Certified Nurses Day March 19: Why It Matters

Mar 08, 2017

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Over 102,000 acute and critical care nurses hold AACN Certification Corp.’s credentials. Here’s how six of them explain why certification matters.

ALISO VIEJO, Calif. – March 8, 2017 – The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) joins with hospitals and other healthcare groups across the country Sunday, March 19, to celebrate and recognize the essential work of certified nurses as part of Certified Nurses Day.

Why do thousands of nurses become certified each year, and thousands more renew their certifications? Here’s how six critical care and progressive care nurses explain why they became certified and why certification matters:


“Certification is an essential part of professional development, giving nurses the opportunity to validate and increase knowledge, and to critically approach their practice for their own quality improvement. Certification is the first step in being an advocate, change agent, leader and expert,” said William Rosa, MS, RN, LMT, AGPCNP-BC, AHN-BC, CCRN-CMC, palliative medicine fellow, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York.


“Because we have all worked so hard to earn this certification, I feel that we hold ourselves to a higher standard of excellence. We want our patients to know that we’ve worked hard to get where we are, and that we are all committed to providing them with the best possible care,” said Kara Winkler, MSN, RN, PCCN, staff nurse, Exeter Hospital, Exeter, New Hampshire.


“I became certified to validate and enhance my current knowledge and to make sure that I was best prepared to provide the highest level of evidence-based care to my patients. When my clinical nurse specialist presented me with a CCRN pin, that was the moment when I knew that my certification also mattered to others, including my colleagues and, most importantly, my patients,” Justin DiLibero, MSN, RN, CNS, CCRN, ACCNS-AG, clinical nurse specialist, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston.

Career Advancement:

“For me, certification is not about the end, getting your certification, but about the journey to become and remain a certified nurse. You show the patients, families and your colleagues that you are committed to validating and improving your practice. Employers value certification, and certification can lead to career advancements through clinical ladders or promotions,” said Lynn Orser, MSN, RN, PCCN, CCRN, critical care educator, St. Vincent’s Medical Center, Bridgeport, Connecticut.


“We have this certification Wall of Fame, and they put all our certificates up there. The patients come around and say, ‘That’s my nurse,’ and you feel so proud. Every time somebody passes the test, there are congratulations, big banners, a pin, to let them know ‘We’re really proud of you.’ But you’re really doing it for yourself, for your own professional growth, to be the best you can be for you and your patients,” said Olinda Spitzer, RN, MSN, CNS, CCRN, surgical unit nurse, HealthPark Medical Center, Fort Myers, Florida.

Role Model:

“I decided to get certified because I’m on a unit where there are a lot of new graduates and, as one of the more experienced nurses, I wanted to be an example for them,” said Laura Diehl, BSN, RN, CCRN, shift coordinator, Indiana University Health-Methodist Hospital, Indianapolis.

According to data collected by the American Board of Nursing Specialties in 2016, more than 768,917 nurses in the United States and Canada held certifications, an increase of more than 51,414 certificants compared to 2015 data. These certifications were granted by 22 certifying organizations, including AACN Certification Corporation, and represent 120 different credentials.

Currently, more than 102,000 certified acute and critical care nurses hold AACN Certification Corporation’s credentials: CCRN, PCCN, CCRN-E, CCRN-K, PCCN-K, CMC, CSC, CCNS, ACNPC, ACNPC-AG, ACCNS-AG, ACCNS-P, ACCNS-N and CNML.

Certified Nurses Day is an annual worldwide event dedicated to celebrating certification as a means to help ensure high standards of patient care and to promote continuing excellence in the nursing profession. Initially proposed by the American Nurses Credentialing Center, the day honors the birthday of the late Margretta “Gretta” Madden Styles, an international pioneer of nursing certification and longtime friend of AACN and AACN Certification Corporation. Styles designed the first comprehensive study of nurse credentialing. 

For more information about Certified Nurses Day, visit www.aacn.org/certnursesday.

About AACN Certification Corporation: AACN Certification Corporation, the credentialing arm of the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses, drives patient health and safety through comprehensive credentialing of acute and critical care nurses, ensuring practice consistent with standards of excellence. Since 1976, AACN Certification Corporation has granted more than 102,000 nursing certifications.

About the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses: Founded in 1969 and based in Aliso Viejo, California, the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) is the largest specialty nursing organization in the world. AACN represents the interests of more than half a million acute and critical care nurses and has more than 200 chapters throughout the United States. The organization’s vision is to create a healthcare system driven by the needs of patients and their families in which acute and critical care nurses make their optimal contribution.

American Association of Critical-Care Nurses, 101 Columbia, Aliso Viejo, CA 92656-4109; 949-362-2000; www.aacn.org; facebook.com/aacnface; twitter.com/aacnme