1. Phipps, Michelle PhD, MS, BSN, RN


Annually, Certified Nurses Day honors nurses worldwide who contribute to better patient outcomes through board certification in their specialty. Certification affirms advanced knowledge, skill, and practice to meet the challenges of modern nursing and our shared goal of a healthy citizenry. In this month's Magnet(R) Perspectives column, the value of certification is discussed and why this credential promotes environments of nursing excellence.


Article Content

Nursing leaders and employers are in a unique position to promote certification as a key component of the organizational culture and reward those who achieve credentials.

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Inspired by a Dr Margretta "Gretta" Madden Styles, EdD, RN, FAAN, a pioneer in nursing certification and the only nurse to serve as president of the International Council of Nurses, American Nurses Credentialing Center(R) (ANCC), American Nurses Association, and the California Board of Registered Nursing, ANCC calls on employers, certification boards, education facilities, and healthcare providers to celebrate and publicly acknowledge nurses who care enough to earn and maintain the highest credentials in their specialty. Suggested action plans, promotional tools, and success stories are available for free download at


Why Invite Nurses to Get Certified?

For healthcare organizations seeking ANCC Magnet Recognition and/or Pathway to Excellence(R) credentials, certification helps meets eligibility standards. Equally important is the value certification brings to each and every nurse's career.


* As the demand for interprofessional collaboration increases, certification signals to all healthcare practitioners that nurses possess a reliable level of specialty knowledge.


* Certified nurses report a sense of empowerment and increased job satisfaction. Even noncertified peers think certification enhances the feeling of personal accomplishment and satisfaction.1


* Certification is tied to increased patient safety and patient satisfaction.2


* Certification can aid career progression. In some healthcare organizations, certification serves as a criterion for increased pay, recognition, and/or leadership opportunities.


* For advanced practice nurses, certification is a requirement to practice in most states and typically required for third-party reimbursement, whether insurers follow Medicare guidelines or regulate reimbursement in their own way.


* Professional networking opportunities also become available. One example is the opportunity to serve as a content expert with colleagues from across the country. ANCC standards are reviewed every 3 years to ensure certifications keep pace with the latest nursing evidence. Clinicians who are certified provide essential insights and best practice knowledge that inform product development and help shape the future of their specialty. This volunteer opportunity elevates a nurse's visibility from the local and state levels to a national presence in the nursing profession.




As the only global certifying body to offer RN, advanced practice RN, and interprofessional healthcare certifications in emerging specialties, ANCC also offers more certifications than any other credentialing body. It was 1st to innovate a new credentialing process and holds a US patent for certification through portfolio, an alternative assessment methodology inclusive of peer review with no examination required.


Currently, 6 certifications are assessed using the Certification through Portfolio method including Emergency Nurse Practitioner, Faith Community Nursing, Advanced Forensic Nursing, Advanced Genetics Nursing, Hemostasis Nursing, and Advanced Public Health Nursing. A new certification in Rheumatology Nursing will be available later in 2016.


The certification through portfolio assessment process is a valid assessment of knowledge, skills, and abilities and therefore requires a significant time commitment. In adherence to a Portfolio Content Outline, applicants write an extensive portfolio demonstrating expertise in their specialty nursing based on 4 domains of nursing practice:


* professional development


* professional and ethical nursing practice


* teamwork and collaboration


* quality and safety



This is ideal for nurses who feel their test-taking abilities do not match actual skills and knowledge. The portfolio preparation process itself provides inherent benefits, as it gives nurses an opportunity to reflect and gain fresh perspectives on their nursing career and articulate accomplishments.


Renewal Standards and Lifelong Learning

Renewal of certification credentials also provides a flexible, yet structured approach to professional development. Renewal occurs every 5 years. To maintain certified status, nurses must complete 75 contact hours plus submit evidence of 2 professional activities.


Options include the following:


* publication or research;


* preceptor hours;


* professional service, including service on editorial boards, committees, task forces, and boards of directors;


* presentations, up to 5 hours in the certification specialty;


* academic credits; and


* examination, if available.



This offers a wide variety of professional activities within a 5-year period to support career-long learning and ensure your nursing practice stays on the leading edge and grounded in the latest evidence-based standards. (Note: APRNs must complete 25 of the 75 contact hours in pharmacotherapeutics.) Nurses who achieve and maintain nursing credentials contribute to improved patient care and deserve our respect and recognition. Join ANCC in continuing to promote nursing board certification as a key element of the public and private sector's agenda to support population health worldwide. Celebrate Certified Nurses Day each year and promote nursing excellence.




1. Ciurzynski SM, Serwetnyk TM. Increasing nurse certification rates using a multimodal approach. J Nurs Adm. 2015; 45(4): 226-233. [Context Link]


2. McNeely HL, Shonka NM, Pardee C, Nicol NH. The value of certification: what do pediatric nurses think? Nurs Manage. 2015; 46(2): 34-42. [Context Link]