Taking the time and energy to pursue further education, even after you have become a Registered Nurse, will payoff when current or potential employers view you as more valuable than you already were. When your patients find out you have a specialty certification, they will feel more comfortable having you provide their care and their families will have peace knowing that their loved ones are receiving supreme care.  It doesn’t matter if you work in a hospital or an alternative setting, or if you are full time or as needed. A specialty certification can only take you to the next tier of success in your career.

There are many fields that a nurse can work in as a specialty nurse. Nurses have a lot of choices in where they seek certification today. The shift in the definition of healthcare has opened a sea of doors. The days of hospitals and nursing homes being the only place healthcare is administered have gone. Administrators have discovered that patients respond to care in their own home and other alternative settings and these options are more cost-effective as well. Nurses can ask themselves where they prefer to provide care at this point in the evolution of medical care.

1. Neonatal Resuscitation (NRP) Nursing Certification –

The NRP certification has a focus on resuscitating newborn babies, usually premature infants. One may automatically assume that this certification is used in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), but that is not the limitation. An NRP certification can be used in the delivery room, in the NICU, babies sent home who need acute care need nurses that will know how to resuscitate them in the home if the unfortunate need arises. NRP classes normally last just one day. An exam and practicals are given at the end of the class. The certification is valid for two years before needing a renewal. The NRP course can be taken locally or online and the pricing ranges from $80 to $280.

2. Management of Assaultive Behavior (MAB) Nursing Certification-

The MAB certification can be used for all types of nurses in a variance of settings. It doesn’t matter if the setting is hospital-based, in-home, or in the multitudes of varying facilities that exist (such as nursing homes and correction centers).  Aggressive behavior can occur in patients due to many different medical conditions. Managing a combative patient is actually part of a typical day for many nurses working in the healthcare field. Nurses that have the MAB certification under their belt can effectively and calmly practice deescalation techniques when a patient is having a violent moment and thus keep staff and patients safe in whatever healthcare environment they might be in. The volatility of some situations may not be caused by the patient, it may be a family member or other individuals. The MAB course teaches nurses how to rationally handle crises caused by a person’s behavior by giving them a toolkit to pull from when talking down a potentially aggressive individual.

3. Wound Care (VWCN) Nursing Certification-

The core of wound care is expertise. In the acute and chronic portion of your training you will learn about the unique challenges faced by wound care professionals in the post-acute arena. The standards of care that are expected are also a part of this training. Participants will also be taught to comprehend the physiological fundamentals of the body’s healing capabilities from wounds thus paving the foundation for treatment and management.  This training will provide healthcare professionals with a plethora of wound healing solutions for their patients. Wound care certification participants will gain knowledge in the treatment of vascular ulcers, geriatric skin conditions, nutrition plans that will promote healing, support services, atypical wounds, infection control, and more.

4. Advanced Oncology Certified Nurse (AOCN) Nursing Certification-

This certification is invaluable to the Hospice nurse traveling from home to home or working in a Hospice care center. Nurses must have worked 1000 hours in the last 30 months and have ten hours of continuing education credits in oncology before the exam can be taken. There is a high demand for nurses with the AOCN certification. Before pursuing the certification you have to know the eight categories of oncology knowledge. If you are already working in oncology and want to advance your career a certification is a great step toward that goal.

5. Acute/Critical Care Nursing (CCRN)-

If you are a nurse who wants to give care to adult patients who are acutely or critically ill you should research the benefits of a CCRN certification. This certification training prepares professionals for work in ICU, CCU, and in critical care transport. There are two-year and five-year certification options for registered nurses in the United States. The American Association of Critical Nurses  can provide information regarding both options and the prerequisite requirements for both.

Five certifications have been listed, but there are many more certifications you can research if none of these are certifications you wish to obtain for your own credentials. Do not make quick decisions. Narrow your possibilities down to at least three. Make a list of the pros and cons of each training program and the attached reward of the certification. Make a list for each prospective certification as to how much of a pay grade change you will get post-certification. Investigate if there are other opportunities of employment with each one. You may find that your professional career could go a drastically different direction with your new knowledge added to your toolkit.

It’s important to take the time in your process of investigation and not make rash decisions. The only question you can answer quickly with no turning back is whether or not seeking further education will excel you in the medical arena. The adamantly affirmative answer there is YES!  Going forward, utilize the pen to paper method so you can visibly look at which certification is the best for you and what you want for you future as the outstanding nurse that you are! Make a vision board and decide what you want for your career and personal life and when you want it. Visualizing your desires is a huge motivational force! Go for it and get it!

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