Specialty certification is one of nursing’s highest professional achievements. And there’s no denying the significant impact it makes on nurses, patients, families, and healthcare organizations.
According to the Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing, once nurses are certified, they are more likely to practice at the top of their specialty and stay that way. And staying on top is more important than ever in today’s increasingly complex healthcare environment.
According to the Nurse.com salary survey report, 48% of nurses in the United States are certified. These nurses — which include certified registered nurse anesthetists, certified nurse midwives, clinical nurse specialists, and certified nurse practitioners — represent a powerful and growing force in the nation’s healthcare system.
So Many Good Reasons
Certification brings a host of benefits for nurses. For one thing, it validates the specialized knowledge, experience, and clinical judgment these nurses have acquired through training and hard work.
According to the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s report, “Certification for Lifelong Learning,” certification also promotes lifelong learning and ensures that nurses obtain additional, essential skills to keep pace with:
- Rising patient acuity
- New regulatory requirements
- Safety imperatives
- Growing competition.
In addition, certified nurses are more marketable, earn higher salaries, enjoy more on-the-job perks, and are more satisfied in their work than their non-certified counterparts.
Because renewal is required every five years, these nurses are more engaged in learning processes and ongoing professional development. To maintain a certified status, nurses must provide evidence of continual learning by completing contact hours or professional activities such as publications, research, preceptor hours, or professional service.
Certified nurses can even serve as content experts with their colleagues across the country to provide essential insights and best practice knowledge to assist with certification exam development and help shape the future of their specialties.
Certification benefits patients and families as well. It validates that the nurses providing care are experts in their specialties and sets the standard for quality in clinical practice and outcomes. The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses found that, given a choice, three in four Americans are more likely to select a hospital that employs a high percentage of nurses with specialty certifications.
It’s a Win-Win Situation
For Deepesh Subedi, a nurse on the Medical-Surgical unit at TriStar Southern Hills Medical Center in Nashville, specialty certification was an early career goal. Deepesh recently earned his Medical-Surgical Board Certification (RN-BC) from ANCC.
“I was motivated to pursue specialty certification while preparing for my master’s degree,” said Subedi. “For me, it was a win-win. I could study for my RN-BC exam and get ready for graduate school at the same time. Learning the content for one helped me with the other. Earning my RN-BC has given me more confidence to pursue my master’s degree.”
There were other good reasons to become certified, he said. For instance, his TSHMC offered a financial incentive for passing the board.
“Plus they pay nurses to take the exam,” Subedi said. “On a personal level, certification helps so much. You are learning, you are moving ahead, and you have the potential to make more money, too. You have nothing to lose.”
Subedi also shared how the RN-BC credential benefits him on a professional level, as well.
“It shows I’m dedicated to my work, focused on what I do, and gives me an advantage if I apply for a management position,” he said. “In addition, now that I’m certified, I’m a role model for my coworkers. After seeing me pass the exam and achieve this goal, they are super motivated to pursue specialty certification themselves.”
Subedi said certification is important and appreciated at TSHMC. “Certified nurses are celebrated all year long,” he said. “Certification is always worthy. Being ANCC-certified is an even greater achievement. I’m honored to be an RN-BC.”
Article By: American Nurses Association