Sometimes new nurses ask me when is the best time in one’s nursing career to pursue certification. Can a new graduate nurse take the CCRN or PCCN examination or is it better to wait several years? This is a personal decision and the timing may be different for everyone, but minimum criteria are laid out in the exam handbooks. For many certifications (ie, CCRN, PCCN, CSC, CMC), the nurse must have at least 1750 hours in practice as a registered nurse or advanced practice registered nurse providing direct care to the pertinent patient population (please refer to the exam handbook for details).1 A nurse working 36 hours per week would accrue those hours in 48.6 weeks, so I usually advise nurses that they need about a year of experience. For new graduate nurses or nurses new to the specialty, the first year is usually filled with the challenge of...
The Right Time for Certification
Sara Knippa, ms, rn, accns-ag, ccrn, pccn, is the column’s content expert. Sara is a clinical nurse specialist for critical care at UCHealth, Aurora, Colorado. She welcomes feedback from readers and practice questions from potential contributors at email@example.com. Sara wrote the introduction and the PCCN review questions.
Marci Ebberts, msn, aprn, fnp-c, ccrn-k, is a clinical education specialist at Saint Luke’s Health System and a practicing occupational health nurse practitioner. Kristin and Marci wrote the CCRN review questions.
Sara Knippa, Kristin Sollars, Marci Ebberts; The Right Time for Certification. Crit Care Nurse 1 June 2023; 43 (3): 59–63. doi: https://doi.org/10.4037/ccn2023837
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