With the many opportunities available in nursing, certification can give you an edge in achieving a variety of career goals. Here are ideas on how to showcase your certification.
Make your credentials work for you
- Include your credentials on your name badge, if permitted.
- Wear a credential pin.
- Display your certificate in your unit or office.
- Suggest your employer display a plaque with the names of certified nurses (ONCC offers a free recognition plaque to patient care settings where a majority of nurses are ONCC-certified).
- Include your credential every time you sign your name in a professional capacity and print your credential on your business card, resume, and other professional materials.
Capitalize on opportunities for professional development
- Develop a brief explanation of certification for patients and families. Share it with your facility and encourage other certified nurses to use it when introducing themselves to patients and families.
- Volunteer to develop or revise nursing care guidelines or patient education materials.
- Share information you learned while preparing for the certification test, either formally or informally.
- As a certified nurse, your knowledge has been validated so offer to develop or teach in-service programs.
- Volunteer to serve on committees within your institution, or to help establish new committees that may be needed.
- Encourage certification among your peers by arranging a study group or teaching a portion of a review course.
- Volunteer to speak to ONS or APHON chapters, other nursing organizations, or potential test candidates about the value of certification.
- Participate in ONS or APHON chapter activities to meet other certified nurses in your community. Attend the ONCC Recognition Breakfast for Oncology Certified Nurses to make contacts at the national level.
- Pursue leadership positions in professional organizations. Keep your employer informed about your activities and how the skills you develop will benefit your institution.
Enhance Your Career
- Give your employer a copy of your certificate for your personnel file and try to negotiate for support of certification in your benefit package.
- Give your employer’s public relations department the press release announcing your certification. Ask them to send it to local newspapers or send it yourself.
- Tell colleagues in your local Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) or Association of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Nurses (APHON) chapter that you’ve become certified. Many chapters recognize certified nurses in newsletters, on websites, and at chapter meetings.
- Review your personnel file periodically to ensure copies of educational materials you’ve developed are included in your file.
- Document instances when certification has had an impact on the care you’ve provided, a decision you’ve made, or leadership you’ve demonstrated and share it with your employer.
- Create a portfolio of your accomplishments to share with your employer or potential employer.
- Update your resume or curriculum vitae to reflect your certified nurse status.
Taking the time to honor the hard work of your certified nurses will boost morale, enhance job satisfaction, encourage other nurses to become certified and improve the quality of care at your facility by having more knowledgeable nurses. Here are a few ideas for recognizing certified nurses. We invite you to share your celebration ideas on our Facebook page.
Celebrate Certified Nurses Day™, March 19
Endorsed by the American Nurses Association and many other nursing certification organizations, this is a special day of recognition and celebration for certified nurses around the world. March 19 was picked as the day to honor certified nurses since it's the birthday of Margretta "Gretta" Madden Styles, the renowned expert of nurse credentialing.
- Notify the local media that it's Certified Nurses Day and include the names of all certified nurses on your staff.
- Invite certified nurses to a banquet, tea or luncheon held in their honor.
- Reward certified nurses with gift certificates or special bonuses.
- Have special signs made and posted throughout your facility announcing Certified Nurses Day and featuring photos of all of your certified nurses.
- Send letters of appreciation to all of your certified nurses.
- Offer a free meal to all nurses who attend a certification drive lead by certified nurses on your staff.
Offer personal encouragement & recognition
- Encouragement from a supervisor or coworker can be a great motivator to pursue certification so mention the advantages of certification during annual reviews.
- Present certified nurses with a credential pin.
- Send a letter of congratulations from the CEO or other administrator.
- Add certified nurses’ credentials to their name badges and business cards.
Provide financial assistance for nurses to pursue certification
- Offer reimbursement for test fees and expenses.
- Provide paid time off to take the test.
- Pay for a review course.
- Provide a library of study materials.
Reward certified nurses
- Give certified nurses a monetary bonus for attaining or renewing their oncology credential.
- Provide pay differentials for certified nurses.
- Offer shift/day work schedule preferences to certified nurses.
Recognize certified nurses publicly
- Display certified nurses' certificates on the unit.
- Publish the names and photos of certified nurses in your facility newsletter.
- Send press releases to local newspapers.
- Host a special event for certified nurses during Nurse's Week.
- Display the names of certified nurses on a plaque in the unit. (ONCC offers a free recognition plaque to patient care settings where a majority of nurses are ONCC-certified).
- Nominate a certified nurse for an ONCC certified nurse of the year award