There are a myriad of advantages to becoming certified in your nursing career. I am a Certified Occupational Health Nurse Specialist (COHN-S) and find that nursing certification has many rewards! Here are a few reasons to consider:
Benefits your patients. According to the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN), nursing certification has been linked to better patient outcomes. Certification is credited with a reduction in medical errors, among other benefits. If I listed no other reasons to become certified, this one should be enough!
Accomplishment. Becoming certified in your field is both a professional and a personal accomplishment. Most certifications require extensive studying and experience to initially attain the certification. Once earned, you carry with you a keen sense of accomplishment as a certified nurse. You are seen by uncertified peers and management as a level above.
Career advancement. Earning your certification advances your career, and creates opportunities that otherwise may not be available to you. For example, with my COHN-S certification, I am eligible to apply for case management positions. Although I have never done case management, one requirement (just to be considered) is either a Case Management or Occupational Health certification. Nurses certified in specialty areas earn an average of $9,000 more per year than their non-certified peers, not to mention that certification increases confidence and job satisfaction.
Excellence. With current nursing job market challenges, certification places you ahead of the competition when applying in a new organization or for promotional opportunities in your current workplace. Hiring authorities view certifications as a mark of excellence and a sign of commitment to your field. Additionally, hiring personnel understand you have gone the extra mile to earn your certification. Don't believe me?
"Nurse Managers surveyed by the American Board of Nursing Specialties (ABNS) overwhelmingly prefer to hire certified nurses because certification attests to an individual's proven knowledge base and documented experience in a given specialty. In fact, 90% said they clearly prefer to hire certified nurses." - www.medscape.com
Skill and knowledge. Even though you may have practiced in your field for years, there are aspects of your professional area you may not be familiar with. For example, when studying for the COHN-S, I learned all about OSHA chemical reporting programs that I have never worked with. Studying for certification can familiarize you with other paths in your own specialty area that you never knew existed.
Keeping abreast of the latest changes. Nursing certifications require a lot of nursing continuing education.This consistent education validates knowledge on your nursing career, keeps a nurse abreast of the latest changes in his/her field, and enhances patient care.