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Career Designations for Nursing Professionals

A career designation is an additional credential that can be earned in addition to the standard nursing degree. Once completing these programs successfully, list the designation on your resume and LinkedIn profile for hiring managers and recruiters to notice your level of expertise. Here are some of the certifications available for nursing professionals:

Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN)

Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) is a registered nurse who has completed advanced education and clinical training in a specialized area of nursing. APRNs are also known as nurse practitioners or advanced practice nurses.

Requirements for Becoming an APRN: To become an APRN, you must complete a graduate-level program with course work in the following subject areas:

  • Adult health
  • Family health
  • Pediatric health (also known as pediatric subspecialties)

Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM)

A Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) provides primary care for women, infants, and families throughout the lifespan. CNMs are registered nurses who have specialized education and training in midwifery. They are considered primary care providers, as they attend births at home or in a hospital setting as well as provide gynecologic and newborn health visits. CNMs can also serve as educators to other nurses by teaching them about the specific needs of pregnant women and newborns.

Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)

A Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) is a registered nurse (RN) who has advanced education and training in the areas of patient care, nursing research, teaching and administration. These professionals work as a bridge between patient care and nursing education. They are the primary source of education for nurses and other healthcare professionals, helping to develop and implement clinical practice guidelines. 

Critical Care Registered Nurse (CCRN)

Critical Care Registered Nurse (CCRN) have a minimum of a baccalaureate degree, and must complete a critical care orientation program before certification. The CCRN certification exam consists of 200 multiple-choice questions, taken over a period of three hours. Examinees must pass with no more than 5 wrong answers to receive certification. In addition to the exam, candidates must complete at least 100 hours of critical care experience under the supervision of an experienced nurse within six months prior to taking their final examination. After becoming certified, CCRNs are required to be recertified every two years by completing 30 continuing education credits (CE) and passing another computerized test on theory and clinical skills.

Oncology Certified Nurse (OCN)

The Oncology Certified Nurse (OCN) is a certification for expertise on how to care for patients with cancer. Requires at least 2 years experience as an RN within the 4 years of applying for the certification and at least 2000 hours of adult oncology clinical RN experience. Required successful completion of an exam. 

Certified Pediatric Hematology Oncology Nurse (CPHON)

Certified Pediatric Hematology Oncology Nurse (CPHON) are nurses who specialize in the treatment of children with blood disorders and cancers. They work with doctors, other health care professionals, and families to provide care for children who have blood and marrow disorders and cancers.

CPHONs assess patients’ conditions by performing physical examinations, drawing blood samples, administering medications under physician orders, interpreting test results, communicating with physicians regarding patient status, providing information about treatment options to parents/guardians/legal representatives; administering medications according to physician orders.

Blood & Marrow Transplant Certified Nurse (BMTCN)

The Blood & Marrow Transplant Certified Nurse (BMTCN) certification is a designation offered by the American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation (ASBMT). It’s available to registered nurses who specialize in the care of patients with blood and marrow disorders. To earn this certification, candidates must pass an exam that covers topics like:

  • Pharmacology
  • Laboratory testing
  • Allogeneic stem cell transplantation
  • Autologous stem cell transplantation

Advanced Oncology Certified Nurse Practitioner (AOCNP)

Advanced Oncology Certified Nurse Practitioner (AOCNP) is a registered nurse who has a master’s degree in nursing and additional training in the field of oncology. AOCNP’s focus is on diagnosis and treatment of cancer patients and they are trained to develop a treatment plan for each patient.

Their job duties may include:

  • Monitoring the health status of patients with malignant or benign tumors, such as breast cancer, lymphoma or leukemia.
  • Performing procedures that involve inserting needles into specific areas of the body to remove fluid for examination by microscope under magnification (cytology) or to relieve swelling (lumbar puncture).

Advanced Oncology Clinical Nurse Specialist (AOCNS)

Advanced Oncology Clinical Nurse Specialist (AOCNS) is a specialty certification that nurses can earn after they have completed their master’s degree in nursing. To become an AOCNS, you must be certified as a registered nurse and work as an RN for two years before taking the three-part exam that certifies you as such. Once you’ve earned this certification, you will be able to provide care for people with cancer at any stage of their disease. As an AOCNS, you will also have advanced knowledge about the physical and emotional challenges facing those battling cancer—knowledge that noncertified nurses don’t have access to.

Certified Pediatric Oncology Nurse (CPON)

Certified Pediatric Oncology Nurse (CPON) designation have specialized training in the care of children with cancer and are nurses who have worked in pediatric oncology for at least two years. Requires an exam that focuses on care principles and practice standards related to childhood cancers.

Certified Breast Care Nurse (CBCN)

Certified Breast Care Nurse (CBCN) is a certification for nurses who specialize in breast health. Nursing professionals with this designation have completed additional coursework and passed the exam to earn this designation. While there are many benefits to becoming a Certified Breast Care Nurse, it is important that you only pursue this designation if you plan on specializing in breast care nursing. You should also consider your current job situation before deciding whether or not pursuing the CBCN will be worth your time and effort.

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA): A CRNA is a registered nurse with an advanced practice certification in anesthesia. These nurses administer anesthesia to patients, as well as manage the effects of anesthesia and monitor patient responses during and after surgery. They are responsible for administering sedatives, muscle relaxants, analgesics (painkillers), and other medications.

Nursing is a very rewarding career in which you can make a difference. It is also an excellent choice if you want to work with people and help improve their lives. The nursing profession offers many different career opportunities, including traditional clinical positions in hospitals or private practices, as well as non-clinical positions such as nurse educator or consultant. 

If you need any assistance with navigating your career, contact us for a customized approach to your needs. 

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