1. Kurek, Donna BSN, RN, ONC
  2. President ONCB

Article Content

People who know me know my favorite career saying is "it's all about the resume." It is not about looking for or finding a new job; it is about documenting every professional development opportunity I have encountered spanning from my education to, yes, my certification.

Donna Kurek BSN, RN,... - Click to enlarge in new window President ONCB

Orthopaedic Nurses Certification Board (ONCB) members support nurses seeking to continue their professional development goals of certification and recertification. Having a specialty certification is a definite benefit in the 21st century. Many organizations and physician practices recognize the value of certification and are seeking highly trained nurses. I believe nurses do understand the value of certification. Let the ONCB help you meet your professional development goals.


Test taking is a common source of anxiety. Nurses frequently tell me they put off taking the orthopedic nurses examination because they have heard it is very difficult to pass. I have heard nurses say they will just take other certification examinations because they are easier. I am a strong supporter of all nursing certification; however, the ONCB's examinations are the only credentials that recognize your commitment to lifelong learning and the high level of knowledge that contributes to orthopaedic patient care.


Nurses often refrain from test taking because their facilities do not compensate for certification. We always want to promote the extrinsic value of certification through recognition from employers, but the intrinsic rewards of being an expert in your nursing field should not take a backseat to extrinsic factors.


The ONCB is here to help you succeed.

The ONCB now offers the Retest for Success program. This program provides a pricing guarantee. Participating health care facilities can register groups of five or more RNs or nurse practitioners to take the ONC or ONP-C examination. Candidates do not have to take the examinations at the same time and can develop their own study plan. Once registered, candidates have 90 days to take the examination. If not successful on the first examination attempt, the candidate can retest 90-180 days after the first test without paying additional examination fees.


Nurses should carefully choose the resources they use to prepare for the examinations. Many companies offer what they advertise as "comprehensive preparation materials." The ONCB website provides a list of recommended resources for examination preparation. The ONCB also offers online practice examinations with sample test questions. Completing these practice tests allows candidates to identify areas of orthopaedics that are their strengths and their opportunities.


Test anxiety? No problem! The ONCB provides candidates with a free 30-minute video on test-taking strategies. With all of these resources and tools at your fingertips, you have what you need to be successful in your professional development.


When you become certified, the ONCB wants you to have continued success. Recertifying your credential demonstrates your continued commitment to lifelong learning and a high level of knowledge that contributes to effective patient care and safety. The American Board of Nursing Specialties (ABNS) position statement on recertification states, "the process of recertification seeks to assure the public that the certificant has maintained the knowledge in the specialty, as well as ongoing participation in activities that support the maintenance of competence in that specialty (ABNS, 2005).


Our learning management system LearningBuilder provides a learning needs self-assessment to help you identify opportunities for continued orthopaedic development. LearningBuilder allows certified nurses to upload their contact hours, apply for recertification online, and track their learning needs self-assessment over the 5-year certification period. Watch for our new LearningBuilder tutorials to aid you in using the system. You will be able to access these tutorials through the ONCB website (


The ONCB mission is to improve musculoskeletal health by providing nurses with certifications that promote their professional development and advance the practice of orthopaedic nursing. Let ONCB help you continue your lifelong professional development goals and build your resume.


Certified nurses can continue to build their professional development resumes by serving on the ONCB. Positions become available each year for the Recertification Committee, and the ONCB is always recruiting ONCB Ambassadors. Complete a Willingness to Serve Form ("Find it Fast" on the ONCB website). One last thing: Like us on Facebook to stay connected with the ONCB, certified nurses, and potential certificants.




American Board of Nursing Specialties. (2005). A position statement on the value of nursing certification. Retrieved from[Context Link]