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Get Certified: Ready, Set, Go. . .
- A CCRN certification is for the critical care nurse looking to advance their skills, knowledge, and confidence in order to provider, a better, safer, and higher quality of care.
- Better pay, resume booster, respect from colleagues, and bonuses if transferring to another employer or bridging to a higher education goal such as NP, APRN, or CRNA, are just a few of the many benefits to obtaining a CCRN certification.
- CCRN credentialing shines a bright light on nursing reaffirming the dedication and commitment of certified nurses towards their patients and an allegiance to lifelong learning.
RN, MSN, CCRN
Why Become CCRN Certified
There is a plethora of reasons to become certified – some are monetary and career boosting; others are for personal satisfaction and a feeling of accomplishment. For me, the reason to sit nearly twenty years ago for the examination was a combination.
At the time, my employer paid a fair bonus hourly for being certified. Over a 40-hour week and 52 weeks a year, the cumulative effect was substantial.
Today, certification is even more recognized by healthcare employers. Most offer supplementary benefits including better pay, certification reimbursement, leadership opportunities, and more desirable assignments.
CCRN certification is a career booster – it demonstrates a commitment and dedication to the profession.
The test is daunting for sure, intimidating absolutely, and overall nerve-racking, but the satisfaction of achieving this certification is unbelievably rewarding. It is good for the patients, the hospital, and yourself.
The ICU sees the sickest of the sick patients and unlike other units of the hospitals, nurses have a considerable voice in the plan of care. Intensivists value and respect what the bedside critical care nurse suggests. They appreciate the extensive knowledge base and the fact that critical care nurses are bedside 24/7 and therefore see, hear, and feel nuances that others might miss.
The trick to being a great critical care nurse is to prevent the downward trend, the advancement of illness, the “circling of the drain” from happening instead of treating the disease or injury after it has exacerbated.
The AACN consistently updates the test spotlighting state-of-the-art technologies, innovative medications, and ground-breaking procedures. Nurses with CCRN certifications are uniquely positioned to suggest these novel and pioneering treatments at the bedside.
Employers highly value the certified nurse as the literature concludes these nurses practice safer, provide higher quality care, and record exceptional patient outcomes.
Healthcare has become an ever increasingly competitive field. Hospitals amass awards and designations to attract patients to their facility. Beacon Award for Excellence and Magnet Recognition are two such designations and a qualifier are percentage of staff certified; therefore, hospital administrations seek these nurses out and encourage those in house to secure certification.
Finally, a CCRN certification is good for the individual nurse. Better pay, resume booster, respect from colleagues, and bonuses if transferring to another employer or bridging to a higher education goal such as NP, APRN, or CRNA.
That covers why a CCRN certification is instrumental in the career trajectory of a nurse.
CCRN Certification Requirements
Now let’s look at the requirements to test.
Healthcare continues to increase in complexity and present fresh challenges almost daily and this makes the importance of certification more fundamental to high quality patient care than ever. Realizing board certification through the AACN signals to employers, patients, and the public that you possess the knowledge, skill, and aptitude of the finest nursing has to offer.
The AACN’s certification platforms are accorded by the Accreditation Board for Specialty Nursing Certifications and the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA). Getting started requires one to possess an unencumbered nursing license which is not currently being investigated for formal disciplinary action in the state of practice.
The license cannot be hampered by stipulations such as supervision, medication administration restraints, or practice area limitations.
The candidate for initial CCRN application has the choice to choose between two options.
First, the two-year option necessitates that the candidate has practiced a minimum of 1750 hours in direct care as an RN or an APRN of the acute, critically ill patient and half of those hours must be in the preceding year.
The candidate can opt for the five-year option by verifying 2000 hours in direct care as an RN or an APRN of the acute, critically ill patient and 144 of those hours must be in the preceding year. These practice hours must be logged in a United States or a Canadian based healthcare facility or in a facility deemed comparable to a United States acute, critical care nursing practice.
In the case of managers, educators, and preceptors, the hours can be registered if providing supervision for nurses or students. These hours must be verifiable by a clinical supervisor or director.
CCRN Certification Exam
The application/test fee $365.00, however members of the AACN are discounted to $250.00. The annual membership to being an AACN member is $78.00. The membership includes unlimited continuing education opportunities, clinical resources, scholarships, online journal access, and online peer support. Should a retest be necessary, the fee is $280.00 for a non-member and $175.00 for an AACN member.
Application can be submitted digitally online or traditionally on paper. Either way, it is imperative that applicants have their state nursing license number, expiration date, use their full legal name, and supply the contact information of the colleague that can verify hour requirements have been met.
Once the application is processed, a confirmation email is sent, and the test can be scheduled. After the test is scheduled, the applicant would normally have 90 days to complete the exam, however due to current conditions, that window has been extended to 180 days.
The test can be taken at a testing center or via a live remote proctor through a home computer. Results are immediately available, and an email confirmation is sent within 24 hours. The detailed wall certificate arrives within the month.
The Bottom Line
Nurses have long been hailed as the most ethical and trusted profession, procuring, and sustaining the CCRN certification reasserts the public’s faith in nursing. CCRN credentialing shines a bright light on nursing reaffirming the dedication and commitment of certified nurses towards their patients and an allegiance to lifelong learning.
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