Nurses share a common goal of giving patients the best care and offering them information that allows them to continue on a path to wellness once they leave the hospital. Where nurses differ, in some cases, are credentials. There are different initials for nurses to use to signify different levels of education and certification, but a common question among those in the profession is how should nurses list nursing credentials after their name? Whether you are a nurse in academia or service, we’ll show you the proper way to list your nursing credentials.
Credentials Communicate Who You Are
A long stream of initials after a nurse’s name may seem intimidating, but it’s actually the best way to let your patients and colleagues know who you are. The preferred order of nurse credentials – for academia or service – is:
- Highest degree earned
- State designations or requirements
- National certification
- Awards and honors
- Other recognitions
This way of listing nursing credentials is preferred as it is the order of permanence. For example, your degree is listed first because only in rare circumstance is it taken away. Your license – a requirement to practice medicine – is next. State and national certifications follow thereafter because those designations can be time limited, meaning you’ll have to perform continued education to keep the certifications. Lastly, you’ll list any voluntary credentials and awards or special honors not required for practice.
When it comes to listing nursing credentials, start with the highest degree and eliminate assumed degrees. For example, for those in the medical field with a PhD, you wouldn’t make mention of your masters, bachelorette, or associates degrees of the same field, as the PhD trumps the others. It is, however, common practice to use the degree initials if the degree is of a different study.
An Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) should follow state and certifying body regulations on how to note your credentials. APRNs can also check with their state board of nursing on how to best represent the designation.
The rules of how to list credentials does not change for academia versus practice. Both fields should list credentials in order of permanence.
Professional Vs. Technical Nursing Credentials
For nurses who have both professional and technical certifications, only use professional certification initials after your name.
Certifications that suggest you have a technical skillset include ACLS, BLS, PALS and others. While you wouldn’t list these initials after your name, it is ok to use them on a résumé or note them on an application.
In learning the best way to list nursing credentials after your name, keep in mind that nursing demands a piece of personal recognition that can’t be noted through a list of letters in a job title. A nurse’s credentials should never be used to shame anyone with fewer certifications or to use as an intimidation tool. There is one goal in nursing, and that is to provide the most adequate, professional healthcare possible while lending yourself to compassion when it’s needed.