In the dynamic and ever-evolving field of nursing, professional organizations play a pivotal role in promoting excellence, fostering specialized knowledge, and advancing patient care. These organizations offer certifications that serve as badges of expertise, validating the skills and competencies of nurses across various specialities. With a shared global vision to enhance healthcare quality, these organizations empower nurses to reach new heights in their professional journey.
This article delves into professional nursing organizations and their certification programs, exploring their missions, visions, and functions.
Top 15 Professional Nursing Associations
The ANCC was founded in 1896 and had members across the 50 states of the U.S. They say they are the best voice for professionals in the U.S.
Mission: To promote excellence in nursing and healthcare globally through credentialing programs.
Vision: To be the recognized global leader in nursing credentialing, fostering excellence in patient outcomes and safety.
Function: ANCC offers certifications in various nursing specialties, including psychiatric-mental health, pediatric, gerontological, and more. Their certifications validate nurses’ knowledge and skills in specific areas, and they develop and administer exams for certification. ANCC certifications are widely recognized and signify expertise in a particular nursing specialty.
American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN)
The AACN is an Association of nurses started in 1969.
Mission: To provide educational resources, advocacy, and certification to empower nurses to achieve optimal patient outcomes in critical care.
Vision: To create a healthcare system driven by the needs of patients and their families where acute and critical care nurses make their optimal contribution.
Function: AACN offers specialty certifications such as the Critical Care Registered Nurse (CCRN) and Progressive Care Certified Nurse (PCCN) exams. These certifications validate nurses’ knowledge and skills in critical care nursing. AACN also provides educational resources, conferences, and support for critical care nurses.
Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation (ONCC)
Mission: To promote excellence in patient care and professional practice by validating specialized knowledge in oncology nursing.
Vision: To be the leader in oncology nursing certification, ensuring healthcare professionals are recognized for their specialized knowledge, skill, and expertise in oncology nursing care.
Function: ONCC offers certifications for oncology nurses, including the Certified Pediatric Oncology Nurse (CPON), Certified Breast Care Nurse (CBCN), and various other oncology subspecialties. These certifications acknowledge nurses’ expertise in providing quality care to cancer patients. ONCC also conducts research and provides resources to advance oncology nursing practice.
National Certification Corporation (NCC)
Mission: To promote excellence in reproductive healthcare by providing a national certification program for obstetric, gynecologic, and neonatal nurses and nurse practitioners.
Vision: To be the leader in certification for obstetric, gynecologic, and neonatal healthcare professionals.
Function: NCC offers certifications for nurses and nurse practitioners specializing in obstetrics, gynaecology, and neonatology. These certifications include Neonatal Intensive Care Nursing (RNC-NIC), Inpatient Obstetric Nursing (RNC-OB), and Women’s Health Care Nurse Practitioner (WHNP-BC). NCC also provides continuing education resources and supports research in the field.
American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP)
Mission: To empower all nurse practitioners to advance quality healthcare through practice, education, advocacy, research, and leadership.
Vision: To transform healthcare through a comprehensive understanding of the critical role of nurse practitioners in achieving quality outcomes.
Function: AANP is dedicated to advancing and supporting nurse practitioners (NPs) across all specialties. They offer national certification programs for NPs and advocate for their role in providing accessible and high-quality healthcare services. AANP provides educational resources, conferences, and policy advocacy for nurse practitioners.
American Society of PeriAnesthesia Nurses (ASPAN)
Mission: To support nurses in achieving optimal outcomes for patients undergoing anesthesia or sedation.
Vision: To be the authority on evidence-based perianesthesia nursing practice.
Function: ASPAN provides resources, education, and support for nurses working in perianesthesia care settings. They offer certifications such as the Certified Post Anesthesia Nurse (CPAN) and Certified Ambulatory Perianesthesia Nurse (CAPA). ASPAN also develops standards of practice, guidelines, and research initiatives to enhance perianesthesia nursing care.
American Board of Cardiovascular Medicine (ABCM)
Mission: To promote excellence in cardiovascular care by providing certification programs for healthcare professionals.
Vision: To be the leader in cardiovascular certification, setting the standards for clinical excellence.
Function: ABCM offers certifications for healthcare professionals involved in cardiovascular care, including nurses. Their certifications, such as the Certified Cardiovascular Nurse (CCN) and Certified Cardiac Device Specialist (CCDS), validate expertise in cardiovascular nursing and related fields. ABCM promotes continuous learning, research, and collaboration to improve cardiovascular patient care.
