AllNurses.com's Content and Community Director, Mary Watts recently interviewed Karen Kesten, DNP, APRN at NTI 2018 on the subject of nursing certification. Dr. Kesten is the past chair of the national board of directors for the AACN Certification Corporation, as well as an associate professor George Washington University School of Nursing.
Many nursing certifications are available from AACN Certification Corp. for both RNs and APRNs. Dr. Kesten recommends certification for all nurses as a "mark of excellence and distinction." She went on to state that this proves credibility of knowledge and leads to higher patient and nurse satisfaction.
Two new certifications; CCRN-K and PCCN-K are now available. These certifications are for nurses who do not currently deliver direct bedside care but who indirectly affect patient care thru management, instruction or staff development. The "K" stands for "knowledge." This is a way for nurses to continue to use their knowledge even though they are no longer bedside.
Other new certifications include palliative care, and forensics nursing. These specialties show patients and colleagues that the nurse has attained a level of expertise in their specialty. Dr Kesten foresees possible future certifications for nurse navigators and nurses who are involved in transitions of care.
APRNs and the Consensus Model
Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) also need to consider the Consensus Model when choosing their educational pathway. The APRN roles are:
Clinical Nurse Specialist
Certified Nurse Midwife
Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist
"To help take APRN practice to the next level, AACN collaborated with over 40 nursing organizations to address the inconsistency in APRN regulatory requirements throughout the United States. The result was the Consensus Model for APRN Regulation: Licensure, Accreditation, Certification, and Education (LACE)."
The Consensus Model sought to improve patient access to APRNs, support nurses to work more easily across different states, and enhance the certification process by preserving the highest standards of nursing excellence. Through consistency and clarity of APRN Consensus Model criteria, APRNs were empowered to work together to improve health care for all." LACE also determines what patient population and focus the APRN certifications cover. This is an effort to delineate out each APRN specialty and to develop more consistency. Dr. Kesten encourages nurses to consider a primary care APRN role as nurse practitioners are in great demand especially in underserved and more rural communities. With the current physician shortage, nurse practitioners are filling many provider roles. More and more nurse practitioners are seeking roles in specialty care, which extends the availability of providers.
Why Certification is Needed
Dr. Kesten encourages nurses to obtain certifications. She emphasized that nurses are in a life-long learning pattern and with certification, they have more options. There are many faces of nurses so there are many certifications and she expects that nurses will have many more opportunities in the future. Dr. Kesten advocates for nurses having a louder voice in order to advocate for their patients.
Overall there are many more opportunities available for certified nurses. Consider certification!
AACN Certification Corporation
APRN Consensus Model