In 2011, the Institute of Medicine (IOM, now National Academy of Medicine) published a key report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, in which they called on the profession of nursing to advance our education and expand our professional practice in order for the “health system [to] reap the full benefit of nurses’ training, skills, and knowledge in patient care.” The IOM recognized the valuable contribution nurses have, not only in the care of patients, but in transforming the health care system to improve quality, safety, and accessibility of care. One such step forward in meeting this challenge is national certification. National certification is a mark of excellence based on rigorous national standards that validate a nurse’s specialty knowledge, skills, and clinical judgement. Achieving national certification shows true dedication and commitment to delivering high-quality care to your patients and advancing your professional nursing career.
Key components within a culture of Nursing Excellence are the programs that support lifelong learning through continuing education, achieving certification, and advancing practice. UAMS supports nursing in achievement of national certification through certification fee reimbursement, paid time to sit for examination, and paid time for activities to maintain certification. UAMS also recognizes the achievement of national certification with pay differential.
Your nursing leadership wants to see you achieve your national certification! We have set organizational and unit/clinic level goals to increase the number of certified nurses 1% per year. There are many accredited organizations that offer national nursing certifications – National Certification Corporation, American Nurses Credentialing Center, American Association of Critical-Care Nurses and Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation, to name just a few. A full list of the eligible nursing certifications and certifying bodies can be found at https://www.nursingworld.org/organizational-programs/magnet/program-tools/accepted-certifications/.
Nurses are eligible to sit for most nursing certification exams after 2 years of experience and successfully achieve national certification by participating in review courses, self-study programs, and reading core review books. Most certifications must be renewed every 3-5 years with proof of current, unencumbered nursing license, practice hours, and a specified number of CEUs. As an additional bonus, in Arkansas, your indication of national certification is all you need to renew your state nursing license.
There are so many benefits to you and your patients in obtaining your national certification. If you are interested in national certification, meet with your nursing leadership or visit the Center for Nursing Excellence website for more details. We look forward to celebrating you next year on National Certified Nurses Day!
Shalala, D., Bolton, L. B., Bleich, M. R., Brennan, T. A., Campbell, R. E., & Devlin, L. (2011). The future of nursing: Leading change, advancing health. Washington DC: The National Academy Press. doi, 10, 12956.
Originally published March 2021