Controlling Alphabet Soup

Nurses General Nursing


  • Specializes in Emergency/Critical Care Transport.

Does anyone understand all the gobbledygook that we as nurses like place behind our names? I'm not talking about various levels of nursing like LPN, RN, NP. But can you tell me the difference between CRNP, APRN, NP, APN and NP-C, the answer is not much. They're all nurse practioners. The specialities have their own certs like CEN for ER nurses and CNOR for OR nurses that's pretty easy to understand ,but there are some that just defy deciphering. Should there be a national standard for RN cert abbreviations? I mean anywhere you go in the country an MD is an MD, a DO is a DO, the PA is a PA, but we in nursing continue to confound the public and each other with scads of abbreviations.

And then you have the people who have to list every cert they have, ie Betty Jones RN, BSN, MSN CEN, CNOR, CRNP, NP-C, DNSc. Look folks if you have your master's degree I'm reasonalby sure that everyone knows you have a bachelors as well. I am reminded of the MD who once jokingly told me never trust anyone with less than five letters behind their name.

Look I'm not knocking other peoples hard work. In fact I think it's great that you've been able to be so successful. I've got a bachelors, and an RN and a whole host of other certs, I know how tough it was to get them, maintain them and I've got my eye on getting a few more, but I humbly suggest we as professional nurses get a handle on all alphabet soup floating around out there. Maybe a central clearing house on RN abbreviations would be a good place to start.

Lastly this is not a rant, I mean no offense to anyone. If I have offended anyone I humbly apologize. It's just that I am often left scratching my head when I see the conglometaration of letters that sometimes follow the RN.

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