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Many nurses can get by with writing only the credentials required and recognized for their job. When formality requires you write out all your credentials on certain forms or for a publication, you want to write it correctly.
Types of Credentials Credentials can get complicated, partly because there are six different types of nursing credentials. Degrees such as a bachelor's or master's degree are educational credentials.
Licenses such as a registered nurse or licensed practical nurse are awarded from state boards of nursing and require passing an examination and meeting requirements. State-designated credentials recognize advanced specialties or levels or license and vary by state.
National certification credentials are earned from a national accrediting body. Related or additional credentials outside of nursing can be listed if the holder chooses. Credential Acronyms It is important that credentials be written using the correct acronym.
Always research a credential you're not familiar with to make sure you know the acronym. If the exact name of the degree is unknown, find out before you attempt to write down someone's credentials. The American Psychological Association and the Medical Library Association recommend not using periods when writing acronyms for credentials, such as using RN for registered nurse.
You can find the acronym for most credentials at resourcenurse.
Order of Credentials Write credentials in their order of importance in case some may have to be excluded. There's no firm rule dictating this; however, it's common practice. List degrees before licenses, since degrees are earned and permanent. Licenses must be renewed and could even be revoked.
A registered nurse who has earned a bachelor's degree in nursing would write her credentials as BSN RN. List the highest degree first if you plan to list multiple degrees, and list the most recent certification last if you plan to list multiple certifications.
When to List Just because a credential isn't listed, doesn't mean you don't have the credential. Nurses can choose which credentials they wish to include or list. The only credentials that must be displayed or included are the ones required for the job or required to be displayed by the state.
Credentials are helpful for patients to see, but only if they understand them. A long list of acronyms can cloud a name and might begin to look unprofessional. However, if you're filling out a form, applying for a job or getting your name published, include all your credentials.ABCya!
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