National Board for Certification of Hospice and Palliative Nurses (NBCHPN)
Mission: To promote the value of certification in hospice and palliative nursing and empower nurses to achieve excellence in practice.
Vision: To set the standard for hospice and palliative nursing certification.
Function: NBCHPN offers certifications such as the Certified Hospice and Palliative Nurse (CHPN) and Certified Pediatric Hospice and Palliative Nurse (CHPPN). These certifications validate nurses’ specialized knowledge and skills in providing compassionate care to patients with life-limiting illnesses. NBCHPN provides resources, education, and support for hospice and palliative nurses.
American Association of Neuroscience Nurses (AANN)
Mission: To advance neuroscience nursing practice through excellence in education, research, and professional development.
Vision: To be the leader in neuroscience nursing science, practice, and education.
Function: AANN offers certifications for neuroscience nurses, including the Certified Neuroscience Registered Nurse (CNRN) and Stroke Certified Registered Nurse (SCRN) exams. These certifications recognize nurses’ specialized knowledge in caring for patients with neurological disorders and stroke. AANN provides educational resources, conferences, and networking opportunities for neuroscience nurses.
National Certification Board of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners and Nurses (NCBPNPN)
Mission: To improve the health and well-being of infants, children, and adolescents by providing certification programs for pediatric nurse practitioners and nurses.
Vision: To be the recognized authority in certification for pediatric nurse practitioners and nurses.
Function: NCBPNPN offers certifications for pediatric nurse practitioners and nurses, including the Primary Care Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (CPNP-PC) and Acute Care Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (CPNP-AC) exams. These certifications validate expertise in providing specialized care to pediatric populations. NCBPNPN supports continuing education, research, and advocacy in pediatric nursing.
American Organization for Nursing Leadership (AONL)
Mission: To shape healthcare through innovative and expert nursing leadership.
Vision: To be the indispensable organization for nurse leaders.
Function: AONL focuses on developing and supporting nurse leaders in various healthcare settings. While they do not offer certifications directly, they provide resources, education, networking opportunities, and advocacy for nurse leaders. AONL plays a vital role in promoting effective leadership in nursing and influencing healthcare policy.
American Board for Occupational Health Nurses (ABOHN)
Mission: To establish and promote standards of excellence in occupational health nursing and environmental health nursing through certification.
Vision: To be the recognized occupational and environmental health nursing certification leader.
Function: ABOHN offers certifications such as the Certified Occupational Health Nurse (COHN) and Certified Occupational Health Nurse-Specialist (COHN-S). These certifications validate nurses’ expertise in promoting health and safety in the workplace. ABOHN provides educational resources, certification maintenance programs, and professional development opportunities for occupational health nurses.
American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Board (AANPCB)
Mission: To provide a valid and reliable certification program for nurse practitioners to support their practice and enhance patient care.
Vision: To be the leading certification body for nurse practitioners.
Function: AANPCB offers national certifications for nurse practitioners, including the Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) and Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (AGPCNP). These certifications validate the knowledge and skills required to provide comprehensive healthcare across the lifespan. AANPCB provides certification services, maintains certification standards, and supports ongoing professional development for nurse practitioners.
American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants (AALNC)
Mission: To support the professional practice of legal nurse consulting and promote excellence in the field.
Vision: To be the preeminent organization shaping the future of legal nurse consulting.
Function: AALNC serves as a professional association for legal nurse consultants. While they do not offer certifications directly, they provide educational resources, networking opportunities, and advocacy for legal nurse consultants. AALNC promotes the highest standards of practice, fosters professional growth, and advances the field of legal nurse consulting.
American Board of Nursing Specialties (ABNS)
Mission: To promote the value of speciality nursing certification to the healthcare community and the public.
Vision: To be the recognized authority on specialty nursing certification.
Function: ABNS is a not-for-profit organization representing nursing specialty certification boards. While they do not offer certifications, ABNS collaborates with member organizations to uphold high standards of speciality nursing certification. They advocate for the value and importance of speciality certifications, promote research, and provide resources for speciality nurses and certification boards.
These professional nursing organizations play significant roles in advancing nursing practice, promoting excellence in patient care, and providing support and resources for nurses in their respective specialities. Through certification programs, educational resources, research initiatives, and advocacy efforts, these organizations contribute to the growth and development of the nursing profession.