Nursing credentials and certifications

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Nursing credentials and certifications are the various credentials and certifications that a person must have to practice nursing legally. Nurses' postnominal letters (abbreviations listed after the name) reflect their credentials—that is, their achievements in nursing education, licensure, certification, and fellowship. The letters usually appear in the following order:

  • Highest earned academic degree in or related to nursing (e.g. "DNP")
  • Nursing licensure (e.g. "RN")
  • Nursing certification (e.g. "CCRN")
  • Nursing fellowship (e.g. "FAAN")

Generally credentials are listed from most to least permanent. A degree, once earned, cannot, in normal circumstances, be taken away. State licensure is only revoked for serious professional misconduct. Certifications generally must be periodically renewed by examination or the completion of a prescribed number of continuing education units (CEUs). This is often called maintenance of certification (MOC).

Nurses may also hold non-nursing credentials including academic degrees. These are usually omitted unless they are related to the nurse's job. For instance, those with master's degrees usually do not list their bachelor's degrees (only the highest earned degree), and a staff nurse would likely not list an MBA, but a nurse manager might choose to do so.

Some nurses who achieve a master's degree (MSN) leave the patient care aspect of nursing, and practice in a more managerial role. An example would be earning an MSN in health care risk management. Such a nurse, while still fully an accredited nurse, will likely become the risk manager for a hospital, working in health administration rather than direct care and perhaps even becoming the director or manager of the risk management department. In this role, he or she may never see another patient except while doing hospital inspections, or perhaps talking to a patient or the patient's family about a quality of care concern. In this role, the nurse becomes something similar to an auditor and a teacher of patient care quality and risk for the entire hospital staff. This nurse likely will also get the certification listed below: CPHQ: Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality.

Nursing credentials are separated from the person's name (and from each other) with commas. There are usually no periods within the credentials (e.g. "BSN" not "B.S.N.").

Nursing certifications[edit]

In the United States and Canada, many nurses who choose a specialty become certified in that area, signifying that they possess expert knowledge. There are over 200 nursing specialties and subspecialties. Studies from the Institute of Medicine have demonstrated that specialty-certified nurses have higher rates of patient satisfaction, as well as lower rates of work-related errors in patient care.

Registered nurses (RNs) are not required to be certified in a certain specialty by law. For example, it is not necessary to be a certified medical-surgical registered nurse (CMSRN) (a medical surgical nursing certification) to work on a medical-surgical (med-surg) floor, and most med-surg nurses are not CMSRNs. Certifications do, however, instill professionalism and make the nurse more attractive to prospective and current employers. Certified nurses may earn a salary differential over their non-certified colleagues but this is rare.

Some hospitals and other health care facilities are willing to pay a certified nurse extra when he or she works within their specialty. Also, some hospitals may require certain nurses, such as nursing supervisors or lead nurses, be certified. Certification instills confidence in the nurses. Magnet hospitals advocate certifications.

Alphabetical listing of nursing and related credentials and certifications[edit]

Throughout the list, the following credentialing organizations are mentioned:

A[edit]

B[edit]

C[edit]

