Interested in certification info.

  1. My name is Liz and I am starting an ADN program in June. Immediately following graduation I am interested in working in a NICU. I need help on knowing where to look for info on getting my certification and whether or not I will be able to find a job in a NICU with only an Associates degree rather than a BSN. This has been my dream since I was seven and I am soo excited to finally be going to school. Any help you can give me would be great.
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  2. 10 Comments

  3. by   dawngloves
    I have an ASN and so do many of my co workers. Good luck!
  4. by   Tiki_Torch
    Kalico,

    When you speak of "certification" are you talking about certification in "High Risk Neonatal Nursing"? I have mine from NCC (National Certification Corporation) who offer certification exams for mainly women's health specialties (NICU, OB, GYN, Nurse Practitioners, etc.) In order to take the test, you must first meet certain qualifications. I took the High Risk Neonatal Nursing test and had to be employed full time for two years or more immediately prior to taking the exam. When I sign my name now, I can write "RN" or "RNC" behind my name as my credential.

    Some people mistakenly say they are "certified" in NRP, CPR, ACLS, PALS... Just splitting hairs here, but we are not actually "certified". We have actually completed the NRP, CPR, ACLS, PALS, etc. program. (NRP = Neonatal Resuscitation Program, CPR = Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation, ACLS = Advanced Cardiac Life Support, PALS = Pediatric Advanced Life Support) I learned about this mistaken way many of us speak of ourselves when we have completed one of these programs when I became a NRP Instructor a few years ago. So, the proper way of speaking about these things is to say, "I've completed the NRP Provider Course and am a NRP Provider'.

    Maybe when you ask about "certification" you are talking about your nursing degree. I have an ASN (Associate of Science in Nursing) which is a 2 year college degree. I am currently working on obtaining my BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) degree which is a 4 year college/university degree. Most of the people I've worked with had the 2 year degrees but the 4 year degrees seem to becoming more popular, especially in the larger cities and in places where there is less of a nursing shortage. I'm quite sure you can find a NICU position with an Associate's Degree in Nursing. Why don't you contact your local NICU and ask the nurse manager or assistant nurse manager?

    Good luck and don't give up on your dream!!!!!

  5. by   dawngloves
    Quote from Tiki_Torch

    Some people mistakenly say they are "certified" in NRP, CPR, ACLS, PALS... Just splitting hairs here, but we are not actually "certified". We have actually completed the NRP, CPR, ACLS, PALS, etc. program. (NRP = Neonatal Resuscitation Program, CPR = Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation, ACLS = Advanced Cardiac Life Support, PALS = Pediatric Advanced Life Support) I learned about this mistaken way many of us speak of ourselves when we have completed one of these programs when I became a NRP Instructor a few years ago. So, the proper way of speaking about these things is to say, "I've completed the NRP Provider Course and am a NRP Provider'.
    Not to side track, but Tiki, are you required to have ACLS?? How often do you use that? :chuckle
  6. by   Tiki_Torch
    Hi Dawngloves,

    We have not been required to have completed ACLS in any NICU I have worked in, thank Goodness... as you say, when would we ever use it??!! You never know though I suppose!

    The only reason I included it in my post was because someone reading my post my have heard of ACLS since its a totally adult med/surg type of requirement but they may have not heard of NRP or PALS. We are required however to pass our BLS (Basic Life Support / CPR) program though.

  7. by   Kalico
    Tiki,
    I am referring to the certification in "High Risk Neonatal Nursing". Someone I spoke to several years ago told me about it and I am now looking for as much information on it as possible. In order to take the test do you have to have worked for two years in a NICU or just two years in any department? I am going to be talking with the nursing director of a NICU in a hospital a couple of hours north of me but I would like to have as much information as possible before going. That way I can ask them everything that I need to ask them the first time that I see them rather then getting home and realizing that I forgot to ask something or finding out more from here. Any help you or someone else can give me would be appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Liz
  8. by   Gompers
    Yes, you have to work at least two years in a NICU before you are even allowed to take the RNC exam for high risk neonatal nursing. Until that point, it would be nearly impossible to pass it anyways. NICU nursing is a very unique science and you need a lot of experience to be able to do well on this test. Good luck at your meeting!
    Last edit by Gompers on Apr 22, '04
  9. by   Tiki_Torch
    Hi kalico,

    I went to the National Certification Corporation web site www.nccnet.org and found the following information:

    At the main home page I clicked on "About NCC" in the top of the left hand column. It took me to another page which gave a general overview. At that page I clicked on "Certification Exams" at the top of the right hand column. This is what the next page that appeared said:

    To take the test you must be able to meet all three of these:

    (1) Current licensure as an RN in the U.S. or Canada.

