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Certified Nurses Day, celebrated annually on March 19, shines a well-deserved spotlight on nurses who have chosen to enhance their professional knowledge through certification. There are over 3.8 million nurses in America today. Not only is it one of the largest professions, but it is also one of the most significant and far-reaching in its impact on society. Did you know there are over 200 nursing specialties and subspecialties? The complexity of the medical field is ever-growing and nurses strive for professional excellence and superior patient care in their desire to become certified in one or more of these areas. Today, let’s thank and recognize the work these men and women have done to obtain their professional certifications.
History of Certified Nurses Day
Certified Nurses Day, created in 2008 by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) in partnership with the American Nurses Association (ANN), acknowledges the milestone of certification for the dedication it represents in professionalism and critical understanding of specialty areas.
March 19 was chosen because it was the birthdate of Dr. Margretta “Gretta” Madden Styles, RN, EdD, FAAN — a pioneer in the area of nursing certification. Dr. Styles began pushing for stricter standards of credentialing to validate expertise in the 1970s. Later, she was instrumental in the foundation of the American Nurses Credentialing Center.
Certified nurses are considered clinical experts who have demonstrated a level of knowledge validated by the credentialing boards. They have committed themselves to life-long learning as they are expected to engage in continuous educational opportunities, maintaining a level of up-to-date knowledge in their area(s) of expertise.
As patients, we can rest assured in knowing they have met these levels of competence. Studies show nurses with certifications provide a higher level of patient satisfaction and patient-centered care with lower incidents of medical error. When surveyed, over 90% of nurses agreed their certifications were important indicators of their level of competence and enhanced their professional credibility. They also overwhelmingly agreed that obtaining specialty certifications was personally gratifying and built their professional confidence.
Certified Nurses Day timeline
Phoebe, referenced by Paul in the Biblical book of Romans, is sent to Rome to serve men and women as a nurse — throughout the next 100 years, many Christian nurses converted people through their love and care.
The founder of modern nursing, Florence Nightingale, is born.
New Zealand passed the Nurses Registration Act in 1901 and Ellen Dougherty is the first nurse in the world to become certified the following year.
The modern concept of travel nursing begins in New Orleans out of the need for hospitals to increase their nursing staffing levels during the annual Mardi Gras festival.
Certified Nurses Day FAQs
What’s the difference between board and specialty certification?
Board certification serves to recognize a nurse at the state level, required for licensure. Specialty certifications indicate additional knowledge, skills, and expertise in a specific area of nursing.
How long does it take to become a registered nurse?
On average, it takes 3–4 years to obtain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN).
What was the theme for Nurses Week 2020?
The theme for National Nurses Week 2020 was ‘Compassion.’
How to Observe Certified Nurses Day
Acknowledge certification efforts
Becoming a licensed nurse and pursuing specialty certifications requires dedication and discipline. The complexity of the medical profession and the knowledge necessary to successfully render care makes nursing certification critical. We all want to be treated by the most well-trained professionals so, today, let’s say thank you to those who have committed to excellence in nursing care through professional certification.
Encourage future nurses
Today, as we learn about the nursing profession and the variety of advanced training and education it offers, let’s encourage students to pursue a fulfilling career in nursing. People looking for a career change could even consider the variety and relative stability of the medical industry. It’s never too late to chart a new course and career path.
Ask nurses for feedback
Today is the ideal day for hospitals, clinics, and other nursing employers to ask their staff for feedback on ways to improve day-to-day operations and patient satisfaction. Nurses are the eyes and ears in the medical sector so who better to ask for this valuable insight? It will be a win-win because employees appreciate being asked and feel heard when they see they’ve been able to affect positive change.
5 Interesting Facts About The Nursing Profession
It is projected that there will be 200,000 new certified nursing positions created every year through 2026.
Not only in hospitals
While 58% of nurses work in medical and surgical hospitals, they are also employed by private medical offices, nursing homes, clinics, the military, schools, and even general businesses.
Show me the money
The nursing profession is one of the highest-paying occupations.
Walking all day
During the average 12-hour shift, nurses will walk 4–5 miles!
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates there is a worldwide shortage of nurses numbering 4.5 million!
WHY WE LOVE CERTIFIED NURSES DAY
Nurses are our heroes
Nursing is one of the most trusted professions. Nurses have an intimate view of our lives as they sometimes provide care in the most difficult of times. In matters of life and death, heroes emerge and nurses definitely stand out as role models and heroes when we think about the times they’ve cared for us and our loved ones. Let’s remind the nurses in our lives that they are our heroes today!
We appreciate the professionalism
The medical field is constantly changing with technology, innovation, and advancements in treatments. Nurses know they must stay on top of these rapidly changing factors through continuing education and recertification. As patients, we can feel more confident and at ease about the care we receive when our nurses have cared enough to obtain certification.
We want nurses to feel the love
Nursing can be a stressful profession, both physically and emotionally. Obtaining or maintaining certifications means more time and effort on top of a demanding nursing schedule. Let’s relieve some of the stress nurses feel through full-on recognition, appreciation, and admiration today.
Certified Nurses Day dates