Certification programs elevate the standard of knowledge and skills required for a profession. In nursing, certifications are offered by specialty, and there are many paths to choose from. If you are considering a career in nursing, you may be wondering – why should I earn a nursing certification in addition to going to nursing school? Here are a few things to consider.
Validates Your Knowledge and Tests for Your Specialty – Working toward a certification helps you demonstrate not only to others, but also to yourself, that you are competent and knowledgeable in your field. A certification often also tests for advanced knowledge in your nursing specialty and provides you with education that you wouldn’t necessarily receive in nursing school.
Shows Credibility and Earns Respect – Although nurses have been rated number one in the honesty and ethical standards ratings by Gallup Poll for 16 straight years, employers still like to see evidence that you have the education and the skills required to perform your job well, and patients like to know that they are being taken care of by qualified professionals. Having a credential also shows your employer that you are passionate enough about your career to learn more and to go beyond nursing school to gain advanced knowledge in order to provide the best care.
Professional Advancement Opportunities – Earning a nursing certification is sometimes a choice, sometimes a requirement if you want a particular job. Many employers today are now requiring nurses to obtain a certification prior to or during their employment, and nurses are expected to maintain their certification throughout their careers. Other times, nurses elect to take a certification in order to not only test their own knowledge, but to gain career (and financial) advancement opportunities that might not be available without certain credentials and the knowledge and skills that come with them.
Keeps You Up-To-Date in Your Field – Regulations are constantly changing, and consequently, so are the expectations of nurses. By maintaining your credential through recertification, you get to review and/or learn the most current knowledge, expectations, and best practices in your field and attest that your expertise is up-to-date.
Leads to Better Patient Care – Since nursing certifications elevate the standard of knowledge and skills in the nursing profession, the more certified nurses we have, the better care we can expect to provide. When you choose to pursue a certification, you open yourself up to seeing your field in new ways and you can spread that knowledge around to other staff. This ultimately achieves better outcomes and quality of care for patients.
“The education and certifications I have received have allowed for me to look through a different lens in how to improve and educate other staff members in providing care to our residents and our elders.” – Caroline E.