Nursing certification programs have already established their importance and value among both nurses and the healthcare institutions that employ them. Admittedly, even patients realize the benefits of those. Certification is validated by the nongovernmental agencies regarding particular standards, qualifications, skills, and final assessment in a defined sphere of nursing (AACN par. 2). Certification credentials are accepted nationally and remain valid regardless of the hospital.
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As the study conducted by Niebuhr and Biel showed, out of almost 11,500 respondents, approximately 75 percent were certified nurses, and only the remaining 25 percent identified themselves as noncertified (178). With this in mind, it can be concluded that nursing certification brings many advantages. Indeed, it does. Firstly, those nurses that hold certifications have the extra knowledge and additional experience, which enables them to deal with more channeling work. That, in its turn, brings a commitment to professionalism and a broader range of job offers. Gradually, certification becomes a substantial competitive advantage. Being beneficial by itself, it becomes even more valued given the growing nursing shortage (Niebuhr and Biel 176). Considering this problem, healthcare institutions try to attract and retain certified nurses even more since they have “a proven knowledge base and documented experience in a given specialty” (Niebuhr and Biel 176). With this aim, some centers provide certified nurses with particular “certification fees” (“Certification” 11). The number of such hospitals has increased from 23 percent in 2003 to almost 30 percent in 2004 (“Certification” 11). According to the same report, an average annual salary of a certified nurse that works a full-time job is almost $10,000 higher than the nurses without certificates usually have.
For further analysis, I have chosen the emergency department (ER). Certified emergency room nurses operate in the urgent care facilities, starting with the emergency rooms or ambulances and ending with poison control departments, prisons, and other similar institutions (“Certified Emergency Room Nurse Education Requirements” par. 3). They work directly with doctors and deal with severe illnesses, acute injuries, and various potentially life-threatening medical conditions. Hence, they have to be able to respond to a wide variety of situations, including different traumas and injuries, critical respiratory or cardiovascular issues, etc.
Admittedly, all of this does require additional knowledge and skills. As Stewart says, ER nurses as a part of the emergency staff “carry forth at the front lines” (par. 1). That is why certification in this area is extremely encouraged – nurses can be ready (both professionally and personally) for challenging situations due to certification programs. Surely, the best incentives for nurses to become certified are better job opportunities and recognition. When a certification program is over, nurses can count on higher salaries. According to data provided by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, projected job growth is approximately 19%, and an average annual income for a certified ER nurse can reach the point of $60,000. (“Certified Emergency Room Nurse Education Requirements” par. 2). Additionally, nursing certification practice is encouraged with the help of various programs available online (“Certified Emergency Nurse Certification” par. 8). That is how the program can be studied without even attending classes. However, before taking this opportunity, students are strongly recommended to check the institute’s accreditation and reputation.
There are two primary requirements for nurses to enroll in the ER certification program. The first one is a diploma or a degree, which can be received in three major ways: a 2-year associate’s or a 4-year bachelor’s program and a program in one of the approved schools of nursing. The second requirement is the state nursing license. Additionally, as the Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing advises, nurses should first gain some experience, preferably not less than two years (“Certified Emergency Nurse Certification” par. 5). Courses, which the ER certificate programs contain, cover such topics as the widespread healthcare emergencies, ER injuries and traumas, ER equipment, toxicology, patient assessment, and diagnosis, etc. (“Emergency Room Nurse Certification and Certificate Program Info” par. 2).
Finally, a certified nurse receives real professional recognition. In addition to the high salaries and certification fees that some organizations provide, they are also more likely to participate in professional publishing activities related to their field of study, “including authorship, co-authorship or writing an editorial” activities (“Certification” 11).
Nursing certification programs still have many drawbacks. The strongest of those is the time needed for the program, the preparation for the exam, and the costs that have to be spent. Additionally, in some areas, there is not much difference between certified and uncertified nurses, which results in the lack of recognition and respect from employers and useless spending of money and time. Nevertheless, considering the arguments presented and discussed above, it can be concluded that the ER is not one of those areas. Certified nurses are ready for stressful situations at work and are more experienced, which helps them to deal with severe and even life-threatening health conditions. They are extremely demanded and especially given the present-day problem of the nursing shortage. Additionally, they receive more recognition, higher salaries and can participate in publishing activities. Therefore, certification in the area of ER is worth the efforts, time, and money, and I do consider it for certification in the future.
as little as 3 hours
AACN n.d., What is Nurse Certification? Web. 2015.
“Certification.” AACN News 21.12 (2004): 11. Print.
Certified Emergency Nurse Certification 2014. Web.
Certified Emergency Room Nurse Education Requirements 2015. Web.
Emergency Room Nurse Certification and Certificate Program Info 2015. Web.
Niebuhr, Bonnie and Melissa Biel. “The value of specialty nursing certification.” Nursing Outlook 55.4 (2007): 176–181. Print.
Stewart, Jacqueline 2007, Emergency Nurse Certifications Do Make a Difference. Web. 2015.