1. Alexander, Mary BS, CRNI

Article Content

Ask any nursing professional why he or she became certified, and you will no doubt hear mention of increased credibility, enhanced knowledge and skills, career advancement, and personal satisfaction. Thousands of associations use credentials to ensure that their professionals stand apart from others in the field. In healthcare, certification identifies individuals who are dedicated to their specialty and competent to perform to widely respected standards.


Certification is a voluntary process, and becoming a Certified Registered Nurse Infusion (CRNI) may be one of the most significant career decisions a nurse can make. Infusion therapy is a highly sophisticated nursing specialty. It is vital to the practices of pediatrics, geriatrics, oncology, transfusion, pharmacology, critical care, and nutrition support, and is used in most clinical settings, including homecare, long-term care, and outpatient clinics. The letters "CRNI" on an identification badge let colleagues and patients know that this nurse is skilled in the performance of advanced infusion procedures and competent to deliver life-saving therapies such as hydration, antineoplastics, and blood transfusion.


Certification can lead to greater job responsibilities and opportunities, not to mention a profound sense of accomplishment. Nurses with the CRNI credential often become mentors to others in the infusion specialty, acting as teachers, facilitators, and proctors. Their expertise is sought by nurses, physicians, and other healthcare personnel. Many become the designated infusion therapy resource for their organization, ultimately enhancing clinical outcomes.


The Infusion Nurses Certification Corporation (INCC) was established as an organization separate from INS in 1983. Its certification program ensures the clinical eligibility and competency of nurses delivering infusion therapy. Currently there are more than 3300 CRNIs practicing across the United States. INCC administers the CRNI Certification Examination in September every year. Certification standards are high and the examination is challenging. However, there are many resources available to the dedicated infusion specialist who is ready to take this important step. Start right here-turn to the Test Your Knowledge feature in any issue of the Journal, answer the sample questions, and begin exploring the suggested resources to help you prepare for the examination. Your Local Chapter and your colleagues-particularly those who already have taken the examination-are excellent places to start.


Last year, INCC participated in the International Study of the Certified Nurse Workforce, a study of 19,452 certified nurses from the registries of 23 credentialing organizations. The results of stage 3 of the study were published in the January 2001 issue of the American Journal of Nursing, with stages 4 and 5 to follow. It bears noting that 72% of the certified nurses surveyed reported one or more benefits of certification and almost all said that certification brought about at least one change in their practice.


So, why wait? Become a Certified Registered Nurse Infusion. You, your career, and, most importantly, your patients all stand to benefit.FIGURE

Figure. Mary Alexand... - Click to enlarge in new window