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Seven Reasons Why Oncology Nurses Should Get Certified
By Frank P Whyte
Last edited: Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Posted: Wednesday, December 26, 2007

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This article is for oncology nurses who are considering certification.

Seven reasons why oncology nurses should get certified

By Frank P.Whyte, OCN, RN

FOR ONCOLOGY NURSES, specialty certification

has become the gold standard. The Oncology

Nursing Certification Corporation awards the

following certifications: Oncology Certified Nurse

(OCN), Certified Pediatric Oncology Nurse (CPON),

Advanced Oncology Certified Nurse Practitioner

(AOCNP), and Advanced Oncology Certified Clinical

Nurse Specialist (AOCNS). Although eligibility

criteria vary with the specific certification, all candidates

must pass a certification test.

Here are seven reasons why oncology nurses should get certified.

1The process of getting certified can make you a

better nurse. Many oncology nurses focus intensely

on a single area, such as head and neck

radiation oncology or stem-cell transplantation.

Preparing for the certification test broadens your

general oncology knowledge so you can more

confidently and effectively address the complex

needs of cancer patients throughout the course of their illness.

2Oncology patients expect their nurses to be highly

knowledgeable. With their lives at stake,

they’re extremely motivated to learn everything they

can about their disease and its treatment. Being certified says you have the expertise they expect.

3Public awareness of nursing certifications has grown over

the last decade. Today, Americans may be even more

aware of nursing certifications than they are of physician or

teacher certifications. In 1999, the American Nurses Association

found that just one in three persons knew about nursing specialty

certifications. By 2002, a survey by the American Association

of Critical-Care Nurses discovered that 8 of 10 people were aware that nurses could be certified in specialty areas.

4Getting certified can bring financial rewards—increased

hourly rates, an annual bonus, or an advanced rating on

a nursing clinical ladder. Plus many healthcare employers pay all or part of the certification test fee.

5Oncology nursing certification benefits healthcare organizations.

Those that hire and retain high percentages

of certified oncology nurses can use this information

to improve their credibility in the competitive oncology

care market or when seeking Magnet® status or endorsement

by The Joint Commission or Association of Community Cancer Centers.

6Getting certified can broaden your career options. For some nursing jobs, certification is a requirement.

7Being certified brings professional recognition and a

sense of satisfaction. And statistics show that satisfied

nurses are much more likely to stay in their jobs—and

much less likely to be searching continually for that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. 

58 American Nurse Today Volume 2, Issue 8


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