When you want your nursing career to expand to the next level, your mind may turn to an advanced degree as the vehicle to get you there; you may already have an Associate’s or a Bachelor’s, and you may just feel like something more needs to be done. As a nurse, you have many choices, and a certification may be the next logical step.
Nursing Certifications Are Legion
There are more nursing certifications than you can possibly imagine; pathways to certification exist in pediatrics, Med/Surg, case management, cardiac, critical care, and other traditional clinical areas.
Alternatively, there are certifications in coaching, various forms of holistic approaches (eg: Yoga Nursing), and other non-traditional pathways to expertise and increased professional credibility.
If you can think of a specialty area of nursing that interest you, there is likely a well-planned course of action that you can embark upon in order to achieve certification from a reputable certifying body.
The Benefits of Certification
As mentioned above, earning a certification can increase your credibility in a certain area of nursing; it can also increase your attractiveness to certain employers for particular types of positions.
Certification can allow you to move up a clinical ladder, earn a higher salary, assume more responsibility, or earn promotions. In terms of management and nursing leadership, certification can keep you up to date on the latest innovations and evidence-based practices, as well as help you to understand the experiences and challenges of the nurses who report to you.
Some nurses feel that certification also gives them a boost of self esteem; while it does indeed demonstrate to others that you take your career seriously, working towards a certification can also give a nurse a powerful and valuable sense of professional and personal achievement. Forward movement in our nursing careers can help us to avoid boredom and burnout, and certification is one way to put some gas in your career engine.
While certification will of course benefit you personally in terms of your career and your level of personal career satisfaction, it also reaches far beyond you. When you earn a certification in critical care, your colleagues benefit because you are bringing that much more to the table as a clinician; you may be more on the cutting edge of evidence-based care, or you may have new techniques and ways of thinking to share.
Meanwhile, patients obviously benefit from your career advancement since those same evidence-based practices and new innovations are utilized in the course of the care you provide. With certified nurses on staff, patients may experience lower rates of falls or infections, or the quality of nurse-physician relationships may improve.
When you earn a certification, the ripple effect of your career development go far beyond personal achievement and expertise
The certification process can be robust, expensive, and time-consuming; choose your path carefully and wisely. Before you pay for a certification, inquire whether your employer will cover the costs; many facilities are thrilled for their nurses and clinicians to advance their expertise.
The certification path is not for everyone, but it may bring you to a new plateau of professionalism and personal accomplishment. A certification may be the shot in the arm that your nursing career needs, and there are a multitude of paths from which to choose.