The Certification Possibilities are Almost Endless
Hollis Forster, RNC-NP
Congratulations! You have graduated from nursing school. Maybe you have also passed the NCLEX- RN and are ready to practice. Now, where can you go? What kinds of specialties are out there? And what certifications are offered for the RN? Of course, as a Nurse Practitioner or as a Certified Nurse Midwife there are certifications you can get that validate your proficiency, but are there others offered for the hospital based RN, or the community health center based RN? The quick answer is “yes,” the longer answer is quite a comprehensive list of certifications that can be sought for many nursing specialties.
The American Nurses Credentialing Center offers more than 25 certifications for the Advanced Practice Nurse. The National Certification Corporation is more specialized but offers some interesting specialty certifications in the field of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
Certified nurses can ask a higher salary than other nurses not certified in their areas of practice. In fact, they average more than $9000 a year more than nurses who do not hold a certification.
Some of the specialty certifications and the organizations that confer the Board Certification (BC) include:
• Diabetes Management – National Certification Board for Diabetes Educators
• Emergency Nursing – Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing
• Gastroenterology Nursing- American Board of Certification for Gastroenterology Nurses
• HIV/AIDS Nursing – HIV/AIDS Nursing Certification Board
• Infectious Disease Nursing – Certification Board of Infection Control & Epidemiology
• Infusion Nursing – Infusion Nurses Certification Corporation
• OB/GYN, Maternal, Neonatal Nursing – National Certification Corporation
• Oncology Nursing – Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation
• Pain Management – American Academy of Pain Management
• Perioperative Nursing – Competency & Credentialing Institute
• Plastic Surgical Nursing – American Society of Plastic Surgical Nursing
• Peri- & Post-Anesthesia Nursing – American Board of Perianesthesia Nursing Certification
• School Nursing – National Board of Certification for School Nurses
There are, however, specialties within specialties. For instance, in the emergency care specialty arena, you can get a certificate in pediatric emergencies; you can become a certified flight nurse or a certified ground transport nurse. Within the NCC’s certifications you can sit for a certificate in inpatient obstetric nursing, maternal newborn nursing, low risk neonatal nursing, neonatal intensive care nursing, electronic fetal monitoring, or neonatal pediatric transport. This last certification is new for 2009.
The certifications often include some experience with practicing in an area. After all, it is to validate your proficiency in a particular field. The pediatric emergency care certification demands 1000 hours of experience in that area over a period of 24 months.
So, as you are exiting your school experience and heading towards a specialty, consider the possibility of certification somewhere down the road and move to that area of practice where you have always dreamed of working and find the certification that fits that practice. There are so many, at this point, there is probably one that fits your particular niche. The nursing field is huge and growing. Use this list to identify your interests, your dreams and your path for the future.