Nursing Certification: Achieving Excellence and Professionalism

Nursing Certification: Achieving Excellence and Professionalism

In the world of nursing, certifications and their corresponding designations carry with them the concepts of excellence, professionalism, and focused dedication to career growth. Not all nurses pursue certification during their years of service in healthcare, but many hear the call and take inspired action to achieve such a goal.nursing-certification-achieving-excellence-and-professionalism

Making an effort to become certified in your nursing specialty is like doubling down on your skills and knowledge. Doing this takes discipline and forward-thinking, demonstrating that you care enough to show the world that nursing excellence and professional mastery matter.

Every year on March 19th, we celebrate National Certified Nurses Day to honor the nurses who take their careers to the next level by becoming certified. This celebration encourages us to take a moment to acknowledge the role that certification plays in strengthening the nursing profession while improving care and patient outcomes. Being certified is meaningful, and we make meaning by pausing for the cause of reflection and recognition of the nurses who choose this path.

Nursing Certification 101

According to the American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN), the first nursing certification was issued in 1945 to recognize nurse anesthetists. Certification boards began to be created in the 1960s, and the number of available nursing certifications continues to grow to this day.

Many nurses choose to pursue certification of their own volition, while some employers may encourage or even require nurses in specific specialty areas to become certified. Having your employer pay for and support your certification goals can be a desirable benefit, especially if your certification process has a financial cost you’d rather not bear yourself.

The American Nurse Credentialing Center (ANCC) offers various certification pathways, as do the American Holistic Nurses Credentialing Corporation (AHNCC), the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Board (AANPCB), and numerous other nursing organizations and associations.

A 2021 Journal of Nursing Administration study states, “Nurse specialty certification is ’a mechanism for validation or formal recognition by documenting individual nurses’ knowledge, skills, and abilities specific to their specialty’. It is a form of individual credentialing above and beyond entry-level education and licensing. By pursuing specialty certification, nurses exhibit a commitment to professional growth and lifelong learning while establishing competency in a specialized area of care such as oncology or medical-surgical nursing. The intended outcome of certification in nursing is to improve safety, quality of care, and health outcomes for those using healthcare services.”

Popular certifications include:

No matter what certification you choose to pursue, rest assured that being certified is something to be proud of and to clearly and proudly document on your resume as a mark of nursing distinction and professional mastery.

Why Should You Consider Becoming a Certified Nurse

As mentioned above, certification is a demonstration of dedication to your area of specialty nursing practice. Being certified can serve many purposes and brings with it a variety of benefits, including:

  • Marketability: Being certified can make you a stronger candidate in the job market, especially if it sets you apart from non-certified applicants for the same positions.
  • Career mobility: Some employers may value nursing certifications very highly, with certified nurses more likely to advance on the organization’s clinical ladder or into positions of greater responsibility, including nursing leadership.
  • Respect and recognition: Certification can elicit in others a sense of respect for and recognition of your professionalism, expert knowledge, and skill.
  • Personal/professional pride: Certification may elicit pride in your expertise, mastery, and accomplishments as a dedicated nurse.

Certification is a feather in your nurse’s cap. It marks you as a nurse focused on career growth and expert skill and knowledge. By being certified, you benefit not only your career but also inspire others to follow in your footsteps and contribute to the improved quality of patient care, not to mention strengthen your employer’s organizational profile.

Certification Speaks Volumes

Having one or more nursing certifications speaks volumes about your professionalism and desire to develop yourself as a nurse of integrity and mastery. Being certified says a great deal about you, and your certifications can enhance your ability to advance your career in any direction you’d like to go.

Some nurses may sit on their laurels and do the bare minimum, while others may seize the day and take every opportunity to develop themselves professionally. Only you can decide if the path to certification is right for you based on your perception of the benefits of certification and the value of that process to your career.

In recognition of Certified Nurses Day, let’s acknowledge those nurses who’ve stepped up to the plate and taken on certification as a prospect worthy of their attention and hard work. And if you’re already certified, give yourself a pat on the back for going the extra mile and showing the world that you’re a nurse who wants to be the best you can be.

Happy Certified Nurses Day

Happy Certified Nurses Day

Nurses go through years of hands-on training and academic courses to become a nurse and then excel at their profession. And when nurses find a nursing specialty that is especially rewarding to them, becoming certified is the next step for highly motivated nurses.green "Exam" button for certification

On today’s Certified Nurses Day, nurses who take on additional work to become certified in their specialty are honored for their pursuit of excellence.

