Nursing Certification: Past & Present

Antoinette Falker, DNP, RN, GCNS-BC, CMSRN

National Certified Nurses Day was established in 2006 in honor of Dr. Margretta Madden Styles, EdD, RN, FAAN. She was an American nurse, author, educator, and nursing school dean who transformed the profession of nursing. Dr Styles was instrumental in developing stricter criteria and credentialling standards for nursing. She helped conceive and establish comprehensive standards for the national certifications of nurses. Certified Nurses Day is commemorated annually on her birthday March 19.

Today there are over 55 U.S. based credentialling organizations certifying both registered nurses and advanced practice registered nurses. According to the American Board of Nursing Specialties (2020), there are over one million specialty certified nurses who hold one or more nursing specialty credentials in fields ranging from pediatrics to psychiatric-mental health to medical-surgical nursing.

The Certified Medical-Surgical Registered Nurse (CMSRN®) certification is the largest medical-surgical nursing certification in the world. There are over 38,000 CMSRNs nationally and internationally! CMSRN is the recognized path for medical-surgical nurses to build and demonstrate commitment, confidence, and credibility to their patients and their profession. 

Research indicates certified nurses are intrinsically and extrinsically committed to the professional practice of nursing and improving patient outcomes. 

Research by the American Board of Nursing Specialties (2020) indicates that patients value the healthcare provided by certified specialty nurses. When polled, two-thirds of adults had favorable views of board specialty nurses; thought it was important for all nurses to be required to have a specialty board certification in a relevant field; and also supported hospitals requiring nurses to have a board certification as a requirement of employment. Patients and their families recognize the value and expertise of specialty certified nurses in the provision of their nursing care.

Nursing and healthcare are becoming increasingly complex. Patients are presenting with more chronic illnesses, co-morbidities, and are living longer. We as nurses are challenged to stay current within this rapidly changing landscape of health care. Nurses must endeavor to become lifelong learners to provide the care needed and expected by our patients and their families. Seeking certification in your nursing specialty demonstrates your professional and personal accountability to your patients, profession, and yourself. Studying for certification increases your knowledge, confidence, and professional development. Similarly, certification increases respect and recognition from your peers and other healthcare professionals.

Take the time now to become certified and join over 38,000 Certified Medical-Surgical Registered Nurses (CMSRN) and demonstrate your commitment to yourself, your patients, and the profession of nursing. 

Happy Certified Nurses Day!

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