Nursing Certifications


Many nurses in the United States and Canada who choose a specialty, become certified in that area.  This signifies that they possess expert knowledge.

Studies have demonstrated that specialty certified nurses have higher rates of patient satisfaction, as well as lower rates of work related errors in patient care. 

Registered nurses (RNs) are not required to be certified in a certain specialty by law. For example, it is not necessary to be a Certified Medical Surgical Registered Nurse (CMSRN) to work on a surgical floor, and most nurses serving in this capacity are not CMSRNs.

However, certifications do instill professionalism and make the nurse more attractive to prospective and current employers. Certified nurses also sometimes earn a salary differential over their noncertified colleagues.

Some hospitals and other health care facilities are willing to pay a certified nurse extra when he or she works within their specialty. Hospitals may require certain nurses, such as nursing supervisors or lead nurses, to be certified.


Specific Nursing Certifications


AAS - Associate of Applied Science

AAN - Associate of Arts in Nursing

ACLS - Advanced Cardiac Life Support

ACNP-BC - Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Board Certified

ACNPC - Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Certification

ACRN - AIDS Certified Registered Nurse

ADLS - Advanced Disaster Life Support

ADN - Associate Degree in Nursing

ALNC - Advanced Legal Nurse Consultant

ANP-BC - Adult Nurse Practitioner Board Certified

AOCN - Advanced Oncology Certified Nurse

AOCNP - Advanced Oncology Certified Nurse Practitioner

AOCNS - Advanced Oncology Certified Clinical Nurse Specialist

APHN-BC - Advanced Public Health Nurse Board Certified

APN - Advanced Practice Nurse

ARNP - Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner

ASN - Associate of Science in Nursing


BLS - Basic Life Support

BDLS - Basic Disaster Life Support

BM - Bachelor of Midwifery

BN - Bachelor of Nursing

BHSc Nsg - Bachelor Health Science - Nursing Qualification for RNs in Australia

BSN - Bachelor of Science in Nursing


CANP - Certified Adult Nurse Practitioner

CATN -P Course in Advanced Trauma Nursing -Provider

CATN -I Course in Advanced Trauma Nursing -Instructor

CAPA - Certified Ambulatory Perianesthesia Nurse

CARN - Certified Addictions Registered Nurse

CBN - Certified Bariatric Nurse

CCCN - Certified Continence Care Nurse

CCM - Certified Case Manager

CCNS - Certified Clinical Nurse Specialist

CCRN - Certified Critical Care Nurse

CCTC - Certified Clinical Transplant Coordinator

CCTN - Certified Clinical Transplant Nurse

CTRN - Certified Critical Care Transportation Nurse

CDDN - Certified Developmental Disabilities Nurse

CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator

CDMS - Certified Disability Management Specialist

CDN - Certified Dialysis Nurse

CDONA/LTC - Certified Director of Nursing Administration/Long Term Care

C-EFM - Certified in Electronic Fetal Monitoring‎‎

CEN - Certified Emergency Nurse

CETN - Certified Enterostomal Therapy Nurse

CFCN - Certified Foot Care Nurse

CFN - Certified Forensic Nurse

CFNP - Certified Family Nurse Practitioner

CFRN - Certified Flight Registered Nurse

CHES - Certified Health Education Specialist

CGN - Certified Gastroenterology Nurse

CGRN - Certified Gastroenterology Registered Nurse

CHN - Certified Hemodyalisis Nurse

CHPN - Certified Hospice and Palliative Nurse

CHRN - Certified Hyperbaric Registered Nurse

CIC - Certified in Infection Control

CLNC - Certified Legal Nurse Consultant

CMA- Certified Medical Assistant

CM - Certified Midwife

CMC - Cardiac Medicine Certification

CMCN - Certified Managed Care Nurse

CMDSC - Certified MDS Coordinator

CMSRN - Certified Medical—Surgical Registered Nurse

CNA - Certified in Nursing Administration

CNE - Certified Nurse Educator

CNL - Clinical Nurse Leader

CNLCP - Certified Nurse Life Care Planner

CNM - Certified Nurse Midwife

CNML - Certified Nurse Manager and Leader

CNN - Certified in Nephrology Nursing

CNOR - Certified Nurse, Operating Room

CNO - Chief Nursing Officer

CNP - Certified Nurse Practitioner

C-NPT - Certified in Neonatal Pediatric Transport

CNRN - Certified Neuroscience Registered Nurse

CNS - Clinical Nurse Specialist

CNSN - Certified Nutrition Support Nurse

COCN - Certified Ostomy Care Nurse

COHN - Certified Occupational Health Nurse

COHN/CM - Certified Occupational Health Nurse/Case Manager

COHN-S - Certified Occupational Health Nurse—Specialist

COHN-S/CM - Certified Occupational Health Nurse—Specialist/Case Manager

CORLN - Certified Otorhinolaryngology Nurse

CPAN - Certified Post Anesthesia Nurse

CPDN - Certified Peritoneal Dialysis Nurse

CPEN - Certified Pediatric Emergency Nurse

CPHQ - Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality

CPN - Certified Pediatric Nurse

CPNA - Certified Pediatric Nurse Associate

CPNL - Certified Practical Nurse, Long-term care

CPNP - Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

