Certification - The formal recognition of having met the special qualifications, (e.g., knowledge, skills, experience) within a field of specialization.

Impact of Certification

  • Validation of specialized knowledge indicating a level of clinical competence and enhanced professional credibility
  • A few studies in some specialties have linked certification to better patient outcomes with a reduction in medical errors, sentinel events, and failure to rescue
  • Enhanced patient confidence in the care being provided

Registered Nurses and Certified Specialty Registered Nurses.

After completing their nursing program, all nurses must take and pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) licensure exam to become a registered nurse, who is eligible to practice. Once nurses begin working and gaining knowledge of a specialty through orientation, education, and training they have a choice to validate their specialty knowledge through certification.

Certified specialty nurses are different! They have verified their practice experience and their specialty knowledge has been validated through a nationally accredited independent third-party examination.

Certification Benefits Patients and Families

A national poll in 2002 demonstrated the 78% of the public were aware that nurses can be certified and 73% responded that they prefer hospitals that employ nurses with specialty certification. (November 2002 Harris Poll).
  • Provides patients and their families with validation that their caregiver has demonstrated experience, knowledge, and skills in their specialty 
  • As health care becomes more complex it is becoming vital to assure the public that healthcare professionals are prepared in specialty care

Certification Benefits Nurses

  • Validates their specialty knowledge beyond RN Licensure
  • Positions them for appropriate recognition
  • Provides a critical sense of confidence and achievement
  • Decisions in the clinical setting are made with greater confidence
  • Nurses report certification enables them to experience personal growth and feel more satisfied in their work
  • Preferred hire when competing for a position by demonstrating confidence and competence through certification
  • Opens doors to higher-paid positions
  • Although mandatory for most APRNs, certification is a voluntary process for nurses
  • Demonstrates a commitment to career development and dedication to patient care
  • Can be used in most states for License Renewal

Certification Benefits Employers

  • Certification and Continued education contribute to the creation of an environment of professionalism and a culture of retention (critical given the severe nursing shortage)
  • Certification provides ongoing validation of specialty experience and knowledge
  • It allows hospitals to differentiate themselves and thrive in the highly competitive healthcare market
  • Continuing education and certification are drivers of nurses’ job satisfaction
  • Essential elements for recruiting and retaining nurses (According to the American Hospital Association Certification Center (2020) 86% of healthcare facilities look for certification when hiring. )