Adding credentials to your nursing degree gives you the opportunity to demonstrate your ability to provide informed and certified care in specialized areas. It also demonstrates your commitment to the nursing profession. Certifications are offered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), which is a subsidiary of the American Nurses Association (ANA), whose goal it is to promote excellence in nursing through credentialing programs recognizing specialty practices.
The ANCC certifies nurse practitioners in a variety of specialties including psychiatric and mental health, adult gerontology and family practice. The Pediatric Nursing Certification Board is charged with certifying Pediatric Nurse Practitioners. Pediatric nurse practitioners will recertify every year in the fall providing documentation of an unencumbered license with 15 documented contact hours of instruction.
Credentials for nurse practitioners managed through ANCC are valid for five years. Nurses can continue to use their credentials by maintaining an unencumbered license to practice and meeting the renewal requirements in place at the time of recertification. Although not as widely used, ANCC continues to maintain credentialing for adult gerontological clinical nurse specialist certifications, also valid for five years and renewable when meeting the requirements in place at the time you request recertification.
Since the medical profession is highly specialized with a growing base of information in unique fields, ANCC also maintains specialty certifications demonstrating to an employer a nurse’s advanced education and training. These specialty certifications are often desired by hospitals and nursing units as they demonstrate to credentialing bodies, such as The Joint Commission, the facility’s commitment to providing quality care.
Each of the listed specialty credentials above are awarded once you have completed eligibility requirements set for that specific certification and have successfully passed the exam. Each credential is valid for five years and is renewed when you present with an unencumbered nursing license and have met the renewal requirements in place at the end of your certification.
Additionally, nurses can be certified in subspecialties working with adults or pediatrics, including areas such as pain management, stroke care, and occupational health or wound care. These subspecialty certifications are available for executive nursing, leadership and management as well. Many intensive care units and transports teams require their nurses to be certified in Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) for adults or Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS), Neonatal Advanced Life Support (NALS) or Pediatric Early Assessment, Recognition and Stabilization (PEARS). Lippincott Nursing Center keeps an extensive list of specialty and subspecialty nursing certification boards with contact information and links to the pertinent websites. This resource may come in handy to research certifications you may wish to pursue.
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