Expert Nursing Certifications

What Do All Those Letters Mean?

TASA ID: 16893

What does expert nursing certification mean exactly? Have you ever wondered what those letters following RN stand for? Nursing certification can be defined as, “one of two processes in which a professional organization formally recognizes the competence of a nurse to practice a subspecialty of nursing.” (Mosby’s Medical Dictionary)

As expected, the first way to recognize a nurse is by the initials “R.N.,” or Registered Nurse, meaning the person has graduated from a school of nursing, and has passed the board exam in their state of practice. 

This second recognition demonstrates the continued experience and education of said nurse in the practice area of their choice. There are more certifications available than you would expect, including everything from A-GNP (adult gerontology primary care nurse) to TCRN (trauma care registered nurse). These certifications require a certain number of hours in said specialty, as well as a certification exam.

As nursing progresses, and more technological advances are made, more specialty nursing certifications will be created. Certification will become the standard by which the public can identify a competent nurse in a subspecialty. In my particular realm of perioperative nursing, a certification can indicate someone who is currently working in the operative field with at least two years, and 2400 hours of perioperative nursing, 50% of which are intraoperative hours. The exam has questions on everything from sterilization to the nursing process, to anesthesia and positioning, plus a lot, lot more. Think of an operating room nurse, or “circulator,” as the conductor of an orchestra. We put everything together to run smoothly: helping the anesthesiologist, positioning, prepping, providing items to the sterile field, counting, and of course, documentation of all the above. It is not a simple task, but over time, becomes a well-run machine meshing patient care and physician satisfaction. We are the gate-keepers, so to speak. What happens in the inner working of the operating room is essentially our responsibility, and it is our duty to hold everyone there to the highest standards and practices in order to provide excellent care.  

If you have a case that involves perioperative events, I encourage you to seek out a CNOR, or certified nurse in the operating room to review your case and provide feedback. Events will be either within or outside of said standards, and this is the key to determining the outcome for your client. My credentials - RN, BSN, CNOR, CLNC.  Contact TASA to reach me!

Certification in Nursing. (n.d.) Mosby's Medical Dictionary, 8th edition. (2009). Retrieved July 30 2019 from https://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/certification+in+nursing

TASA Article Disclaimer

This article discusses issues of general interest and does not give any specific legal or business advice pertaining to any specific circumstances.  Before acting upon any of its information, you should obtain appropriate advice from a lawyer or other qualified professional.

This article may not be duplicated, altered, distributed, saved, incorporated into another document or website, or otherwise modified without the permission of TASA and the author (TASA ID#: 16893). Contact marketing@tasanet.com for any questions.

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