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Your first year as a registered nurse is challenging. This podcast is hosted by Kati Kleber, BSN RN CCRN and Elizabeth Mills, BSN RN CCRN and features experienced nurses from FreshRN.com, who discuss the basics of that first year. From nursing orientation, code blues, tricks of the trade, and personal experiences, to time management, delegation, patient deaths, and more.

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Download the Season 3, Episode 002 show notes or view them below

Nursing Certifications: The What, Why, and When Show Notes

Nursing Certifications: The What, Why, and When

In this episode, we interview Karen Kesten, DNP APRN CCRN-K CCNS CNE who is currently the chair of the certification board of directors for the American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN).  We talk about nursing certifications and why they are important to our profession, plus how to become certified.

Certification

  • A way to meet national standards in a specialty area
    • OB, mental health, med-surg, critical care, progressive care, dialysis, cardiac, etc. are just some examples
  • Essentially, you demonstrate that you meet this standard by practicing for a certain amount of hours (typically around 2 years full time at the bedside) and passing a rigorous exam
  • Long-term goal
  • Example:  CCRN (certified critical care nurse)
  • The Why? The Benefits of Nursing Certification
  • It feels amazing to pass the exam
    • All three FreshRN Podcast hosts are certified, nurses
  • Whenever you pass, you get to add letters behind your name
    • Kati Kleber, BSN RN CCRN
    • Melissa Stafford, BSN RN CCRN SCRN
    • Elizabeth Mills, BSN RN CCRN
  • Take a prep course
    • Check with the organization who gives the exam
      • For example, checking if the AACN has a review course for the critical care certification (spoiler alert: they do)
    • Online resources like review books are typically available

      PASS CCRN®!, 5ePASS CCRN®! 5e

Certification exam vs. NCLEX®

  • It’s not computer adaptive (which means giving you a harder question based off of the answer to your previous question)
  • Experience really helps you answer the questions, while NCLEX® is very textbook
  • You typically find out if you pass immediately, versus going
  • You don’t have to go through your State Board of Nursing / Pearson Vue to take it, rather through the accrediting body (like AACN or ACCN)
  • Focuses a lot on the synergy model

Tips

  • See if your hospital/facility offers a review course or resources
  • See if your hospital/facility reimburses for the exam or will increase your pay for having a certification
  • Before you start to study…
    • Take a pre-test – tells you where to focus your time
    • Look at the blueprint for the exam so you know what’s on the exam
  • Question banks + a review course are really helpful

Maintaining your nursing certification

  • Every organization handles this differently, be aware of what’s expected of you before it’s time to renew
  • Typically, you must have a minimum amount of hours and many CEU’s OR you can take the test over again
  • Make sure you’re taking the CEU’s you need in the correct categories to maintain appropriately
  • Keep track of your paper trail of CEU’s

More Resources on Nursing Certifications

 

Certification Review for PeriAnesthesia Nursing, 4eCertification Review for PeriAnesthesia Nursing, 4eUpdates in Primary Nursing Care: Continuing Education Program for NursesUpdates in Primary Nursing Care: Continuing Education Program for NursesCertification and Core Review for Neonatal Intensive Care Nursing, 5eCertification and Core Review for Neonatal Intensive Care Nursing, 5eBasic Critical Care Guidebook: A Training Program for the Development of Critical Care Nurses with 75 Continuing Education Contact Credit HoursBasic Critical Care Guidebook: A Training Program for the Development of Critical Care Nurses with 75 Continuing Education Contact Credit HoursLippincott Certification Review: Medical-Surgical NursingLippincott Certification Review: Medical-Surgical Nursing