    (2) 24 months specialty experience as a U.S. or Canadian RN comprised of a minimum of 2000 hours.

    (3) Employment in the specialty sometime in the last 24 months.

    The page also lets us know we can receive the RNC credential in the following areas:

    Inpatient Obstetric Nursing
    Maternal Newborn Nursing
    Low Risk Neonatal Nursing
    Neonatal Intensive Care Nursing
    Telephone Nursing Practice

    (There is a completely different web page concerning Neonatal Nurse Practitioner certification).

    I remember when I took my exam, computers were not as popular as they are today. I requested information on obtaining certification in what whas then called High Risk Neonatal Nursing (now Neonatal Intensive Care Nursing) and they mailed me a big packet of information including test dates, prices, and all the paperwork that must be filled out. A page of that paperwork had a place where my current nurse manager had to fill in the dates and hours I had worked and that I had worked in the NICU which was the specialty area in which I wanted to take the certification test. I think she also had to sign her name on one place or another on the form. Anyway, 2000 hours turned out to be equal to working full time for two years. I had worked in the NICU 2 years and 6 months when I took my exam and I passed it on the first try. I did study steadily for 6 months before the test, was a member of NANN (ANN didn't exist yet then) and had constantly kept myself up on things and reviewed books and asked questions of the nurse practitioners and neonatologists each time I cared for a baby that I learned something from. I've always had a thirst for knowledge and I think that my nearly constant review of my NICU related books and journals helped somewhat. Most importantly though, I believe that if you spend 2 full years working in a specialty you will pretty much know all you need to know to pass the test... simply as a process of on the job osmosis of knowledge. Many nurses I worked with didn't study much if at all and they passed. Some took the test twice in order to pass though.

    I bet if you search the site more you will find a way to download the information I had to write them for. Good luck and don't give up on your efforts because they are well worth the effort!

    You might be able to go straight to the page I'm talking about by going to:

    http://www.nccnet.org/public/pages/index.cfm?pageid=111
    Last edit by Tiki_Torch on Apr 23, '04
  10. by   cswain12000
    Tiki Torch--what books did use to study from, and which did you find to be the most helpful? Also--do you know of any actual study guides with practice questions? I've been in the NICU for 12 of my 13 years of nursing--guess maybe it's time to take the exam...
  11. by   Tiki_Torch
    Hi cswain,

    To study for my exam I used:

    Core Curriculum for Neonatal Intensive Care Nursing
    There is now a second edition of this book. It is edited by Jane Deacon & Patricia O'Neill. ISBN# is 0-7216-7489-5 and published by WB Saunders Co.

    Handbook of Neonatal Intensive Care
    There is now a fifth edition of this book. It'w written by Gerald B> Merenstein and Sandra L. Gardner. ISBN# is 0-323-01471-2 and published by Mosby.

    I also suggest a new book I found at the ANN conference from the Saunders Rep. Its a small book of 178 pages and is a question format with answers and rationales in the back divided into several topics. It would be great for you to quickly assess your knowledge to help see how much you already know and where you need more study if any. I absolutely love it and often use it as bedside reading. (No I'm no truly a geek... I just love to learn. )
    It is Core Review for Neonatal Intensive Care Nursing and is edited by Robin L. Watson. ISBN# is 0-7216-9680-5 and published by WB Saunders Co.

    I must quickly sign off now because I'm about to leave to walk in our March of Dimes Walkathon which starts in one hour. By the way, if you go to the sticky at the home page of this NICU Nursing Board you'll find two good books I adore that are written by Richard A. Polin, MD. He's the best!!!!!!! I highly recommend his books although they are more written for neonatologists and nurse practitioners... I am still able to glean oodles of good information I've never found in NICU nursing books. Real eye-openers!!!

    I highly encourage you to take this certification exam. I'm sure you'd pass it on the first try. Sure looks good on a resume as well as a yearly evaluation. Many hospitals don't pay nurses extra pay for having certification but might reimburse you for your test fees after you pass the test. My old hospital did. If nothing else, passing the test is a true confidence builder!!!

    Got to run.....
  12. by   Kalico
    Tiki,


    Thank you so much for all that information. That helps me out immensely. I will definitely look into the website in detail. I appreciate all your help and everyone else who has helped me out. I will be very informed when I meet with the manager of a NICU in my area.

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