Nurses who want to set themselves apart with education go for a BSN. And increasingly, those who want to stand out even more get certifications.
A nursing certification is more than just knowledge gained in a class. Often, the nursing certification is a reflection and reaffirmation of the knowledge that a nurse is getting on the job. Much of the work that a nurse does to get certification starts at a patient’s bedside; then that knowledge gets affirmed and contextualized in a class.
For example, when a nurse gets a CCRN certification, it shows that he or she is an expert critical care nurse. But a good deal of the work to get there happens from firsthand knowledge gained in an ICU unit, in addition to the information gained from studying. And, for nurses who have a BSN, a good deal of the work happens while nurses are earning their BSNs, getting a valuable baseline of knowledge and learning how to study.
Nurse.org has a staggering list of 183 different certifications. Typically, nurses must pass an exam to become certified.
Certifications Can Open Doors
There are definite benefits to certification, the first being that it makes for stronger job candidates. A Nurse.com article titled “Enjoy the Perks of Nurse Certification” notes that with all other things being equal, 90 percent of nurse managers prefer a nurse with a certification over one without a certification.
Patients Prefer Nurses With Certifications
And that preference extends to patients as well. According to the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses, nearly three in four Americans prefer hospitals that employ a high percentage of nurses with specialty certification.
It Pays to Be Certified
According to Nurse.com’s 2017 Salary Survey, certified nurses make more money, getting hourly differential pay for their certified status in many cases. Some hospitals will even pay for certification preparation exams and test fees, showing an interest in getting their hospitals up to the standards that patients want.
The fact that 40 percent of American nurses are already certified goes to show how important this distinction really is.
Additional Benefits of Certification
Nurse.com points out other benefits of certification that raise a nurse’s stature across the board. Among peers and administrators, a certification gives a level of respect and prestige to the nurses who have earned it. Certification helps nurses get professional opportunities, such as being on committees, which elevates their status even further. Information compiled on behalf of the Forum for Shared Governance shows that nurses “believe they have more control over their practice and influence over the resources that support it.”
And, as you might expect, certification gives nurses more confidence in doing their jobs. In nursing — especially 21st-century nursing, with its dependence on technology, specialization, and flexibility — education is vital, and certification is an extension of the education that allows a nurse to be the most competent nurse possible.
But that education is best when it starts in a BSN program. The educational trajectory provided by a BSN program is advantageous in the same ways as certification. In fact, you might even consider certification to be an extension of your BSN education.
If you take a concentrated online RN to BSN program like the one offered by A-State, you’ll develop study skills that will serve you well in any certification process. You can complete A-State’s RN to BSN program in as few as 12 months. RNs with BSNs find that certification builds upon the advantages they already have.
Learn more about A-State’s online RN to BSN program.