  • CANP: Certified Adult Nurse Practitioner
  • CAPA: Certified Ambulatory Perianesthesia nurse
  • CARN: Certified Addictions Registered Nurse
  • CATN-I: Course in Advanced Trauma Nursing -Instructor (not intended for postnominal use)
  • CATN-P: Course in Advanced Trauma Nursing -Provider (not intended for postnominal use)
  • CBCN: Certified Breast Care Nurse
  • CBN: Certified Bariatric Nurse
  • CCCN: Certified Continence Care Nurse
  • CCDS: Certified Clinical Documentation Specialist
  • CCM: Certified Case Manager
  • CCNS: Acute Care Clinical Nurse Specialist
  • CCRN: Certification in Acute/Critical Care Nursing [1]
  • CCTC: Certified Clinical Transplant Coordinator
  • CCTN: Certified Clinical Transplant Nurse
  • CDDN: Certified Developmental Disabilities Nurse
  • CDE: Certified Diabetes Educator
  • CDMS: Certified Disability Management Specialist
  • CDN: Certified Dialysis Nurse
  • CDONA/LTC: Certified Director of Nursing Administration/Long Term Care
  • C-EFM: Certified in Electronic Fetal Monitoring
  • CEN: Certified Emergency Nurse
  • CENP: Certified Executive in Nursing Practice
  • CETN: Certified Enterostomal Therapy Nurse
  • CFCN: Certified Foot Care Nurse
  • CFN: Certified Forensic Nurse
  • CFNP: Certified Family Nurse Practitioner
  • CFRN: Certified Flight Registered Nurse
  • CGN: Certified Gastroenterology Nurse
  • CGRN: Certified Gastroenterology Registered Nurse
  • CHES: Certified Health Education Specialist
  • CHN: Certified Hemodialysis Nurse
  • CHPLN: Certified Hospice and Palliative Licensed Nurse [2]
  • CHPN: Certified Hospice and Palliative Nurse [3]
  • CHPNA: Certified Hospice and Palliative Nursing Assistant [4]
  • CHPPN: Certified Hospice and Palliative Pediatric Nurse [5]
  • CHRN: Certified Hyperbaric Registered Nurse
  • CHSE: Certified Healthcare Simulation Educator
  • CHSE-A: Certified Healthcare Simulation Educator-Advanced
  • CHSOS: Certified Healthcare Simulation Operations Specialist
  • CIC: Certified in Infection Control
  • CLC: Certified Lactation Counselor
  • CLNC: Certified Legal Nurse Consultant
  • CM: Certified Midwife
  • CMA: Certified Medical Assistant
  • CMAS: Certified Medical Audit Specialist
  • CMC: Cardiac Medicine Certification
  • CMCN: Certified Managed Care Nurse[6]
  • CMDSC: Certified MDS Coordinator
  • CMSRN: Certified Medical—Surgical Registered Nurse
  • CNA: Certified Nursing Assistant
  • CNCC(C): Certified Nurse in Critical Care (Canada)
  • CNE: Certified Nursing Educator
  • CNE: Chief Nurse Executive
  • CNL: Clinical Nurse Leader
  • CNLCP: Certified Nurse Life Care Planner
  • CNM: Certified Nurse Midwife
  • CNML: Certified Nurse Manager and Leader
  • CNN: Certified in Nephrology Nursing
  • CNO: Chief Nursing Officer
  • CNOR: Certified Nurse, Operating Room
  • CNP: Certified Nurse Practitioner
  • C-NPT: Certified in Neonatal Pediatric Transport
  • CNRN: Certified Neuroscience Registered Nurse
  • CNS: Clinical Nurse Specialist
  • CNSN: Certified Nutrition Support Nurse
  • COCN: Certified Ostomy Care Nurse
  • COHC: Certified Occupational Hearing Conservationist
  • COHN: Certified Occupational Health Nurse
  • COHN/CM: Certified Occupational Health Nurse/Case Manager
  • COHN-S: Certified Occupational Health Nurse—Specialist
  • COHN-S/CM: Certified Occupational Health Nurse—Specialist/Case Manager
  • CORLN: Certified Otorhinolaryngology Nurse
  • CPAN: Certified Post Anesthesia Nurse
  • CPDN: Certified Peritoneal Dialysis Nurse
  • CPEN: Certified Pediatric Emergency Nurse
  • CPHON: Certified Pediatric Hematology Oncology Nurse
  • CPHQ: Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality
  • CPLC: Certified in Perinatal Loss Care [7]
  • CPN: Certified Pediatric Nurse or Community Psychiatric Nurse (United Kingdom)
  • CPNA: Certified Pediatric Nurse Associate
  • CPNL: Certified Practical Nurse, Long-term care
  • CPNP: Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
  • CPON: Certified Pediatric Oncology Nurse
  • CPSN: Certified Plastic Surgical Nurse
  • CRN: Certified Radiologic Nurse
  • CRNA: Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist
  • CRNFA: Certified Registered Nurse First Assistant
  • CRNI: Certified Registered Nurse Intravenous
  • CRNL: Certified Registered Nurse, Long-term care
  • CRNO: Certified Registered Nurse in Ophthalmology
  • CRNP: Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner
  • CRRN: Certified Rehabilitation Registered Nurse
  • CRRN-A: Certified Rehabilitation Registered Nurse—Advanced
  • CS: Clinical Specialist
  • CSC: Cardiac Surgery Certification
  • CSHA: Certified Specialist in Hospital Accreditation
  • C-SPI: Certified Specialist in Poison Information
  • CT: Certified in Thanatology (dying, death and bereavement)
  • CTN: Certified Transcultural Nurse
  • CTRN: Certified Transport Registered Nurse
  • CTRS: Certified Therapeutic Recreational Specialist
  • CUA: Certified Urologic Associate
  • CUCNS: Certified Urologic Clinical Nurse Specialist
  • CUNP: Certified Urologic Nurse Practitioner
  • CURN: Certified Urologic Registered Nurse
  • CVN: Certified Vascular Nurse
  • CVRN-BC: Cardiovascular Nurse-Board Certified.
  • CWCN: Certified Wound Care Nurse
  • CWOCN: Certified Wound, Ostomy, Continence Nurse
  • CWS: Certified Wound Specialist

