Any certifications I can earn as a student to better my resume for when I graduate?

  1. This summer I have been looking at the various certifications a new graduate nurse can earn to better their education and make their resume stronger (ex. CCRN). I will graduate in about a year with my BSN but I would like to start working on any certifications I can to make my application stronger than others that I will be competing with for job opportunities. I am almost certain I will want to work in a critical care setting so if anyone here knows of any certifications or courses that would look good for a new grad applying to a critical care unit in the hospital, please let me know. Especially if they are certifications I can start on as a student.

    P.s. I work as a nurse extern primarily in the ER.

    TIA
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    About themurse133

    Joined: Jun '18; Posts: 3; Likes: 2

    12 Comments

  3. by   themurse133
    I asked this in the general nursing forum since experienced nurses may have a better idea of any options. If you think it would receive better feedback in another forum, let me know so that I can request that the admins move it to another thread
  4. by   bugya90
    I don't know if any certifications that a student could get. Most of the certifications require at least 1 year of experience in that area/specialty. You can get your ACLS and/or PALS but those can get expensive and a lot of facilities will pay for their staff to get them if you work in critical care.
  5. by   beekee
    Magnet hospitals love certifications. Most certifications, however, require some experience. Take a look at the approved certifications listed here Accepted Certifications to see if anything interests you and that you are able to obtain as a student.

    Chances are, however, the certification will cost you money and won't provide you with much, if any advantage.
  6. by   llg
    The only credentials I can think of that would actually help a new grad get a job might be something that involved a specific skill ... such as phlebotomy ... that you have mastered. But even that is not something I would invest a lot of time and money in.

    People looking to hire a new grad know that certifications that reflect advanced knowledge/judgment are the most important -- and they require experience to get. So they are not looking for new grads to have those certifications. And they are willing to teach new grads the specific skills needed for the job.

    I would recommend investing your time in being the best student you can be ... developing a great reputation as an extern ... and making connections that can help you find and get a great job after graduation.
  7. by   psu_213
    Hospitals will realize that you are a new grad, and will not hold it against you that you don't have any certification. For right now, concentrate on having a strong finish to school, and making a good name for yourself when you are on you externship. That potential word of mouth--or the reference(s) that you get from it--will mean way more than any certification you may be able to get as a student.
  8. by   psu_213
    And another thing--work certification into your interview answers and questions. For example, when the interviewer asks if you have any questions, you can ask, "how many of the nurse are certified?" without sounding too high and mighty as you ask it.
  9. by   Wuzzie
    Quote from psu_213
    And another thing--work certification into your interview answers and questions. For example, when the interviewer asks if you have any questions, you can ask, "how many of the nurse are certified?" without sounding too high and mighty as you ask it.
    Maybe wording it "How does your hospital support nurses in obtaining certification. How do the certified nurses support their co-workers and units". This take the potential of sounding "judgy" out of it.
  10. by   broughden
    Quote from themurse133
    I asked this in the general nursing forum since experienced nurses may have a better idea of any options. If you think it would receive better feedback in another forum, let me know so that I can request that the admins move it to another thread
    I havent looked at all certifications and their requirements but I do know for CEN there is no time nor experience requirement, just a recommendation.
    The OP still couldnt sit for the test though as you do need to be a licensed RN, but can take the CEN test as soon as you pass the NCLEX.
  11. by   amcnamara01
    In order to be eligible to sit for the CCRN exam, you have to have at least a year of direct patient care experience in critical care. It is not a certification meant for new grads, or even nurses with just med/surg experience.

    I got hired straight out of college into an ICU position. One of the key things that stood out on my resume is the fact that I worked as a CNA in a hospital for 2 years while getting my BSN. One of the key skills you have to have in ICU nursing is time management. I came in already knowing how to see the most important patient first, how to utilize my resources, and how to juggle a 6-patient assignment independently. Having been a preceptor, there is SO much time you have to spend teaching a new grad nurse these skills, its GOLDEN when you have an applicant who already knows these things on their own. Most major teaching hospitals offer a "student nurse technician" position that does not require a CNA license, as long as you have 1 semester of clinicals under you belt. Great great place to start building a solid new grad resume!
  12. by   MelEpiRN
    Only one I can think of is the NIHSS. (National Institute of Health Stroke Scale). Can be useful if you work in ICU or ER. I think the rest require experience and the hospital you get hired to will likely provide you with ACLS/ PALS.
    The NIHSS is only $10 and you can do it online. If you wait until you're licensed, you could get CE credit. I'm not sure it'd really "boost" your resume, though...just might be something to get now before you're completely overwhelmed as a new grad and can't find the time. (Test is a couple of hours).
  13. by   PCnurse88
    I actually recommend not doing any certifications other than maybe BLS. This is for a few reasons:

    1) Many hospitals will pay for you to do certifications, especially if it's required. If they don't pay for it, they may offer bonuses or partial reimbursements. I have multiple certifications, some required and others just to better myself and prepared for the future, and my hospital either a) paid for it AND paid me to do it (required ACLS- extra 8hr day at time and a half? Yes please!) b) paid for it and I got to do it at home (which is honestly what I prefer) or c) reimbursed me (medsurg certification). These things can get super pricey on your own.

    2) Most hospitals have some sort of annual review, clinical ladder, etc. where you have to make yearly goals. It's great to start out in the ICU and after a year say "I want to start studying for the CCRN and obtain in May 2020" or whatever. There are only so many times you can put your goal down as "join a committee" and then... not join a committee. This gives you goals PLUS extra study time.

    3) While I did not find any of my certifications horrifically difficult, I don't know that I would have been able to pass the exams or have gotten nearly as much out of them if I did not have bedside experience. I can remember learning about GFR in school, but it didn't really MEAN anything to me- but going over the levels and accompanying stages of GFR / what that meant for my patient while stuying for my medsurg cert was a big eye-opener for me.

    4) You really have no idea where you'll end up until you get a job. I swore I would only ever work in pediatrics. Now I'm an adult stepdown nurse. Back when I first graduated I thought to myself "should I do PALS? NRP?". It would have been a huge waste since I don't work with anyone under the age of 18 and to be honest, I don't ever see myself going that route. You think you want to end up in crit care, and maybe you will... but maybe your first job is a geri/medsurg floor and you find you really like it.

    5) Adding on to above comments, asking about certification during an interview seems, at least to me, better than already having it. It shows you have further goals and want to continue your education rather than fluffing up your resume to get a job.

    6) Focus on your NCLEX because that's obviously a million times more important than any certification. Can't get any of these certs without that RN first.
  14. by   psu_213
    Quote from Wuzzie
    Maybe wording it "How does your hospital support nurses in obtaining certification. How do the certified nurses support their co-workers and units".
    Well said!

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