Knowledge that their nurses have met rigorous national requirements and are role models of professional accountability
Growing evidence links certified nursing practice and positive outcomes
Certification is among the key excellence indicators for programs such as Magnet and Beacon
Why Do Hospitals Support Certification?
As a vital part of AACN, the recognized leader and standard-setter in acute and critical care nursing, the AACN Certification Corporation administers certification programs for nurses to proudly demonstrate the specialized knowledge, skills and abilities necessary for safe and effective acute and critical care nursing practice AACN certification contributes to improved patient health and safety by establishing and promoting high standards of professional practice Why AACN Certification?
AACN Certification For nurses who care directly for acutely or critically ill patients at the bedside For clinical nurse specialists who care for acutely or critically ill patients For nurses who care for acutely and critically ill patients in the progressive care setting For acute care nurse practitioners who care for acutely and critically ill patients For certified nurses who subspecialize in caring for cardiology patients For certified nurses who subspecialize in caring for cardiac surgery patients
AACN Certification Exams The AACN Certification Corporation develops and administers exams for these certifications These exams are legally defensible and psychometrically sound indicators of the knowledge, skills and abilities necessary to practice effectively Exams are open to nurses caring for acutely and critically ill patients who meet the eligibility requirements, including a specified period of clinical practice in the role being tested
The CCRN credential is for RNs working at the bedside of critically ill patients The clinical setting may include ICUs, CCUs, Emergency Departments, Trauma Units, Interventional Radiology /Cardiology Units, or Critical Care Transport/Flight Units There are three separate CCRN exams: adult, neonatal and pediatric
The CCNS certification is for clinical nurse specialists working with acutely and critically ill patients It may be used by nurses in some states to help qualify for advanced practice nursing licensure A candidate must document completion of a graduate advanced practice education program There are three separate CCNS exams: adult, neonatal and pediatric
The PCCN certification is for nurses working at the bedside of acutely ill adult patients in the progressive care setting Progressive care is how AACN collectively describes units such as Intermediate Care, Direct Observation, Step-down, Telemetry, and Transitional Care The PCCN credential is also appropriate for nurses who practice in Cardiac Catheterization Labs
The ACNPC advanced practice certification is for acute care nurse practitioners This certification is currently being approved on a state-by-state basis – check with your state board of nursing to make sure the ACNPC exam certification meets your state's requirements for advanced practice designation or licensure
The Cardiac Medicine subspecialty certification is for nurses who already have a nationally accredited clinical nursing specialty certification such as CCRN, CCNS or PCCN who sub-specialize in caring for cardiology patients The clinical settings may include CCU, Combined ICU/CCU, Medical Cardiology, Heart Failure Clinics/Home Care, Interventional Cardiology, and/or Electrophysiology Units
The Cardiac Surgery subspecialty certification is for nurses who already have a nationally accredited clinical nursing specialty certification such as CCRN, CCNS or PCCN who sub-specialize in caring for cardiac surgery patients within the first 48 hours post-op The clinical settings may include Cardiac Surgery, Cardiothoracic Surgery, Cardiovascular Surgery and Post-Anesthesia Recovery Units
For more information about AACN certification programs, go to www.aacn.org