CPON - Certified Pediatric Oncology Nurse

CPSN - Certified Plastic Surgical Nurse

CRN - Certified Radiologic Nurse

CRNA - Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist

CRNFA - Certified Registered Nurse First Assistant

CRNI - Certified Registered Nurse Intravenous

CRNL - Certified Registered Nurse, Long-term care

CRNO - Certified Registered Nurse in Ophthalmology

CRNP - Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner

CRRN - Certified Rehabilitation Registered Nurse

CRRN-A - Certified Rehabilitation Registered Nurse—Advanced

CS - Clinical Specialist

CSC - Cardiac Surgery Certification

C-SPI - Certified Specialist in Poison Information

CT - Certified in Thanatology

CTN - Certified Transcultural Nurse

CTRN - Certified Transport Registered Nurse

CTRS- Certified Therapeutic Recreational Specialist

CUA - Certified Urologic Associate

CUCNS - Certified Urologic Clinical Nurse Specialist

CUNP - Certified Urologic Nurse Practitioner

CURN - Certified Urologic Registered Nurse

CVN - Certified Vascular Nurse

CWCN - Certified Wound Care Nurse

CWOCN - Certified Wound, Ostomy, Continence Nurse

CWS - Certified Wound Specialist


DN - Doctor of Nursing

DNP - Doctor of Nursing Practice

DrNP - Doctor of Nursing Practice

DNS - Doctor of Nursing Science (also seen as DNSc)


EdD - Doctor of Education

EN - Enrolled Nurse

ENPC - Emergency Nursing Pediatric Course

ET - Enterostomal Therapist


FAAN - Fellow, American Academy of Nursing

FAAPM - Fellow, American Academy of Pain Management

FAEN - Fellow, Academy of Emergency Nursing

FNC - Family Nurse Clinician

FNP - Family Nurse Practitioner

FPNP - Family Planning Nurse Practitioner

FRCN - Fellow, Royal College of Nursing

FRCNA - Fellow, Royal College of Nursing, Australia


GN - Graduate Nurse

GNP - Gerontological Nurse Practitioner

GPN - General Pediatric Nurse

GPN - Graduate Practical Nurse

GRN - Graduate Registered Nurse


HNC - Holistic Nurse Certified


IBQH - International Board for Quality in Healthcare

IBCLC - International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant

ICC - Intensive Care Certification

INC - Intensive Neonatal Care certification

IPN - Immunisation Program Nurse - Queensland Australia specialist qualification / endorsement


LCCE - Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator

LNC - Legal Nurse Consultant

LNCC - Legal Nurse Consultant, Certified

LPN - Licensed Practical Nurse

LSN - Licensed School Nurse

LTC - Long Term Care

LVN - Licensed Vocational Nurse


MA - Master of Arts

MAN - Master of Arts in Nursing

MICT - Master of Information and Communication Technology

ME - Menopause Educator

MEmerg Nsg - Masters Degree in Emergency Nursing Australia

MHN - Mental Health Nurse - Registered Nurse Endorsed to practice Advanced nursing in Mental Health

MICN - Mobile Intensive Care Nurse

MN - Master of Nursing

MPH - Master of Public Health

MS - Master of Science

MSN - Master of Science in Nursing


NCSN - National Certified School Nurse

NE-BC - Nurse Executive-Board Certified

NEA-BC - Nurse Executive Advanced Board Certified

NNP-BC - Neonatal Nurse Practitioner

NPC - Nurse Practitioner Certified

NPP - Nurse Practitioner Psychiatric

NZCFN - New Zealand Certified Flight Nurse


OCN - Oncology Certified Nurse

ONC - Orthopaedic Nurse Certified


PALS - Pediatric Advanced Life Support

PCCN - Progressive Care Certified Nurse

PCNS- Pediatric Clinical Nurse Specialist

PhD - Doctor of Philosophy

PHN - Public Health Nurse

PHRN - Pre-Hospital Registered Nurse

PMHCNS-BC - Psychiatric Mental Health Clinical Nurse Specialist

PMHNP-BC - Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

PNP-BC - Pediatric Nurse Practitioner


RN - Registered nurse

RIN - Rural and Isolated Practice Registered Nurses (RIPRN)

RN-BC - Registered Nurse, Board Certified

RN,C - Registered Nurse, Certified: American Academy Certified Nurse

RNC-LRN - Registered Nurse Certified in Low Risk Neonatal Nursing

RNC-MNN - Registered Nurse Certified in Maternal Newborn Nursing

RNC-NIC - Registered Nurse Certified in Neonatal Intensive Care

RNC-OB - Registered Nurse Certified in Inpatient Obstetrics

RNCS - Registered Nurse Clinical Specialist

RNCS - Registered Nurse Certified Specialist

RNFA - Registered Nurse First Assistant

RPN - Registered Practical Nurse


SANE-A - Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (Adult/Adolescent)

SANE-P - Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Pediatric

SEN - State Enrolled Nurse

SHN - Sexual and Reproductive Health endorsed RN - Queensland Australia

SN - Student Nurse (RN preparation)

SPN - Student Nurse (LPN preparation)

SRNA - Student Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA preparation)

SVN - Student Nurse (LVN preparation)


TNCC-I - Trauma Nursing Core Course Instructor

TNCC-P - Trauma Nursing Core Course Provider

TNP - Telephone Nursing Practitioner

TNS - Trauma Nurse Specialist


WHNP-BC - Women's Health Care Nurse Practitioner

WCC - Wound Care Certified