How Does Certification Benefit Patients and Families?

AACN Certification Corporation contributes to consumer health and safety through comprehensive credentialing of nurses to ensure their practice is consistent with established standards of excellence in caring for acutely and critically ill patients and their families. Certification renewal requirements are in place to encourage and validate the continued competence of certificants.

Certification is an important indicator to patients and employers that a nurse is qualified, competent and has met rigorous requirements to achieve this additional credential in the complex specialty of critical care.

Today's acutely and critically ill patients require heightened vigilance and extraordinarily intricate care from a team of highly skilled health professionals. Due to advances in technology and pharmaceuticals and the aging of our population, hospital patients are sicker than ever before. Years ago, many of these patients would not have survived long enough to be in the hospital.

The 2002 AACN White Paper, “Safeguarding the Patient and the Profession,” explains the value of experienced and knowledgeable nurses on patient safety as follows. “What we have always intuitively suspected to be true, that having the right mix of experienced nurses is a key factor in achieving optimal patient outcomes, has now been supported by rigorous research. Hospitals that create a culture of professionalism, respect and retention, including support for continuing education and certification, are more likely to have the optimal supply and mix of experienced nurses to assure patient safety.”

As healthcare has become more complex, it has become increasingly vital to assure the public that healthcare professionals are competent. RN licensure measures entry-level competence. Certification validates specialty knowledge, experience and clinical judgment. Everyone in the healthcare equation, patients, employers and nurses benefits from certification as a mark of excellence.

AACN recommends the following resources related to the benefits of certification:

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