Certified Nurses Day Date in the current year: March 19, 2024

Certified Nurses Day Certified Nurses Day, sometimes referred to as National Certified Nurses Day, is celebrated across the United States on March 19. This professional observance was created to recognize nurses who have chosen to enhance their professional knowledge and skills through certification.

Nursing is an essential profession within the healthcare sector. To work as a nurse in the United States, one must graduate from a recognized hospital-based nursing school a diploma or obtain a college degree (AS, BS or MS) in nursing, and then pass the NCLEX-RN exam to obtain a license and become a registered nurse (RN).

Nursing licensure is a requirement for all practicing nurses, whereas nursing certification is not. In other words, registered nurses are not required to have a certain specialty. However, many registered nurses do choose a specialty and become certified in it because it enhances their professional knowledge and skills and makes them more attractive to employees. Some hospitals and other healthcare facilities pay certified nurses extra when they work within their specialties.

To get certified, nurses obtain specialized knowledge, skills, and experience that help them improve patient outcomes. Certification is the formal recognition of their excellence in patient care in a particular specialty; it proves that a nurse has taken extra steps in their education to improve their competence and expertise in their chosen nursing field.

There are more 200 nursing specialties and subspecialties that a nurse can get certified in, ranging from emergency nursing to pediatric hematology/oncology. Multiple professional organizations in the United States offer accredited nursing certification programs in these specialties. Some, like the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), offer certifications for various specialties, while others focus on a specific nursing field.

It should be noted that, unlike degrees and licensure, certifications are not permanent. They need to be renewed ever few years, typically from two to five, either by passing a re-certification exam or completing a certain number of continuing education units (CEUs) and engaging in certain professional activities in the chosen area of nursing.

Certified Nurses Day has been observed annually since 2008. Its creation was a joint initiative of the ANCC and the American Nurse Association (ANN). The date of the holiday, March 19, was chosen to commemorate the birthday of Dr. Margretta “Gretta” Madden Styles, an American nurse, educator and author who was instrumental in establishing national standards for certifying nurses in various medical specialties.

Certified Nurses Day was created to recognize nurses who contribute to better patient outcomes by earning and maintaining the highest credentials in their specialty. It is celebrated by certified nurses, their employers, education facilities, certification boards, and other stakeholders across the United States. To get involved with the observance, give a shout-out to the certified nurses in your life and spread the word on social media with the hashtag #CertifiedNursesDay.

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