurses: http://www.nccwebsite.org/default.aspx

    For surgical nurses: http://cc-institute.org/crnfa/about/programs
    (I couldn't find any add'l information for this specialty.)

    For various specialties: http://www.nursecredentialing.org/default.aspx
    (The certification earned from the ANCC is "RN-BC," while the others look like they are very specific certification designations.)

    This isn't everything, I'm sure. If anything I've written is incorrect, please reply.
  6. by   dudette10
    The sticky at the top of this forum lists them all!
  7. by   talaxandra
    As the OP only posted once, two years ago, I doubt s/he still visits the site but your input's appreciated
  8. by   madwife2002

    Link to thread which covers most of the abbreviations needed
  9. by   madwife2002
    I agree talaxandra, closing thread