Should I get my CCRN before my FNP? Opinions please...

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    I've been an ICU nurse for four years and will attending an FNP program in the fall. I was going to go for my CCRN while I'm still in bedside practice, but in looking at the renewal requirements, I will either need to remain practicing at the bedside (probably not going to happen) or keep taking CCRN exams over and over in order to renew; this is worrisome because I will probably grow out of touch with new critical care developments while working in primary care.

    Pluses to getting my CCRN certification: I will earn a little more money from my hospital while working at bedside (they bump your pay with each certification). I will have a few more letters to tack onto my list of credentials, theoretically making me more competitive for whichever job I pursue, even if it's in family practice. If I wish to teach an ICU clinical at some point, I will have something to recommend me. Lastly, it's a point of pride.

    Cons: spending the money for the exam. Taking the time to study for it instead of preparing for my FNP program. Probably looking at it expire at some point unless I sink a lot of time into studying for it again every few years, with it being an area with which I will become less and less familiar (this is the big issue). Not directly relevant to my upcoming focus of practice.

    What would you do?
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  3. 5 Comments so far...

  4. 0
    Just a question to consider- why are you doing a FNP program rather than an acute NP? If your heart lies in ICU/critical care, maybe you would be happier in that field, rather than in a primary care-oriented role.

    Also, if your employer values certifications and gives you a raise for it, I say go for it. Certification is always beneficial- looks good on your name tag, CV, etc. I let my OCN lapse, but then I got the CDE because it is a good fit for my current role.
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    I also worked in ICU before going to FNP school. I don't think you will need it. It won't help you in any way in primary care. And it is a really hard test. If your not planning on staying in critical care, I wouldn't worry about it. Good luck with FNP school. Let us know how it goes
  6. 0
    Consider these questions.

    1.) How far along are you in the CEUs? How many CEUs do you need and how much does it cost?
    2.) How much does the test cost?
    3.) How much of a raise will you get at work? I am just saying that when you start FNP you may want to cut back in hours and every little bit of extra cash will be needed. Are you going to a Masters or Doctorate? How many years are you anticipating in NP school?

    You did mention the point of pride and that is a big point for me!! Even though the CCRN is not directly relevant for FNP I am sure having a certification listed on your resume will be to your benefit.

    I am working on my certification for CNN. Wished I had done it before I went back to school. I am already invested in the CEUs (have half of the amount needed) and it is expensive. However I have been working in Nephrology for a while now and would like to have certification.
  7. 0
    I don't know how much the certification costs, but I'll assume that it's around $200. I'd also assume your salary increase would be at least $2,000. I'd say that's a good investment. Why renew it later? Do it now for the bucks.
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    CCRN wouldn't be relevant to FNP practice and wouldn't carry weight in applying to true FNP roles. However, you're an ICU nurse right now and taking the CCRN exam is a great way to self-assess your knowledge as a critical care nurse. I do notice fears of failing the exam from some ICU nurses I interact with but I always encourage every ICU nurse to give it a try. You have nothing to lose (but money) and everything to gain in terms of the self-satisfaction of passing which is a great ego boost.
    CCRNDiva likes this.


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