AACN News—January 2003—Certification

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Vol. 20, No. 1, JANUARY 2003

What Motivates Nurses to Seek Certification? Recently Certified CCRNs and CCNSs Explain

By Beth A. Glassford, RN, MSHA, CHE
AACN Certification Corporation Board of Directors

What motivates a critical care nurse to seek certification? How do successful applicants prepare? Are certified nurses recognized by their peers, by their employers?

These are just a few of the areas that have been explored with some of our newest certificants. This diverse group of CCRNs and CCNSs have achieved certification in adult, neonatal and pediatric critical care.

Why Certification?
I found that each of us has our own personal reasons and different motivations for seeking certification. Following are just a few that these certificants cited:
� Personal satisfaction
� Requirement to maintain advanced practice status in their states
� Validation of advanced practice role and knowledge of critical care
� A way to refresh and keep knowledge base current
� Monetary incentive
� Prestige and to confirm competency to self
� Requirement to join a neonatal ICU transport team
� Great respect credential has
� Credibility to encourage others to become certified
� Lifelong commitment to learning
� Professional pride
� Welfare of patients
� Standard of testing for CCRN exam is higher than other certifying bodies

Getting Ready
There is not a standard way that works for everyone in preparing to take a certification exam, and the certificants I talked to suggested a variety of approaches. Maybe some of these ideas will assist you.
� Practicing as a CNS
� Reviewing the AACN Certification Corporation Web site (www.certcorp.org) and using the practice questions
� Reviewing advanced practice articles related to the Synergy Model
� Practicing effective test-taking skills
� Reading the exam application and handbook
� Attending preconference prep class at NTI
� Attending a four-day review course and immediately signing up for the exam while the information was fresh
� Studying the core curriculum book and study guide
� Using CD version of the core curriculum
� Concentrating on weak sections identified in the practice exams
� Listening to tapes and videos of a review course
� Reviewing the exam blueprint

Is There Support?
Support for and recognition of certification varies among employers. Some nurses say they have no encouragement from their employers to achieve certification. However, others described varying levels of support and recognition. Hospitals that are looking to promote certification as recognition of quality will continue to add incentives to recognize the importance of certification. Following is a sampling of the types of support reported:
� Reimbursed for the cost of the exam
� Time off work to travel to the exam site and to take the test
� Reimbursement for obtaining certification
� A 16% pay raise
� A different pay scale for certified nurses
� Annual bonus for certification
� Differential pay for certification
� Financial support to attend a conference each year
� Reimbursement for attending a review course
� A $1,200 bonus for certification
� Advancement on a clinical ladder

Share the Value
Are you able to articulate to your institution, patients and physicians the benefit of a certified nurse?

Although pursuing certification requires work and a commitment on your part, it clearly has many benefits on both a personal and professional level. We hope that each of you will take the opportunity to achieve certification. Utilize the resources of the AACN Certification Corporation and the Web site to assist you. Maybe the comments and ideas of these newly certified nurses will motivate you to take the exam!

CCNS Certification Meets AP Criteria in 18 States

North Carolina has joined the list of states that now recognize CCNS certification as meeting the criteria for advanced practice nursing designation or licensure.

In addition to North Carolina, the state boards of nursing in Alabama, California, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin have either approved the CCNS exam, or listed AACN Certification Corporation as an approved
certification body.

AACN Certification Corporation has contacted the state boards in all 50 states to request recognition of the CCNS certification exam for clinical nurse specialists in acute and critical care. Depending on the wording of specific statutes or rules, each state that recognizes the CNS role for advanced practice status may have the option to approve the CCNS exam process.

However, though pressure from managed care groups, reimbursement issues and the desire to conform to the same practices as neighboring states seem to be influencing the move toward regulation of advanced practice, some boards of nursing do not have the statutory authority to establish or approve an advanced practice category. AACN Certification Corporation continues to monitor legislation in those states.

All nurses planning to use the CCNS to obtain advanced practice licensure should check the specific requirements of their state boards of nursing before taking the CCNS exam.

Note: Certification obtained through AACN Certification Corporation is a voluntary process and is intended to test only for specialized knowledge. AACN Certification Corporation is not authorized to define qualifications of any person for nursing practice. The significance of certification in any jurisdiction is dependent on the statutes in that jurisdiction, and it is the individual candidate�s responsibility to contact the appropriate state board of nursing to obtain information pertaining to licensure requirements.

For the Record

The credential for certified operating room nurses is CRON. An article in the December issue of AACN News incorrectly listed this credential.

Volunteers Needed for Appeals Panels

AACN Certification Corporation is seeking volunteers to serve on its adult, pediatric and neonatal CCRN and CCNS certification exam appeals panels.

These positions are part of AACN�s annual Call for Volunteers. The deadline to apply is March 1. The application is available online or via Fax on Demand at (800) 222-6329. Request Document #1521.

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