Nursing Certification Offers Wide-Ranging Benefits

Mar 12, 2019

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In honor of Certified Nurses Day on March 19, acute and critical care nurses reflect on why certification matters

ALISO VIEJO, Calif. – March 12, 2019 – The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) joins hospitals and healthcare organizations to celebrate and recognize certified nurses for their professionalism, leadership and commitment to excellence in patient care as part of Certified Nurses Day, Tuesday, March 19.

As healthcare becomes increasingly complex and challenging, the value of nursing certification as a mark of excellence is more important than ever. Achieving certification demonstrates to patients, employers and the public that a nurse’s knowledge reflects national standards and a strong personal commitment to patient safety.

In honor of this year’s national celebration of certified nurses, AACN asked several critical care and progressive care nurses to describe the wide-ranging benefits of being certified:

“What I value most about my certification is the opportunities it’s opened up for me – the respect that I receive from my nursing and non-nursing peers, and the changes I’ve been able to make to the nursing practice at my current and previous organizations. I am a better practitioner because of my certifications,” said Sam Merchant, MBA, BSN, RN, CCRN, PCCN, NE-BC, RN-BC, Progressive Care Unit, University Health System, San Antonio.

“Besides personal satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment, certification validated all of the knowledge and experience I’ve gained working in the ICU for almost 10 years. My certification has made me a more confident nurse, knowing what I’ve been doing for my patients is aligned with national guidelines and standards for excellence in patient care,” said Erica McCartney, BSN, RN, CCRN-CMC, ICU/IMCU resource RN, Swedish Medical Center, Edmonds, Washington.

Career Advancement
“Certification opened doors for me by allowing my supervisors to trust me enough to teach competencies and mentor new nurses. My supervisors trusted my nursing and clinical judgment enough for me to become a valued resource on our cardiac unit. Certification allowed me the opportunity to climb our clinical nurse ladder, which also provided an additional monetary component,” said Kendra Armstrong, MSN, RN, ACNPC-AG, PCCN, acute care nurse practitioner, Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital, Albany, Georgia.

“Being certified is a validation of my commitment, experience and clinical expertise. I am proud to work along with my fellow certified nurses every day. It is a constant reminder and reassurance to our patients and family members that they are receiving the highest quality care. Certified nurses are determined professionals who invest in their professional and personal growth – they inspire me to be the best,” said Sherley John, MSN, RN, CCRN, clinical nurse, Neurosurgical ICU, North Shore University Hospital, Manhasset, New York.

According to data collected by the American Board of Nursing Specialties in 2016, more than 769,917 nurses in the United States and Canada held certifications. These certifications were granted by 28 certifying organizations and represent 144 different credentials.

Currently, more than 120,000 acute and critical care nurses hold AACN Certification Corporation credentials: CCRN, CCRN-K, CCRN-E, PCCN, PCCN-K, ACNPC, ACNPC-AG, CCNS, ACCNS-AG, ACCNS-P, ACCNS-N, CMC and CSC.

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 in 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

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 120,000 nursing certifications.

About the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses: Founded in 1969 with 400 members, the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) is now the world’s largest specialty nursing organization. In 2019, AACN celebrates 50 years of acute and critical care nursing excellence, serving more than 120,000 members and over 200 chapters in the United States. The organization remains committed to its vision of creating a healthcare system driven by the needs of patients and their families in which acute and critical care nurses make their optimal contribution. During its 50th anniversary year, AACN continues to salute and celebrate all that nurses have accomplished over the last half century, while honoring their past, present and future impact on the evolution of high-acuity and critical care nursing.

American Association of Critical-Care Nurses, 101 Columbia, Aliso Viejo, CA 92656-4109; 949-362-2000;;;