Nurse certification is a formal process that tests your clinical knowledge, judgment, and experience in a subject or nursing specialty. Certification is the perfect way to accelerate your nursing career, increase your salary, and boost your confidence. It’s also a great way to attain personal growth as you strive to live your best nurse life.
This post covers the basics of nursing certification and explains why certification is so important for travel RNs and clinicians that want to take the next step in their nursing careers.
The Benefits of Nursing Certification
The world of travel nursing is vast, and there are many excellent job opportunities available across the country. But on a basic level, earning a nursing certification can significantly boost your career. See below for the benefits of nursing certification.
Better Nursing Assignments
Becoming certified means you have validated, specialized skills in your RN specialty. The more skills you have, the more marketable you are as a per diem or travel nurse. Earning nursing certifications will improve your prospects of getting the nursing assignment you want and also make more nursing assignments available to you.
Higher Pay & Career Advancement
Certification also offers the opportunity for upward mobility once you have landed an assignment. The more responsibility you have as a nurse, the more you get paid.
In addition to a higher salary, nursing certifications command recognition and respect within the healthcare world. Your certification proves that you have worked hard to learn a valuable and specialized skill, which makes supervisors and teammates more likely to depend on you and invest in your professional growth.
Aside from the professional benefits, earning a nursing certification also provides the opportunity for personal growth. The confidence boost from achieving a hard-earned goal can make a real difference in how you feel, which leads to better performance at work and better care for your patients.
Basic Certification Requirements for Travel Nursing
Two basic certifications are required to be a travel nurse: Basic Life Support (BLS) and Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS).
However, earning additional nursing certifications will dramatically increase your standing in the job market as well as your earning potential.
Important certifications include Acute/Critical Care Nursing (CCRN), Neonatal Resuscitation (NRP), Basic Life Support (BLS), Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS), AIDS Certified Registered Nurse (ACRN), Certified Pediatric Nurse (CPN), Trauma Nursing Core Course (TNCC) Certification, and many more.
How Do You Know You’re Ready to Become Certified?
Plenty of preparation is required to become certified. Check to see if you meet the eligibility requirements, like meeting the minimum years of experience providing care for a specific patient population.
For example, to become certified as a critical care nurse (CCRN) or progressive care nurse (PCCN), you do not need formal education to apply. But it is helpful to prepare with any available prep courses, study materials and practice tests so you can get ready for certification. If you’re acing the practice exams for the certification you’re trying to earn, that’s a great sign you’re ready!
However, becoming an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) requires additional formal education like master’s or doctoral degree.
For more information on preparing for the certification process, visit the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) website.
Important Nursing Certifications
While there are many different types of nursing certifications, several highly-regarded ones are common and could be a great place to start. See below to learn about a few different important nursing certifications.
Wound Care Certification (WCC)
Wound care nurses provide care for patients dealing with acute and chronic wounds, assisting with the development of their treatment plans and taking measures to prevent infection.
Medical-Surgical Nursing Certification (CMSRN)
On any given shift, a MedSurg nurse could care for a patient suffering from an animal bite, a patient with diabetes, a patient recovering from a transplant, and a patient with asthma. MedSurg nurses also may carry a heavier patient load than other specialties, often handling 5-7 patients at a time. They are trained to recognize and understand a large range of medical conditions.
Learn more about becoming Med-Surg certified at the Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses’ website.
An individual must be a registered nurse (RN) with a current U.S. license, have practiced for at least two years as an RN in a medical-surgical setting, and accrued 2,000 hours of practice within the past three years to be eligible for medical-surgical certification.
Critical Care Certification (CCRN)
A critical care RN provides care for patients with serious or life-threatening injuries and medical problems. Because of the severity of their patients’ conditions, critical care nurses receive very specialized training that allow them to remain alert and perform under intense pressure.
Learn more about Critical Care certification at the American Association of Critical Care Nurses’ (AACN) website.
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