How valuable is your OCN?

  1. My boss really wants me to get my OCN. Several nurses at my place have it and I know that knowledge is always valuable. However, the more I think about the OCN, the more of a scam. I mean I paid over $100.00 to be a member of ONS and then another $20.00 or so to be a member of my local chapter. My local chapter is valuable-I enjoy the meetings and networking, but the national membership doesn't do much for me.

    So if I take the test, I have to pay like $200.00 (which you pay to ONS). I'd also have to pay for a review course, books, etc (probably from ONS). Then once I pass, I have to get 2x more CEUs than my state requires for my license. (And guess who provides these to me at cost - ONS!!!) Now my employer does reimburse some for the test, but not for CEUs etc. And I will not get a pay increase.

    I realize that there may be some jobs down the road for future jobs it might be beneficial, but it does seem sort of like a big scam for ONS to make money. Not to mention, my employer likes to brag on how many "certified" nurses it has for Magnet. It seems to benefit a lot of others more than it would benefit me.
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    About mappers

    Joined: Aug '09; Posts: 447; Likes: 550
    Specialty: Med/Surg/Tele/Onc


  3. by   SHGR
    I worked in oncology (inpatient) for a few years. Lots of us got certified as OCNs. We had a review course that was paid for by the unit, who encouraged it, and I found the class to be really helpful- the studying helped my practice, and the book (Core Curriculum for Oncology Nurses) was a great resource too, worth the cost. There was no pay raise. This was pre-Magnet, so nobody really cared except the manager and staff on that unit- the larger organization didn't seem to give a care one way or the other. I never re-upped because I took a different job before I would have had to do so. I think having extra certifications is cool and it shows your willingness to go the extra mile toward enhanced practice.

    Long story short: it was encouraged, but not required; no financial benefit; I got the peer benefit of feeling like part of a strong team; ultimately, I wanted it, I felt good having it, and the experience enhanced my work. I got a different certification now that bears relevance to my current work situation, and I feel strongly about it (it's awesome!!!)

    I don't think it's a scam. ONS provides a service, and services have costs. If your employer won't bear the cost, you need to decide whether it is something you want enough to pay for it yourself.
  4. by   OCNRN63
    ​i did it for personal satisfaction and a sense of achievement. my facility doesn't pay a differential, although there is pressure for nurses to get certified in their specialty.
  5. by   mzjennx
    I got to see the test book for the OCN. My coworker says it was hard. 1 has it and 2-3 tried and failed. I want to do it. I always want to learn more about oncology so I can be a better nurse for my patients. We wont get paid extra if we get our OCN...

    There are a few requirements like oncology experience, CE etc. So hopefully I can test for it next year since I have been working on an oncology unit for about 3+ years. I think I know some about oncology, but would love to learn more and be nationally certified.
  6. by   pavementandpearls
    My company offers an annual $1000 bonus for OCN nurses; no reimbursement for the initial costs associated with ONS membership and OCN test fee.
  7. by   KountryPrincess
    I got my OCN years ago when I worked in onc and the test was hard, but I did do really well on it, and I was proud to add it to my educational background. BTW, I have never belonged to ONS and still get all their newsletters etc. even though I haven't worked Onc for 10 years. I would not renew the membership if I were you , but I would get certified.
  8. by   blondy2061h
    We get $500/year for having OCN and the test cost is reimbursed, and we get a paid day off to go take the test (at least we did when I did it) and they have the review materials available for loan, and half of our ONS membership fees are reimbursed, so yeah, I did it, but I probably wouldn't have if it weren't for all of those factors. I agree that ONS seems fairly money hungry. The $100/year membership fee is a little ridiculous. I will say though, that the Oncology Nursing Journal has free CEUs in it every month and you really don't need to do the CEUs through ONS.

    I also thought the test was quite hard.
  9. by   DVorah
    You'll have to decide if there is enough benefit for you. Obviously, you will be a better and stronger nurse with the in-depth knowledge base that studying for and passing the OCN will give you. My hospital (magnet facility) does pay for the review course and the test. They'll even pay for the first year of an organization membership if it decreases the test price. Also, being certified adds points on the professional ladder, which kicks up my pay substantially. As for the CEs, there are hundreds of free CEs available on the Internet. Check out for a bunch of really good ones.
  10. by   OCNRN63
    I forgot to mention that you do not need to get your CEUs from ONS. I have over 200h of CEU and don't need to re-cert until 2014, and almost all of those CEUs were from free sites.

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