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Seven reasons why oncology nurses should get certified

For oncology nurses, specialty certification has become the gold standard. The Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation awards the following certifications: Oncology Certified Nurse (OCN), Certified Pediatric Oncology Nurse (CPON), Advanced Oncology Certified Nurse Practitioner (AOCNP), and Advanced Oncology Certified Clinical Nurse Specialist (AOCNS). Although eligibility criteria vary with the specific certification, all candidates must pass a certification test.
Here are seven reasons why oncology nurses should get certified. 
1   The process of getting certified can make you a better nurse. Many oncology nurses focus intensely on a single area, such as head and neck radiation oncology or stem-cell transplantation. Preparing for the certification test broadens your general oncology knowledge so you can more confidently and effectively address the complex needs of cancer patients throughout the course of their illness.
2   Oncology patients expect their nurses to be highly knowledgeable. With their lives at stake, they’re extremely motivated to learn everything they can about their disease and its treatment. They expect the same level of commitment from healthcare providers—along with expertise and competence. Being certified says you have the expertise they expect.
3   Public awareness of nursing certifications has grown over the last decade.  Today, Americans may be even more aware of nursing certifications than they are of physician or teacher certifications. In 1999, the American Nurses Association found that just one in three persons knew about nursing specialty certifications. By 2002, a survey by the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses discovered that 8 of 10 people were aware that nurses could be certified in specialty areas.
4   Getting certified can bring financial rewards—an increased hourly rates, an annual bonus, or an advanced rating on a nursing clinical ladder. Plus many healthcare employers pay all or part of the certification test fee.
5   Oncology nursing certification benefits healthcare organizations. Those that hire and retain high percentages of certified oncology nurses can use this information to improve their credibility in the competitive oncology care market or when seeking Magnet® status or endorsement by The Joint Commission or Association of Community Cancer Centers.
6   Getting certified can broaden your career options. For some nursing jobs, certification is a requirement.
7   Being certified brings professional recognition and a sense of satisfaction. And statistics show that satisfied nurses are much more likely to stay in their jobs—and much less likely to be searching continually for that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

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