The credentialing arm of the American Nurses Association leads the charge to recognize certified nurses in a day of celebration—and reaps the rewards of collaborating with competitors.
We wanted it to be about all nurses. It wasn’t a competitive thing. We weren’t trying to edge out anybody. We were actually trying to make sure that everyone could participate.
Employers, certification boards, education facilities, and healthcare providers joined together Tuesday to celebrate Certified Nurses Day, recognizing registered nurses who’ve taken the extra step to become certified in a specialty.
It’s a program of the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), a subsidiary of the American Nurses Association. “The day really does a lot to raise the visibility of certification in the field,” said Karen Drenkard, Ph.D., executive director of ANCC. “We have over a quarter of a million nurses that hold our certifications alone, and we thought it would be a really cool idea to recognize all these certified nurses.”
ANCC opened the program to other certification bodies as well, including those that could be considered competitors.
“We wanted it to be about all nurses,” Drenkard said. “It wasn’t a competitive thing. We weren’t trying to edge out anybody. We were actually trying to make sure that everyone could participate.”
After designing the marketing materials, logos, and recognition gifts for Certified Nurses Day, ANCC made everything available online for free, asking only that organizations pay shipping and handling.
“We’ve been surprised at how quickly this grew,” said Drenkard. “I think it’s great when I receive a trade publication and see one of our competitors sponsoring an ad for the day. Even when you’re in competition, you could still benefit by collaborating, and that was rewarding to see.”
Aside from recognizing individual nurses, Certified Nurses Day emphasizes the importance of the credentials themselves, Drenkard said.
“For a clinical nurse to have specialty information in those areas is really important for patient care—it’s really about the patient,” she said. “As a patient, if you recognize that you have a certified nurse, then you know that they have the body of knowledge that will be beneficial for you.”
ANCC wasn’t sure what would come of the program when it started five years ago, but the work has paid off, Drenkard said.
“We stepped out front and said, ‘OK, we’re going to run through this, test this out, and see what happens, and it turned out to be very successful,” she said. “I think it’s successful not because it’s good for ANCC, but because it’s good for the nurses themselves, and that’s really what we’re about.”