Nancy Nurse, RN, BSN, MBA, CNN, AORN, CRNA, CFNA, ARNP?
Nurses can have more letters, commas and symbols than will fit neatly on a hospital name badge.
This confusion of alphabetical add-ons of our many nursing degrees and certifications makes little sense to patients and persons outside of the medical profession.
Employers are mostly the ones that benefit from this alpha-jargon. Letters are intended to indicate a level of competence in the medical world. Additional nursing credentials can help to ensure we possess a specific type of training in a certain area of healthcare.
Men and women of letters
For example, a Registered Nurse who has a Bachelor of Science in Nursing with a Certification in Nephrology Nursing (RN, BSN, CNN) is specifically credentialed to care for patients with ailments of the kidneys or undergoing dialysis.
These types of “letterings” are reassuring to an employer simply because it conveys a nurse has a level of education and nursing exposure (not necessarily experience) directed at caring for the dynamic needs of renal patients.
A Licensed Practical Nurse with a certification in Intravenous Therapy (LPN-IV) helps to ensure competence in caring for patients requiring the administration of intravenous medications.
How about becoming an RN, MBA, CNOR, CRNFA? This is a Registered Nurse, with a Master of Business Administration degree, Certified Nurse Operation Room, Certified Nurse First Assistant. A nurse with this type of credentialing indicates an expert level of surgical proficiency. This nurse will assist the surgical procedure as closely as another surgeon might. The business degree indicates preparation to lead and manage a facility, department or business unit.
Credentialing a path to better pay
There are more nurse letter combinations than you can imagine. Almost every nursing specialty has a certification process in order to achieve and demonstrate proficiency in our crafts.
In our profession, many nurses are “topped out” on the salary scale. Often we are considered frozen assets, making the same base pay yearly, despite many years of service and experience.
Obtaining additional credentialing is a way to create flexibility among pay scales and to allow for more nursing career mobility. Let us not be fooled into thinking that a few hours or a couple of online classes is all it takes to enhance our skills.
It can take years to master the skills and many years of education to reach these difficult levels of nursing proficiency. Enhancing our career path is time consuming and can be costly. It is only after much hard work and sacrifice will you be able to tack on these much coveted nursing letters.
Ask any nurse and they will tell you that achieving these extra letters of nursing degrees and certifications is not as easy as making alphabet soup.