Certification Integrity ⎯ What the Nursing Community Can Do

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Maintain integrity with applications

  • Ask AACN Certification Corporation to clarify information about exam or renewal eligibility when needed.
  • Keep documentation that shows you meet CE/CERP renewal requirements in case your certification is audited. We recommend saving your records for several years.
  • Review upcoming renewal dates for certification and licensure on an annual basis.
  • Plan how you will meet requirements for certification renewal on an annual basis. 

Maintain integrity with honor statements

  • Be honest with your employer and colleagues about your certification eligibility and status.
  • Notify AACN Certification Corporation within 30 days of any provisions or conditions placed on your RN or APRN license that limit your practice in any way.
  • Understand and act in a manner congruent with the ANA Code of Ethics for Nurses.

Maintain integrity with confidentiality agreements

  • Never ask a candidate about items on a certification exam or questions that could jeopardize the integrity of an exam.
  • Never share item-specific content about a certification exam you have taken. 

Maintain integrity with professional conduct

  • Be honest when verifying another nurse’s clinical practice hours.
  • Be proud of how hard you worked to earn a certification. Do not let others take shortcuts that jeopardize the integrity of the application process or a certification exam.
  • Notify AACN Certification Corporation if you witness a certificant or exam candidate using a certification credential in a dishonest way or breeching exam item security.

Maintain integrity with use of credentials

  • Don't represent yourself as certified while working with a patient population in which you do not hold certification. If you hold an adult CCRN certification and also work in pediatrics, don't wear CCRN on your badge or sign it after your name while caring for pediatric patients, as it is misleading.
  • Confirm that your business cards, publications, conference brochures and social media profiles show your current certification status.
  • Don't use or display credentials inappropriately. If you hold a subspecialty certification, make sure you link it to a current specialty certification with a dash, such as CCRN-CSC or PCCN-CMC.
  • Refer to the Certification Credential Position Statement for more information.