15 Nurse Certification Options To Consider (With Benefits)

Updated 8 September 2023

A nursing career offers numerous specialisation and professional growth opportunities. Registered nurses (RN) earn professional certifications to demonstrate their expertise in specific patient care areas and to improve their career prospects and earnings potential. Understanding the various nursing credentials available to you allows you to determine which ones align with your interests and goals in the healthcare field. In this article, we define what a nurse certification is, outline 15 credentials you can pursue and describe the benefits of each to help you choose appropriate programmes to advance your nursing career.

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What Is A Nurse Certification?

A nurse certification is a formal credential that a certifying body or an accredited professional organisation awards to an RN to verify their knowledge, skills and expertise in a specific area of nursing practice. The certification process typically involves completing a rigorous programme of study, gaining a certain amount of clinical experience in the area of specialisation and passing a certification examination. While these credentials are usually voluntary, employers or institutions often require certifications for specific nursing roles.

Related: What Does A Staff Nurse Do? (Skills And Responsibilities)

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15 Nurse Certifications

Here are 15 nurse certifications to consider:

1. General Nursing and Midwifery (GNM)

The GNM diploma course provides you with the fundamental abilities you require to work as a nurse and midwife. This course emphasises the practical aspects of nursing and midwifery care and focuses on the holistic well-being of patients and their families. You learn how to manage various health conditions to help in childbirth and provide postnatal care. This certification can enhance your career prospects by qualifying you for positions in hospitals, clinics and other healthcare settings. The GNM certification is a foundation for pursuing higher levels of nursing education and specialisations.

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2. Bachelor of Science (BSc) in nursing

A BSc in nursing is an undergraduate degree programme that equips you with the necessary knowledge and skills for a professional nursing career. The programme combines theoretical coursework and practical clinical training and covers anatomy, physiology, microbiology, nutrition, psychology and nursing principles. Graduates with a BSc in Nursing degree can provide comprehensive patient care, promote health and wellness and participate in research and leadership roles within healthcare settings. This degree is also the foundation for further specialisations and advanced nursing qualifications.

3. Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE)

The CDE is a specialised nursing certification for professionals who want to provide comprehensive education and support to individuals with diabetes. The National Institute of Public Health Training and Research issues this certification to validate a nurse's expertise in diabetes management, prevention and treatment. To earn this credential, you require a valid nursing licence and a specific number of continuing education hours in diabetes care. Completing the exam demonstrates that you can help patients effectively manage their diabetes, reduce complications and improve their quality of life.

Related: 43 Nurse Educator Interview Questions (With Sample Answers)

4. Post Basic Diploma in Anaesthesia

Many accredited medical institutions offer the Post Basic Diploma in Anaesthesia certification, which equips you with the specialised knowledge and skills to deliver safe, effective anaesthesia care to patients undergoing surgical procedures. This comprehensive programme covers anaesthesia pharmacology, patient assessment, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) monitoring and post-operative care. Graduates of this programme collaborate with anaesthetists and other healthcare professionals in diverse healthcare settings to ensure a seamless, patient-centred experience.

5. Post-Basic BSc Nursing (PBBSc Nursing)

Nurses can earn the advanced PBBSc Nursing qualification after they complete the GNM programme. This degree focuses on expanding your nursing knowledge and skill set, encompassing medical-surgical nursing, microbiology, mental health nursing, paediatric nursing, obstetrics and gynaecology, mental health nursing and community health nursing. Completing the PBBSc Nursing develops your clinical and decision-making abilities, which helps you provide higher quality patient care and contribute to improving healthcare systems.

6. Master of Science in nursing (MSc Nursing)

The MSc Nursing programme is a postgraduate degree to consider if you want to develop your expertise and advance your career. This programme offers a comprehensive curriculum, which includes advanced nursing theory, research, leadership and management. Nurses can specialise in clinical nursing, nursing education, nursing administration or public health nursing. The MSc Nursing programme qualifies you to take on leadership roles, contribute to evidence-based practice and drive improvement to provide better healthcare outcomes.

