1. Plueger, Madona Dawn MSN RN ACNS-BC CNRN

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The American Board of Neuroscience Nursing (ABNN) is responsible for the development, administration and evaluation of the Certified Neuroscience Registered Nurse (CNRN) program implemented in 1978 and the Stroke Certified Registered Nurse (SCRN) program, implemented in 2013. Our mission is to advance neuroscience nurses' practice and contributions to neurological health through certification of registered nurses. This mission assures that a body of expertise is available to every person with a neurological disorder. Certification validates a nurse's knowledge, skills, and abilities in a defined role and clinical area of practice, based on predetermined standards. Attaining a certified nursing credential requires a high level of commitment by the individual nurse. After the initial certification exam, the nurse must complete a specified number of continuing education hours related to that specialty area to retain the credential. This provides evidence that quality care, based on current research and best practice standards, is planned and implemented in the specialty area. Earning the CNRN or SCRN credential validates a nurse's specialty knowledge base and the ability to apply this knowledge in daily practice.

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The Accreditation Board of Specialty Nursing Certification organization (ABSNC) seeks and recognizes high quality nursing specialty and associated certification programs. Their current membership represents nearly 500,000 certified nurses, including those certified by ABNN. This number highlights the value a great many nurses place on specialty certification and helps enhance our credibility among colleagues, patients and other members of the healthcare team.


As nurses, we often are contacted the moment a family member or colleague is diagnosed with a neurological issue or a symptom that is difficult to explain. The realm of disease states and diagnosis, along with the plethora of procedures, protocols, and plans of care, result in ongoing care and support as the individuals, families go down their healthcare journey. Social media, the internet, and word of mouth are often tools that lead to a facility or provider being selected. When seeking a provider to care for us or a member of our family/colleague, we elicit advice from our associates, the clinical, certified experts.


Increasingly, health care providers are asked about their credentials and expert knowledge. Neuroscience nurses are no exception. "How many procedures have you done, how many times have you seen a similar situation?" The best way for a patient and his family to know whether a nurse participating in his care has a knowledge base that validates skills, knowledge and abilities is to ask the nurse that is providing the care if she is board certified in a specialty. Our future expectations lie in society requesting a certified neuroscience nurse in the same discussion as a board-certified licensed independent practitioner.


We are not alone in this quest. The release of the Institute of Medicine's (IOM) report - The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health -published in 2011 and the American Nursing Credentialing Center (ANCC) Magnet Recognition Program(R) both recognize the importance of certification and its validation of excellence. The IOM report calls on all professional nurses to step forward and take on the role of leader and to practice to the highest level of their professional degree and/or certification. The Magnet pursuit is occurring in institutions across the country. Existing Magnet facilities, as well as those in active pursuit, celebrate the fact that certified nurses protect those we care for. They also celebrate the professional pride that the certified nurse possesses as a result of their accomplishments. The windows of tomorrow reveal sights set on exploration of global certification need, additional specialty certifications and consideration of other ways to validate skills, knowledge and attributes of our profession.



The author wishes to acknowledge the support and work of the ABNN Board of Trustees in providing the impetus for this editorial and for their continued work supporting the certification of neuroscience nurses.


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The author declares no conflicts of interest.