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Exploring the Benefits of Nursing Certifications for Career Growth

Aug 14, 2023

Careers in healthcare can be demanding but usually bring a high degree of fulfillment. Nurses in particular play a key role in treating patients, corresponding with doctors and other clinicians, and staying up to date on proper healthcare practices. They specialize in all kinds of medical fields, from orthopedics and neurology to oncology. For nurses to excel at their jobs, they may choose to continue their education in the form of professional certifications. 

Many different certifications offer licensed nurses ways to enhance specific skills or advance in their careers. Plus, certifications serve not only nurses but also their patients and entire healthcare centers. Nursing certifications can offer an array of benefits, including: 

  • Career and professional development
  • Improved patient outcomes and quality of care 
  • Opportunities for industry recognition
  • Boosted confidence on the job 
  • Increased compensation 

Continue reading to learn about several of these benefits and how they can impact nurses and their patients. 

Career and Professional Development

Certificates are a great way for nurses to specialize in specific medical areas like family medicine or mental health. In addition, certifications in management can open doors for leadership positions with higher earning potential. The specialty knowledge that certified nurses gain can set them apart as experts in their field.

 WGU offers certificates to those looking to elevate their nursing career and demonstrate their expertise. These industry-aligned, post-master’s certificates include the following:

  • Nursing Education. This certificate prepares skilled nurses to teach and train other nurses, nursing students, and entire communities on applying sound nursing principles and working effectively with others in healthcare settings.
  • Family Nurse Practitioner. With this certificate, family nurse practitioners (FNPs) can provide primary care to individuals and families while developing a well-rounded nursing skill set.
  • Nursing Leadership and Management. Many nurses obtain this certificate to access higher-level roles as supervisors and managers. They lead teams of nurses as they seek to improve patient outcomes.
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. Nurses with this certificate can more effectively diagnose patients experiencing mental health issues and offer treatment plans accordingly.

Improved Patient Outcomes and Quality of Care

Acquiring skills through certification can improve patient outcomes and increase patient confidence in their healthcare providers. Certified nurses understand the importance of offering top-quality care to patients to increase their chances of a healthy recovery. A 2021 study by the American Journal of Critical Care keenly observes that certification enhances a nurse’s level of commitment and professional accountability for continuous learning. This dedication to career-long learning benefits both nurse and patient.

Once a nurse gains initial certification, they can continue to foster their commitment to quality care through recertification. This process usually involves meeting certain criteria such as accruing a certain amount of online course credits or attending a certain number of seminars per year. The more effort that nurses put into their own professional development, the more easily their patients may see that effort. These patients can then be confident that their nurses truly care for them and have the most up-to-date knowledge of best practices.

Opportunities for Industry Recognition

Certification programs for nurses can also lead to opportunities for recognition, including Magnet Recognition. Magnet Recognition is an internationally recognized credential awarded by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) to healthcare organizations that demonstrate excellence in nursing and patient care. Entire hospitals, clinics, outpatient centers, and more can benefit from the Magnet Recognition Program.

Other nursing organizations that provide recognition-boosting certification include the American Board of Nursing Specialties (ABNS) and the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN). These organizations provide opportunities for certification in areas like pediatric, neonatal, and gerontological care.

Considering Your Nursing Certification with WGU

Whether you’re still deciding on which healthcare degree to pursue or you’ve already started on a nursing degree, WGU has a variety of resources available to guide you through the next steps of your education. By leveraging these resources or completing an online WGU nursing certification program, you can discover new ways to develop professionally and learn what it takes to be a top-tier nurse.

As you prepare to advance your career, consider taking advantage of WGU’s competency-based learning model. This model lets you progress through your studies as fast as you master the material. You can use your prior knowledge to complete coursework quicker and take tests when you’re ready, potentially saving time and money. Through WGU’s competency-based education, you could reach your dream healthcare job even sooner. Get started today!

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