D[edit]

E[edit]

  • ECRN: Emergency Communications Registered Nurse (not intended for postnominal use)
  • EdD: Doctor of Education
  • EN: Enrolled Nurse
  • ENC(C): Emergency Nurse Certified (Canada)
  • ENP-BC: Emergency Nurse Practitioner-Board Certified (certified by ANCC)
  • ENP-C: Emergency Nurse Practitioner- Certified (certified by AANP)
  • ENPC: Emergency Nursing Pediatric Course (not intended for postnominal use)
  • ENPC-I: Emergency Nursing Pediatric Course Instructor (not intended for postnominal use)
  • ENPC-P: Emergency Nursing Pediatric Course Provider (not intended for postnominal use)
  • ET: Enterostomal Therapist

F[edit]

G[edit]

  • GN: Graduate Nurse (awaiting RN licensure)
  • GNP: Gerontological Nurse Practitioner
  • GPN: General Pediatric Nurse
  • GPN: Graduate Practical Nurse
  • GRN: Graduate Registered Nurse

H[edit]

  • HACP: Hospital Accreditation Certified Professional
  • HNC: Holistic Nurse, Certified

I[edit]

L[edit]

M[edit]

N[edit]

  • NC-BC: Nurse Coach Board Certified
  • NCMP: Certified Menopause Practitioner
  • NCSN: National Certified School Nurse
  • NE-BC: Nurse Executive-Board Certified
  • NEA-BC: Nurse Executive Advanced-Board Certified
  • NNP-BC: Neonatal Nurse Practitioner
  • NPC: Nurse Practitioner, Certified
  • NPP: Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric
  • NRP: Neonatal Resuscitation Program (not intended for postnominal use)
  • NVRN: Neurovascular Registered Nurse
  • NZCFN: New Zealand Certified Flight Nurse

O[edit]

P[edit]

R[edit]

S[edit]

  • SANE: Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner
  • SANE-A: Certified Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner-Adult/Adolescent
  • SANE-P: Certified Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner-Pediatric
  • SCRN: Stroke Certified Registered Nurse
  • SEN: State Enrolled Nurse
  • SHN: Sexual and Reproductive Health endorsed RN—Queensland Australia
  • SN: Student Nurse (RN preparation)
  • SNSC: School Nurse Services Credential (California CTC)
  • SPN: Student Nurse (LPN preparation)
  • SRNA: Student Registered Nurse Anesthetist(CRNA preparation)
  • SVN: Student Nurse (LVN preparation)

T[edit]

  • TCRN: Trauma Certified Registered Nurse
  • TNCC: Trauma Nursing Core Course (not intended for postnominal use)
  • TNCC-I: Trauma Nursing Core Course Instructor (not intended for postnominal use)
  • TNCC-P: Trauma Nursing Core Course Provider (not intended for postnominal use)
  • TNP: Telephone Nursing Practitioner
  • TNS: Trauma Nurse Specialist

W[edit]

References[edit]