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Do Any Nursing Certifications Require a BSN?

Many employers prefer to hire nurses with at least a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Not only is a BSN becoming the accepted minimal level of education for most nursing positions, nurses may also need a baccalaureate degree to pursue certain certifications. While some certifications only require an ADN or nursing diploma, some nursing specialties require nurses to hold a BSN and become certified.

What Is Certification in Nursing?

Nursing certification affirms that a nurse has the necessary knowledge, competencies and skills needed to practice in a specific area of healthcare.

How Do Nurses Earn Certification?

Nurses can earn a variety of certifications. Organizations that offer certification may have different requirements. Generally, nurses have to do the following to qualify for certification.

  • Graduate with a degree from an accredited nursing school.
  • Pass the NCLEX to receive a license to practice as an RN.
  • Complete a specified number of hours in a nursing specialty or have experience for a designated number of years.
  • Continue education.
  • Pass an examination that measures a nurse's proficiencies.

Why Is Nursing Certification Important?

Certification shows that a nurse has deeper knowledge of an area in nursing than the qualifications needed to be a licensed RN. Nurses who are certified show that they care about delivering safe and quality care.

What Two Organizations Offer Certification?

A variety of organizations offer certification to nurses, but there are two prominent associations that certify RNs. They are the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC).

What Are the Benefits of Nursing Certification?

Nurses, patients and healthcare employers benefit when nurses are certified in their specialty. In the study Nurse Specialty Certification, Inpatient Mortality, and Failure to Rescue, researchers found a link between BSN-prepared nurses with specialty certification and better patient outcomes.

Employers who support certification tend to attract and retain the most highly skilled and experienced nurses. With certification, nurses gain the confidence they need to make critical decisions and reduce the risk of errors. And, they have the capability to handle patients with more complex conditions.

Are There Nursing Specialties That Require Nurses to Have a BSN and Certification?

Nursing specialties do exist that require nurses to have both a BSN and certification. A few specialties also involve board certification which is indicated by the initials RN-BC. Here are examples of specialties that necessitate a BSN and certification.

  • Perioperative Nurse – CNOR Certification (CNOR)
  • Emergency Nurse – Certified Emergency Nurse (CEN)
  • Flight Nurse – Certified Flight Registered Nurse (CFRN)
  • Hospice Nurse – Certified Hospice and Palliative Nurse (CHPN)
  • Labor and Delivery Nurse – Inpatient Obstetric Nursing (RNC-OB)
  • Long-Term Care Nurse – Gerontological Nursing Certification (RN-BC)
  • Nurse Informaticists – Informatics Nursing Certification (RN-BC)
  • Psychiatric Nurse – Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing Certification (RN-BC)
  • Labor and Delivery Nurse – Inpatient Obstetric Nursing (RNC-OB)
  • Wound Care Nurse – Certified Wound Care Nurse (CWCN)

What Are Common Certifications for RNs?

A majority of nurses may need or want these certifications:

  • Basic Life Support (BLS)
  • Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS)
  • Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS)

How Do Nurses Display Their Nursing Certification?

Nursing certification is a designation that demonstrates a nurse's expertise to patients and colleagues. According to the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), nurses should display their credentials after their name in this order:

  • Highest degree earned
  • License to practice nursing
  • Specialty
  • Certification
  • Awards and honors

Once nurses have achieved certification, they need to renew it in order to stay up to date with changes in their specialty. Besides the obvious advantages to patients, nursing certifications can increase a nurse's earning potential and the number of job opportunities. An online RN to BSN program can help nurses earn a baccalaureate degree and advance in their careers.

Learn more about EIU's online RN to BSN program.

Sources: Cardiovascular Operating Room (CVOR) Nurse

American Association of Critical-Care Nurses: Certification Benefits Patients, Employers and Nurses Complete List of Common Nursing Certifications Emergency Room Nurse Flight Nurse Hospice Nurse

American Nurses Credentialing Center: How to Display Your Credentials

Journal of Nursing Scholarship: Nurse Specialty Certification, Inpatient Mortality, and Failure to Rescue Labor and Delivery Nurse

American Association of Critical-Care Nurses: Linkages Between Certification and Outcomes for Patients, Systems or Nurses Long-Term Care Nurse

Working Nurse: The Power of Nursing Specialty Certifications Wound Care Nurse

Lippincott NursingCenter: Nursing Certification Boards by Specialty What Is Nursing Informatics? How to Display Your Nursing Credentials What Is a Psychiatric Nurse?

Journal of Trauma Nursing: The Value of Certification

Minority Nurse: Certified Nurses: The Importance of Becoming Certified

American Mobile: Why and Where to Pursue Nursing Certification

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