Nurse Certification is the process, whereby non-governmental agencies validate an individual nurse based on their standards and qualification for practice of nursing in terms of the functionally defined area of nursing. These nursing certifications are created by affiliated or sponsored by professional organizations and trade organizations whose aim is to raise their standards. A Certification once earned via an assessment process, needs renewal periodically (Certification Board for Urologic Nurses & Associates, 2007). The certification credentials that are earned by a nurse are recognized nationally, and a credential is also portable; this implies that it can be accepted in virtually all hospitals.
When nurses choose the clinical specialty, they are certified in that area indicating that they have expertise in the area. The United States Registered Nurses license grants legal authority to an individual to engage in professional nursing whereas certification is voluntary. Certification is obtained via certifying organizations, and it validates skills, knowledge, experience and abilities in areas within the nursing scope. Achieving a nursing certification is vital since nurses propagate professionally, have career satisfaction, increase their competency, enhance their credibility and raise their salary potential. Therefore, nursing certification can be defined as that means that can be used to measure a nurse competency for the promotion of public welfare aimed at improvement in health care quality.
A certification in nursing is vital to the nurse as it helps in protecting the public welfare, meets the needs of employers. In addition, employers will identify only those individuals who have the required knowledge and skills. Nursing certifications is also beneficial to the patients as they are reassured that the professionals have met the required standards. Enrolling for a nursing certification demonstrates an individual commitment to professional training in nursing (Healy & Mourad, 2008).
Nursing certification provides nurses with a sense of pride due to the professional accomplishment. It continues to provide nurses with nursing education to keep nurses abreast with all the changes that are taking place in the field for the enhancement of patients care (Certification Board for Urologic Nurses & Associates, 2007). It is crucial to know that those nurses, who are certified in the United States, earn nine thousand US dollars more than their counterparts that are not certified. Those hospitals that employ more certified nurses, experiences an increased patient and staff satisfaction, morale boost, decrease in work-related accidents, and reduction in errors occurrences. Certification also increases job satisfaction and confidence to the nurses.
According to the survey conducted by the American Board of Nursing Specialties, more than ninety nine percent of Nurse Managers prefer to hire those nurses that are certified in a definite specialty. A certified nurse is always ahead of others in terms of competition when it comes to applying for jobs or promotion opportunities in the workplace (Plantz, 2007).
There are advantages that are associated with nursing certification since nurses are provided with an opportunity to train in a variety of well-paying and highly skilled specialty. The specialty are challenging and also rewarding, but they require a much shorter training time compared to that of the doctors (Catalano, 2008). There are those disadvantages that are associated with nursing and they range from strenuous working hours, including nights, holidays and weekends. Despite nurses being professionals, they are ranked lower compared to doctors.
Although the salary of nurses has continued to increase, their salary is still lower compared to that of the doctors. Nurses are also faced with heavy tasks that even include assisting patients with their bodily functions (Sacks, 2003). Nurses sometimes have to cope with those patients that are unpleasant and sometimes rude to the nurses, and this is emotional burden, whereas being part of the duties of the nurses. A nurse is also at risk of contracting illnesses form the patients such as HIV, Hepatitis and Influenza. Infections can also arise from needles, being sprayed with bodily fluids and bloods from the patients (Plantz, 2007).
Community Health Nursing would be the area of interest where the certifications are renewed after every five years. The renewal applications require to have been submitted at least eight weeks before it expires. A nurse is not eligible to continue with the practice after the expiry unless it is renewed. The credentials are renewed when practice hours and professional development have been attained (Sacks, 2003).
A Registered Nurse-Board Certified credential is awarded after attaining the eligibility requirements, undertaking the specialty certification examination and passing it successfully. For a nurse to undertake the certification exams, it is a requirement that they meet the eligibility criteria, and one is not allowed to undertake the certification examinations unless they meet those requirements. A fee is paid while submitting the application to the American Nurses Credentialing Center which is the responsible agency. Those applications that are received with missing documents delay the review of the application hence result in a delay in taking the certification examination. A Community Health Clinical Nurse Specialist after undertaking the certification exam is awarded a Certification Credential PHCNS-BC (Catalano, 2008).
Community Health Nursing is a program aimed at those nurses who wish to work in the community as a public health nurse. Community Health Nursing has some basic elements which include promotion of healthy living, treating disorders, rehabilitation and prevention of health problems. The roles of a community Health Nurse include: providing care, conducting health education, advocacy on health issues, management at the community level and acting as the leader. Community Health Nurses can work at different settings in the community ranging from schools, homes, residential areas and the community at large (Selekman & Jakubik, 2008). It is necessary to note that Community Health Nursing is not limited to one specified area, but it can be practiced everywhere.