Some of them have certifications you can obtain by completing some additional requirements. National professional organizations representing these specialties confer the certification. After completing the requirements and paying the fee you will be awarded the right to wear additional initials after your name and RN initials on your badge. Some nurses start to look a bit over the top when they acquire multiple certifications and insist on putting all of them behind their name on their work name tag. It may require an add on name badge to fit them on. Pick your favorite and the one that represents where you are currently working…..so co-workers will still invite you for lunch and not make fun of you.
Most areas of specialty do not require certifications to work there but, many are starting to require them after so many months or years of working the specialty unit. In a tight economy with plentiful nurses they may opt to require certification. Having the certification may give you a leg up when applying to work in the area of your chosen specialty.
Requirements vary for each area to receive your designation. Some require so many months or years of working the area, along with passing a test. Many have online courses you can take to prepare you to pass the test; others may have weekend conferences you can attend.
The designation does show you have knowledge and expertise in the area. Some employers may give you a bonus if you earn one. Some may give you an increase in pay. And you just may want to get one to make all your co-workers jealous with all those initials after your name….just for fun!
A certificate is different; some may have more meaning than others. It may mean nothing more than you attended an in-service of some type or class. Others may be a weekend long class with an exam involved. Some certificates may be needed to work in specialty areas or work at the facility. A current CPR certificate will be needed for all nurses, and possibly for nursing school before admittance. Your employer or school may offer this type of certificate classes as part of in-service or orientation. Other certificates you may see needed: ACLS (advanced cardiac life support) a 1-2 day class to learn about meds and other areas to go along with your CPR. Or the pediatric version of ACLS may be needed to work in pediatrics or Emergency Room: PALS (pediatric advanced life support). Some may argue that the certificates just listed are really certification/the term is seen as interchangeable in many instances: but you would be made fun of if you listed CPR behind your name and RN.
Nursing school is so packed with content that it is virtually impossible to fit any additional training into it…….so we have certifications and certificates.
Here is a list of some of the certifications offered and what the initials stand for, there are literally hundreds of these certifications. This is good news: more areas to work in and move around in as you desire with special certification to demonstrate your expertise.
This is not a complete list! But it gives you an idea of what is available and more ideas for where you might want to work. And you now know what all those initials mean.
AOCN: advanced oncology certified nurse
APN: advanced practice nurse
CAPA: certified ambulatory perianesthesia nurse
CARN: certified addictions registered nurse
CBN: certified bariatric nurse
CCCN :certified continence care nurse
CCM: certified case manager
CCNS: certified critical care nurse
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
CEN: certified emergency nurse
CETN: certified enerostomal therapy nurse
CFCN: certified foot care nurse
CFN: certified forensic nurse
CFRN: certified flight registered nurse
CHES: certified health education specialist
CGN: certified gastroenterology nurse
CHN: certified hemodyalisis nurse
CHPN: certified hospice and palliative nurse
CHRN: certified hyperbaric registered nurse
CIC: certified infection control
CMSRN: certified medical surgical registered nurse
CLNC: certified legal nurse consultant
CM: certified midwife
CNE: certified nurse educator (I have this one)
CNLCP: certified nurse life care planner
CNN: certified in nephrology nursing
CNOR: certified nurse, operating room
CNRN: certified neuroscience registered nurse
CNSN: certified nutrition support nurse
COCN: certified ostomy care nurse
COHN: certified occupational health nurse
CORLN: certified otorhinolaryngology nurse
CPAN: certified post anesthesia nurse
CPDN: certified peritoneal dialysis nurse
CPEN: certified pediatric emergency nurse
CPSN: certified plastic surgical nurse
CRN: certified radiologic nurse
CRNA: certified registered nurse anesthetist
CRNI: certified registered nurse intravenous
CSC: cardiac surgery certification
CTN: certified transcultural nurse
CTRS: certified therapeutic recreational specialist
CVN: certified vascular nurse
CWCN: certified wound care nurse
NCSN: national certification school nurse
RNC-OB: registered nurse certified in maternal newborn nursing
RNC-NIC: registered nurse certified in neonatal intensive care
SANE-A: sexual assault nurse examiner-adult/adolescent
TNS: trauma nurse specialist