As a nurse, certification is a signal to your professional community and to your community of patients that you have done all you can to achieve the latest knowledge. That means a nurse’s training and understanding of the most recent evidence-based practices is current.

Making the decision to become certified and then taking the actual steps to make that happen requires both dedication and focus. Nurses generally must complete a certain amount of hours within a specialty before sitting for the certification exam. That process helps give them a solid foundation of the skills and processes needed to specialize in their chosen area. But the time spent working in one area also helps nurses decide if that is the path that is right for their career goals and professional aspirations.

The American Nurses Credentialing Center offers a wealth of resources and various certification exams for nurses. A nurse certified in a particular specialty is one who wants to have all the tools possible to provide the highest standard of patient care. And certification isn’t limited to one area. For instance, specialty certified emergency, trauma, transport, and burn nurses often take the Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing’s  Certified Emergency Nurse (CEN) exam, and they might also want to consider the Certified Burn Registered Nurse (CBRN) or the Certified Pediatric Emergency Nurse (CPEN) as well. No matter what area a nurse works in, taking the time and effort to earn a certification is noticed, and even sometimes celebrated, within the organization where they work. Certified nurses often are seen as experts in their areas and so are excellent resources for their teams and also mentors to other nurses.

Some nurses say the fear of failure keeps them from taking a certification exam. But from the perspective of many certified nurses, the information on the exam is information that is part of their daily work responsibilities already. That doesn’t mean exam preparation and studying isn’t necessary, but it does mean that many nurses find they are familiar with the information that they will be tested on.

Combined with preparing for the exam, that existing professional knowledge boosts their chances of success. And if fear of failure is a real roadblock, nurses don’t have to tell anyone that they are taking the exam. Their organization won’t know they are taking it, so if they don’t pass on the first try, it won’t be noticed at work. And if the first try doesn’t go as planned, taking the exam again is worthwhile. Having that additional understanding and the certification to show your dedication to nursing knowledge and process is a significant professional achievement.

Today’s Certified Nurses Day honors all the hard work nurses do to provide top-notch care and also to signal their commitment to the nursing profession as a whole.

Certification Advances Nursing Skills

Certification Advances Nursing Skills

Nurses looking to advance in their careers and in the quality of patient care they deliver can look to certification to provide both.

March 19 recognizes National Certified Nurses Day, and many nurses find certification provides an opportunity to gain focused, crucial knowledge and skills that make them better nurses.

Which nurses should attain certification? Any nurse who wants to gain additional training in a specialty should reach for becoming certified. Certification is available in dozens of specialties from cardiac to pediatric, and nurses aren’t restricted to only one certification. You can obtain certification as a Family Nurse Practitioner, a Certified Pediatric Nurse, a Certified Urologic Registered Nurse, a Cardiac Vascular nurse, and many others.

Why is there a day devoted to nurses who take this step? Certified nurses have shown a personal and professional commitment to their career and the nursing profession in general. They have chosen to achieve, and exceed, the highest non-degree level of expectation toward a specific area.

Should you become certified? If you’ve been in your role for a while and are ready to take on additional responsibilities, certification offers that opportunity. What if you’ve been thinking of taking a new path in nursing and switching into another area? Certification can help you by giving you opportunities to learn and gain expertise.

Certification generally requires a couple of years of nursing experience in the designated area before you can be qualified to take a certification exam. Nursing students can keep the goal in sight while they are gaining practical experience. That experience allows you to develop a solid foundation of clinical nursing practice, especially in the area of certification you want to earn.

When you’ve decided that becoming a nurse with certification is a good step for your career and for the level of care you provide to your patients, you’ll need to map out a preparation plan. You can begin by asking your colleagues who are certified what they did to prepare and any tips they might have to share. They can also be a steady source of encouragement through the process. Talk with your supervisor about your plans to take the certification exam, too.

Nurses who want to earn certification credentials generally start preparing for the exam months in advance. There are study guides available to help. And, despite the anxiety that taking a test like this can sometimes trigger, preparation will be a big help in your final score.

If you’ve already achieved advanced credentials in a specialty or a subspecialty, you’ve shown a dedication to your profession that is public, recognized, and respected. Generally, certification can help nurses who want to assume greater responsibility, greater leadership, and, often, a salary boost.

National Certified Nurses Day honors nurses who have met this additional, and rigorous, challenge. It also inspires nurses who haven’t achieved certification yet to take that next step—whether it is deciding to take the leap, applying for a certification exam, or beginning to study for the test.

To all certified nurses—your work is appreciated by patients and colleagues around the globe.

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