Best of the Blog #2: Correctional Nurse Certification Options

We searched through the stacks of almost 200 blog posts to pull out the most popular ones for this series. If you are new to the Essentials of Correctional Nursing Blog you may have missed some good reads. Enjoy!

This post, written by Lorry Schoenly, originally aired July 19, 2012.

Blank award ribbon rosetteHave 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.

Eligibility Requirements

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

CCHP-RN

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
Conflict management
Human resource management

Have you taken one of the certification exams described above? How has it benefited you?

Photo Credit: © valdis torms – Fotolia.com

2 thoughts on “Best of the Blog #2: Correctional Nurse Certification Options

  1. There is going to be a focus group at the NCCHC conference on this topic and I will use this article. Even though I have been in discussions about the pros and cons of certification. It is a sense of pride that you know about your profession, have a base of knowledge and are held in higher esteem by other professional organizations most of which value certifications.

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