Nursing Credentials and Certifications: How to advance your nursing career without going back to school

July 7, 2019

This post is sponsored by Nurse Backpack.
One thing that is highly sought after in the nursing community is the concept of adding more letters to your name. Not only is it incredibly rewarding, but it also sets you apart from your coworkers. For me, obtaining my OCN (Oncology Certified Nurse) was a great way for me to further my knowledge of my perspective field without the commitment of schooling. 

Holding an RN license is what allows me to provide care for patients and is the minimum requirement for professional nurses. Yet, an RN license only signifies that basic entry-level knowledge was obtained. For me specifically as an oncology nurse, nursing school only skimmed the surface of cancer. I knew that I was learning about oncologic emergencies and diseases processes through my job, but I wanted to make sure that I was up to date with my care. Although I had been a nurse for a little over two years, I knew I had a lot to learn about the cancer world. So last year, I set my sights on being able to write my name as Megan, BSN, RN, OCN. 

Being able to claim myself as a certified oncology nurse was and still is one of my greatest achievements. Sure, passing the NCLEX was monumental, but for me this helped my confidence as a nurse and really set myself apart. Studying for my OCN helped me obtain a deeper knowledge and understanding of disease processes, symptom management, and treatment plans.  Furthermore, I know that I am staying up-to-date with the top of the line practices as I am maintaining my certification status. It also is a great reason to stay accountable for your care and attending in-services, lectures/seminars, and conferences.

Certification in professional nursing is different than your degree. A certification is a voluntary act a nurse seeks when they want to obtain further knowledge beyond the entry level and has acquired experience in the respective field.  Certifications are based on current professional practices and endorse the nurse's knowledge and quality of care. Unlike going back to school for a higher degree, certifications can be obtained through an examination and just a few months of studying. Depending on what certification you are trying to obtain, you do have to make sure you qualify for the requirements. 

For example, to obtain your OCN you must meet the following requirements:

  • A current RN license
  • A minimum of 2 years experience within the last 4 years
  • A minimum of 2,000 hours in adult oncology within the last 4 years
  • And completed 10 CEUs in oncology categories 
Credentialling is a great way to improve your nurse careering, but it also is another thing to add to the list of remembering when you need to renew. Lucky for you, I found the perfect app to help manage your credentials, Nurse Backpack. Instead of keeping all my important renewal dates on post-its notes, a folder, and screenshots in my photos, I can easily sort through my RN license, BLS card, my chemotherapy-biotherapy providers card, and my OCN within one app! That is a total game changer. 

The app is completely FREE to use so there is really no reason why you shouldn't download it. You can easily access any of your important credentials at any moment of the day without having to search. Plus, it will remind you when your license is expiring soon!

And if you haven't found a job yet, do not worry, the app also has a great spot for recruiting. Since you input all your important credentials, skillsets, medical records, honors & memberships, Nurse Backpack can help create a simple and clean resume that you can send to recruiters, hospitals, and agencies. How great is that?

Be sure to check out the app here, available for both Android and Apple!

Post a Comment

Leave your comments here. All comments are reviewed and posted within 48 hours.

Latest Instagrams

© Mighty Nurse Megan. Design by FCD.