Certification Benefits Patients, Employers and Nurses

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Nurses validate their mastery of skills, knowledge and abilities through certification and meet ongoing learning and practice requirements through recertification. Patients and families, employers and nurses all benefit from certification. 

Nurse Certification Benefits Patients and Families

Certification provides patients and their families with validation that the nurse caring for them has demonstrated experience and knowledge 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. Nurses confirm that patients admitted to their units are sicker than ever before. Years ago, many of these patients would not have survived long enough to be in the hospital.
  • According to a November 2002 Harris Poll, consumer awareness that nurses can be certified is high — 78% of respondents knew that nurses could be certified. Awareness of nurse certification was slightly higher than all other professions we inquired about — including physicians, accountants, teachers and mechanics.
  • Americans prefer hospitals that employ nurses with specialty certification. Three in four (73%) said that, given a choice, they are much more likely to select a hospital that employs a high percentage of nurses with specialty certification.
  • As healthcare has become more complex, it has become increasingly vital to assure the public that healthcare professionals are competent. Everyone in the healthcare equation — patients, employers, nurses — benefits from certification as a mark of excellence.

Nurse Certification Benefits Employers

Nurse certification and the continuing education required to maintain it contribute to creating an environment of professionalism and a culture of retention — a critical issue given the severe nursing shortage. Certification is also a vehicle for hospitals to differentiate themselves from competitors and demonstrate to consumers that they have attracted the most skilled and experienced nursing professionals.
  • The Institute of Medicine, author of the groundbreaking 2000 study on medical errors titled, To Err is Human: Building a Safer Health System, recommends that health professional licensing bodies implement periodic reexaminations and relicensing of doctors, nurses and other key providers. Certification provides ongoing validation of specialty experience, knowledge and skills.
  • Support for continuing education and certification are drivers of nurses' job satisfaction and have been identified as essential elements of recruiting and retaining nurses. Nurses who derive high job satisfaction from a supportive and professional workplace environment are less likely to change jobs.
  • Employers play an important role in a nurse's decision to seek certification. Employers who embrace and support nurse certification are better positioned to thrive in the highly competitive healthcare market.
  • Ongoing education and experience reduces a nurse's exposure to risk and better prepares him/her to make informed decisions that encompass a larger scope. Mercer Health & Benefits Insurance Services, a leading insurance program administrator and the world's largest insurance broker offers a 10% discount on malpractice premiums to certified acute and critical care nurses.

Nurse Certification Benefits Nurses

By becoming certified, nurses validate their expert knowledge and skills and therefore position themselves for appropriate recognition, advancement and a critical sense of confidence and achievement.

  • RN licensure measures entry-level competence. Certification validates specialty knowledge, experience and clinical judgment.
  • According to Cary's study, published in 2001, nurses whose clinical judgment has been validated through certification believe that they make decisions with greater confidence. This study also found that certified nurses overwhelmingly report that certification enabled them to experience personal growth and feel more satisfied in their work.
  • As a voluntary process, specialty certification points to nurses' commitment to career development and dedication to patient care, particularly in this constantly changing environment.