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7. Clinical Nutrition Certificate

The Clinical Nutrition Certificate is a specialised qualification for healthcare professionals, including dieticians, nutritionists and nurses, who seek to enhance their understanding of nutrition in a clinical setting. The programme covers nutritional assessment, medical nutrition therapy, dietary planning and disease-specific nutritional interventions. Earning this certification verifies that you have the skills and knowledge to provide evidence-based nutritional care to patients, address various health conditions and improve health outcomes.

8. Nurse Practitioner in Critical Care (NPCC)

The NPCC is an advanced qualification to consider if you want to develop expertise in caring for critically ill patients in intensive care units, emergency departments and other high-acuity settings. This programme provides in-depth knowledge of critical care principles, complex disease management, advanced pharmacology and advanced health assessment. Upon completion, graduates possess the skills to collaborate effectively with multidisciplinary teams, make autonomous clinical decisions and provide high-quality, evidence-based care to patients with life-threatening conditions.

9. Certificate in Health Care Waste Management (CHCWM)

The CHCWM is a specialised programme for healthcare professionals, waste management personnel and environmental health practitioners who seek to enhance their understanding of waste management practices in healthcare settings. This comprehensive course covers waste classification, segregation, storage, transportation, treatment and disposal methods, emphasising regulatory compliance and environmental sustainability. Completing this programme demonstrates you can implement effective healthcare waste management systems to ensure the safety of patients, staff and the environment.

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10. Certificate Course in Medical Law

The Certificate Course in Medical Law is a programme for healthcare professionals, legal practitioners and individuals with an interest in the intersection between law and medicine. The key topics this course covers include medical negligence, patient rights, informed consent, confidentiality and legal aspects of medical documentation. Earning this certification verifies that you have a comprehensive understanding of the legal framework governing medical practice, enabling you to navigate complex situations, ensure compliance and uphold the highest standards of professional conduct in healthcare settings.

11. Diploma in Infection Prevention and Control (DIPC)

The DIPC is a collaborative programme between the University of Hyderabad and the Infection Control Academy of India. It is a specialised programme for healthcare professionals, infection control practitioners and individuals whose interest lies in maintaining high hygiene and safety standards within healthcare environments. The curriculum covers epidemiology, microbiology, surveillance, outbreak management and healthcare-associated infections. Completing the diploma helps you develop, implement and evaluate effective infection prevention and control strategies, reducing the risk of infectious diseases and promoting the well-being of patients and staff.

12. Certified Lactation Educator

The Certified Lactation Educator certification is a professional qualification for healthcare professionals, such as nurses, midwives and public health staff, who seek to promote and support breastfeeding in their practices. The programme offers comprehensive education on the physiology of lactation, breastfeeding techniques, overcoming common challenges and the role of breastfeeding in maternal and child health. This course develops the ability to provide evidence-based breastfeeding education and support to families, foster healthy infant nutrition and contribute to improving health outcomes.

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13. Post Graduate Diploma in Nursing Administration (PGDNA)

The PGDNA is a specialised programme for RNs seeking to advance their nursing career and secure leadership or management roles. This comprehensive course covers healthcare policy, nursing management, human resource management, financial management and quality assurance. The diploma teaches competencies to effectively oversee nursing teams, manage resources and contribute to developing organisational strategies that enhance patient care and healthcare service delivery.

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14. Post Basic Diploma in Paediatric Nursing

The Post Basic Diploma in Paediatric Nursing is a qualification for RNs seeking to develop their expertise in caring for infants, children and adolescents. This programme offers in-depth paediatric health knowledge, encompassing growth and development, common childhood illnesses, immunisation, nutrition and family-centred care. Completing this diploma helps you develop the skills and knowledge to deliver safe, effective, evidence-based nursing care to paediatric patients in various healthcare settings while working collaboratively with healthcare professionals and family members.

Related: How To Become A Nursing Assistant: Guide And Career Tips

15. Diploma in Industrial Health

The Diploma in Industrial Health is a specialised programme for healthcare professionals, occupational health practitioners and individuals responsible for ensuring the health and safety of employees in industrial settings. This comprehensive course covers workplace hazard prevention, control and treatment, risk assessment, ergonomics and occupational health legislation. Completing the diploma confirms you can identify, assess and manage occupational health risks, contribute to developing and implementing workplace health and safety strategies and promote the overall well-being of employees in various industries.

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