Nursing Credentials and Certifications

Nursing credentials and certifications are the various credentials and certifications that a person must have to practice nursing legally. A degree, once earned, cannot, in normal circumstances, be taken away. State licensure is only revoked for serious professional misconduct. Certifications generally must be periodically renewed by examination or the completion of a prescribed number of continuing education units (CEUs). This is often called maintenance of certification (MOC). Some nurses who achieve a master's degree (MSN) leave the patient care aspect of nursing, and practice in a more managerial role. An example would be earning an MSN in health care risk management. Such a nurse, while still fully an accredited nurse, will likely become the risk manager for a hospital, working in health administration rather than direct care and perhaps even becoming the director or manager of the risk management department. In this role, he or she may never see another patient except while doing hospital inspections, or perhaps talking to a patient or the patient's family about a quality of care concern. Registered nurses (RNs) are not required to be certified in a certain specialty by law. For example, it is not necessary to be a certified medical-surgical registered nurse (CMSRN) (a medical surgical nursing certification) to work on a medical-surgical (med-surge) floor, and most med-surge nurses are not CMSRNs. Certifications do, however, instil professionalism and make the nurse more attractive to prospective and current employers. Certified nurses may earn a salary differential over their non-certified colleagues but this is rare.

 

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