Today we recognize and honor certified nurses, crucial members of healthcare teams everywhere. March 19, Certified Nurses Day, celebrates the educational and professional accomplishments of nurses who have earned certifications in their specialties. These dedicated nurses contribute to patient care and wellness in many ways, and their certification shows their advanced knowledge and skills.
Certified nurses are recognized on March 19, the birthday of the Margretta “Gretta” Madden Styles. Styles is a nurse leader and education who developed and implemented standards for nursing credentials and helped to create the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). In many ways she is responsible for the high standards in the nursing profession today.
Nurses interact with patients in multiple ways, and often they are the first healthcare practitioner a patient sees. They take care of our wounds, administer our meds, assist in surgeries, and educate us about medical conditions in hospitals, clinics, and doctors’ offices. Their impact on patient outcomes increases when nurses are certified in specialties ranging from pediatrics to gerontology, along with a multitude of medical conditions.
The demand for nurses is increasing in the United States. The Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook says that the job growth outlook for 2016 – 2026 is 15 percent which is much higher than average for other occupations. Georgetown Center of Education and the Workforce projects that by 2020 there will be a shortage of about 200,000 nursing professionals. 2020 is just two years away, not sometime far off in the future.
This current need for certified nurses is greater now than previously and it will keep growing. The Labor 2030 report from Bain & Company projects that the demand for healthcare in the US in 2025 will be approximately double the demand in 2015.There are several reasons for this growing need for nurses, including increased emphasis on preventative care, an increased need for healthcare services from the aging baby boomer population, and retirements of nursing professionals.
The aging baby boomer population is creating increased demand for healthcare of all kinds. People are living longer and are living more active lifestyles. Baby boomers as well as the general population need preventive care and medical education. Health concerns increase as people age. According to the National Council on Aging about 80 percent of older adults have at least one chronic condition and 68 percent have two chronic conditions. And the general population isn’t all that is aging. Nursing professionals are also getting older. Over a million baby boomer nurses will be retiring over the next two decades, creating a need for new nursing professionals.
Nurses who earn certification in their field are those who will lead the profession and be key to filling the demand for healthcare. The ANCC says that among the benefits of ANCC certification is validation of nursing knowledge and enhanced credibility. ANCC-certified nurses meet strong professional development requirements. Their certification indicates clinical competence and is linked to fewer medical errors, increased job satisfaction and confidence.
Earning certification in a specialized area opens up employment opportunities and higher wages for nurses. AANC certification is also a way for nurses to be mobile in their careers. All state boards of nursing and the US military accept ANCC certifications.
The importance of advanced education is evident when medical employers offer tuition assistance to their nursing professionals to increase certifications and advance their skills. Nursing professionals with advanced skills will be able to deliver enhanced healthcare using new technologies, to the benefit of all patients. Higher education and earning certifications also help ensure the safety of patients. AANC states,” ANCC certification shows that you have made continuing professional development a priority and an integral part of maintaining your ongoing competence to practice—providing evidence to the public and the profession of the strength of your nursing abilities.”
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