Have you considered certifying in the correctional nursing specialty? Most established specialties have a certification process. Correctional nursing has several options for your consideration. Is certification for you? According to the American Nurses Association, certification validates nursing skills, knowledge, and abilities. In addition, they contend that certification contributes to better patient outcomes. Certified nurses are role models of professional accountability. Certification empowers nurses and validates their understanding of the unique nature of their specialty. It can lead to increased self-esteem, job satisfaction and respect. Certified nurses distinguish themselves through a commitment to lifelong learning and career advancement, according to the American Association of Critical Care Nurses.
In Chapter 3: Legal Considerations in Correctional Nursing of the Essentials of Correctional Nursing, Jacqueline Moore, PhD, RN, CCHP-A, CCHP-RN suggests that another benefit of certification may be decreased liability. Since certification is fairly new in correctional nursing, the jury is still out on that aspect.
Certification is not only important for the individual nurse, it is also important to the correctional nursing profession. The development of specialty certification for correctional nursing is an important milestone. It helps to legitimize the specialty of correctional nursing and validates that professionals possess a unique body of knowledge and skills. It inspires other correctional nurses to seek certification and stimulates interest in correctional nursing research. Correctional nursing certification is another action toward enhancing and fostering professionalism in this specialty.
There are two main certifications available to correctional nurses. The National Commission on Correctional Health Care (NCCHC) awards the CCHP-RN (Certified Correctional Health Professional – Registered Nurse) to registered nurses working in the correctional setting. The American Correctional Association offers two certifications: CCN (Certified Corrections Nurse) is a generalist certification and CCN/M (Certified Corrections Nurse/Manager) is a manager certification. Certification requirements and exam content areas are listed below.
CCN-Licensed RN, LPN, LVN; One (1) year work experience in correctional nursing in present position
CCN/M – Registered Nurse (RN) in good standing with State Nursing Board; Associate, Bachelor of Science, Master of Science in Nursing, or a three (3) year Nursing Diploma; One (1) year of Correctional Nursing Management experience; individual supervises other medical personnel and administrative staff
CCHP-RN – Current CCHP certification; Current, active RN license within a U.S. state or territory or the professional, legally recognized equivalent in another country, not restricted to corrections only; Equivalent of 2 years full-time practice as a registered nurse (2,000 hours of practice in a correctional setting within the last 3 years); 54 hours of continuing education in nursing, with 18 specific to correctional health care, within the last 3 years
Certification Exam Content Areas
CCN & CCN/M
|Health care in corrections||Clinical management of patients|
|Legal issues in corrections||Promotion of a safe & secure health care environment|
|Mental health||Health promotion & maintenance|
|Nursing practice & standards||Professional role & responsibilities|
|Managing security & environment|
|General & offender management|
|Human resource management|
Have you taken one of the certification exams described above? How has it benefited you?
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