Certification: Just Do It!

This year AMSN is celebrating its 30th anniversary. It is exciting to think of everything AMSN has accomplished in the past 30 years and to look ahead to the future of medical-surgical nursing. On a personal note, it is astounding to me that I have been a part of AMSN for half of those 30 years. That is nearly as long as I have been married! My relationship with AMSN started when I became certified and has continued to support my personal and professional growth for most of my nursing career

I recently renewed my CMSRN certification which means I have been a certified medical-surgical nurse for the last 15 years. I decided to become certified about 5 years into my nursing career.  During that time, I had worked on a medical-surgical unit as well as in the perioperative setting. It did not take me long to realize, I found much more fulfillment working on a med-surg unit and soon embraced it as a specialty. I found a certification review course and attended it over a few weeks’ time while I studied for the exam. I remember taking the exam on a Saturday in October. I found the test to be challenging, but I was confident that I had passed. Although it was a challenging exam, it was easier than the NCLEX since I had nursing knowledge and experience to pull from compared to nursing school where much of what I had learned was from books and simulation rather than actual nursing practice. I found out a few days later that I had passed the exam, and I was excited to add CMSRN to my signature. 

Becoming a CMSRN solidified my relationship with AMSN. I felt more connected to the organization and enjoyed access to so many continuing education offerings, ensuring I had all the CEs I needed when it came time to renew my certification. Plus, I really liked being a part of an organization of colleagues who had similar experiences—I had found my people! Besides solidifying my relationship with AMSN, becoming certified set me apart from my peers. I was now considered an expert in my chosen specialty and sought out to serve on committees as a voice for medical-surgical nurses. Throughout my career, my CMSRN certification has provided validity in my practice and allowed me to lead as an expert in this specialty. 

I am proud to be an AMSN member and to be a certified medical-surgical nurse. I do not plan to let this certification expire as I can take it with me no matter where I end up practicing as a nurse. Plus, AMSN and the Medical-Surgical Nursing Certification Board (MSNCB) make it really easy to track CEs and renew when the time comes. When you are preparing to take the exam, the website provides many resources to help you study including an online practice exam. Additionally, if your employer is part of the FailSafe program, you can access exam payment assistance and retake the exam if you are not successful the first time. Check out amsn.org for certification resources as well as other professional growth opportunities.

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