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I want to get certified, what do I do next?

I want to get certified, what do I do next?

By: American Nurses Association

Have you been thinking about getting certified but aren’t sure what to do next? Did you know that certified nurse’s experience certain benefits? They are recognized for demonstrating competency in either a specialty area or as an advanced practice RN (APRN).1,2,3 Studies have also shown that nurses who have achieved certification may impact patient outcomes, including fall rates and infection rates (such as CLABSI).2,3 Many healthcare organizations also value certified nurses because they tend to have higher retention and satisfaction rates.2,3

Luckily ANCC has many resources to help you prepare to get certified. Check out these available resources. When considering whether to get certified, nurses may feel intimidated about having to “take the exam” or may not know where to start. It is important to put a plan in place that meets your needs and schedule. Consider the following options:

  • Choose a resource(s) that matches how you learn best (e.g. practice questions if you want practice on taking the exam; on-line course if you want a comprehensive review)
  • Set goals and timelines so you will be ready for your test
  • Schedule a test date that allows time to prepare for it
  • Talk to colleagues who have the certification for tips

ANCC offers many resources and tools specific to each certification. For example, most ANCC certification exams have the following:

  • Test content outline
  • Test reference list
  • Role delineation study
  • Practice test/questions
  • Review and resource manual
  • Online review course

Also, take a look at the certification tips offered. Among the resources related to each certification available at ANCC, they also offer a Certification Exam Test Taking Strategies Online Course. Start by looking at the ANCC certifications then develop a plan using any and all of the available tools and resources.



  1. American Nurses Credentialing Center [ANCC]. Why ANCC Certification? Retrieved January 28, 2020 from https://www.nursingworld.org/education-events/certified-nurses-day/overview/why-ancc-certification/
  2. Lisa Whitehead et al. “The relationship between specialty nurse certification and patient, nurse and organizational outcomes: A systematic review,” International Journal of Nursing Studies 93 (2019): 1-11.
  3. Paulo Coelho. “Relationship between nurse certification and clinical patient outcomes: A systematic literature review,” Journal of Nursing Care Quality 35, no. 1 (2019): E1-E5.

Categories: Individual Development

Tags: Certification / Cert Prep

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