Nurses love initials. Specifically, they love the initials “RN.” And for good reason: It takes a lot of hard work to earn a nursing license, and it takes even more dedication to keep that credential.
But being a nurse can involve many more initials than just “RN.” How about BSN? Or NP? CCRN, anyone?
When it comes to how to display your nursing credentials, you might be surprised to learn there is a standardized way to do it. You should always check first with your employer to find out if they require the credentials to be displayed in a certain order on the badge. And journal publishers may have their own guidelines. But for other purposes, such as your email signature or a speaking engagement, you can follow these steps to make sure you’ve listed your nursing credentials in the right order.
According to the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), a nurse’s list of credentials should always begin with the educational degree. Why? Because it’s considered a “permanent” credential. You could give up or lose your nursing license, certifications, or awards, but you almost can’t lose your educational degree, so list that first: “BSN, RN.”If you have multiple nursing degrees, list the highest educational degree you’ve earned: “MSN, RN.” The ANCC says you don’t need to list multiple nursing degrees in your credentials. In other words, you likely had to earn a bachelor’s degree before you could apply to a master’s program, so there’s no need to list “MSN, BSN, RN.” That could get unwieldy.
What if you’re a second-career nurse who already earned a degree in something else? If a degree in another discipline represents your highest degree, list it first: “MEd, RN” or “PhD, RN.” You don’t have to list non-nursing degrees in your credentials, but it may be useful for purposes outside of nursing. For instance, if you pursue a master’s in business administration and then go into healthcare management, you might want to list your credentials as “MBA, MSN, RN.” If you choose to include a non-nursing degree in your credentials, it should be listed first unless it’s a lower degree level than your highest nursing degree. For instance, you would not list a bachelor’s of business administration ahead of your MSN.
This step is easy. Whether it’s RN or LPN/LVN, your licensure designation should follow your educational degrees when listing your credentials. Note that while some states refer to advanced practice “licenses” for nurses, the ANCC actually calls those “designations,” which happen to come next.
Advanced practice nurses, in particular, may obtain state designations like NP or APRN. These designations should immediately follow your licensure: “MSN, RN, APRN.”
As you settle in to a clinical career path, you might pursue various relevant certifications, such as Certified Nurse Operating Room (CNOR) or Certified Pediatric Hematology Oncology Nurse. Whatever national certifications you achieve, list them next in your credentials: “BSN, RN, CNOR, CPHON®.” You can list as many certifications as you feel are relevant to your current practice.
You may have seen nurses at conferences displaying the FAAN designation in their credentials. This fellowship is conferred by the American Academy of Nursing to oustanding nursing leaders across the U.S. If you receive a nationally recognized nursing award or an honor like a FAAN fellowship, this credential should be displayed last on your list: “PhD, MSN, RN, NP, FAAN.”
For every nurse who earned a lengthy list of initials after her name, the journey began with the same step: education. If you want to advance your career and earn certifications, start by getting your BSN degree. Our flexible online RN to BSN program makes it easier than you can imagine.
Learn more about the online RN to BSN program at the Madison School of Healthcare: Talk to an admissions advisor today!
When Kevin Kays enrolled in the Associate Degree Program in Construction Management, it had been more than a decade since he had attended any kind of school. Because he was working full time in the construction business, convenience was on his mind as he began researching online colleges. He needed a flexible program of study that was affordable and would lead to a degree. He also wanted the freedom to learn at his own pace so he could finish his studies sooner rather than later.
Good fortune came his way in two ways. He decided Ashworth College met all of his needs, and his employer reimbursed him for the cost of the program.
However, life has a way of throwing curve balls at you when you least expect it. Shortly after he enrolled at Ashworth College, Kevin was diagnosed with epilepsy and ended up in the hospital for treatment. But there was no stopping him. In his words, “Online education is really helpful if you have chronic health issues. I started my construction management degree just before I was diagnosed with epilepsy and I loved that it was online, since I had stays in the hospital. I probably wouldn't have been able to finish my degree at a brick and mortar school."
Returning to his job, Kevin refocused on earning his degree. He studied late at night, on weekends, and during lunch breaks at work. He remained committed to bettering himself, and in about two years the hard work paid off and he graduated.
Watch Kevin Kays speak at an Ashworth College graduation ceremony.
Kevin’s epilepsy prohibited him from achieving his initial goal of becoming a construction manager but didn’t let that dash his dreams of achieving more in life and attaining personal fulfillment. After earning his associate degree, he became an elementary school assistant substitute teacher. His associate degree qualified him for the role, and teaching young people became his new passion.
“I like making a difference in children’s lives a lot more than construction,” notes Kevin, adding, “At first I was in denial about epilepsy, but realized I had one choice: to just smile and move forward. It is what gave me the idea for my new career and as odd as it is to say, it has helped me find a career I love more.”
Ashworth College trains tens of thousands of students to be competent in careers they love. And even though Kevin graduated years ago, he continues to lavish praise on the quality of education he received at Ashworth College while earning his degree.
“The staff went above and beyond to help me out and they were great. I still stay in contact to this day. The advisors and staff are just great and easy to talk to. They give you quick feedback and were just amazing. In addition, I got all of my books on time and didn’t have to wait around for anything.”
While in school, Kevin’s strong suit was math, while English challenged him. When he was unsure of how to interpret a question in that subject, he would frequently call the professor for clarification. He suggests that Ashworth College students request help rather than guessing if they have any questions or uncertainty about what a concept means.
Says Kevin, “Make a phone call or leave a message in the online portal, or participate in the online community where you can go to the forum; I actually answered and asked questions in the forum a few times. Even if it’s at the end of the day, leave a message and they will call you back to help you.”
Recently, Kevin experienced another health setback and is scheduled for brain surgery. However, he has no intention of the surgery interfering with his career. He plans to earn his bachelor’s degree so he can become a full-fledged teacher. With the strength and determination he has shown in the past, there is no question his future remains bright.
If you’re considering higher education but are unsure where to start, contact one of our Admission Advisors at 1-800-957-5412 to help guide you through your choices.
If you’ve taken any prescription medications, you’ve no doubt interacted with a pharmacy technician. These professionals are most recognizable as the folks at your local drug store – handing you a prescription bag and ringing up your purchase on the cash register.
Retail pharmacies aren’t the only places pharm techs work, though. Pharmacy technicians work in a variety of settings, from hospitals to mail-order prescription facilities. And their job tasks can vary greatly depending on where they work.
About half of all pharm techs work in drug stores, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. In a retail environment, pharmacy technicians work under the direction of the registered pharmacist to handle a number of important tasks, including:
Most pharmacy technicians employed in a retail setting work full time, sometimes in shifts that include nights and weekends. The median pharmacy technician salary in retail drug stores is about $30,000 per year, and demand for pharm techs is expected to grow rapidly as the Baby Boomer population continues to age.
Some pharm techs don’t want to interact with the public as much as required in a drug store setting. If that sounds like you, then you may be interested to know that hospitals employ many pharmacy technicians “behind the scenes” to prepare medications for patients. Like their retail peers, hospital-based pharm techs also work under the supervision of a registered pharmacist, but they may perform more complex tasks, including:
Working in a hospital is tops for pharmacy technician pay: the median salary for these professionals comes in at nearly $37,000 per year.
Many people receive their medications through the mail these days, and while it’s true that big machines count and package those pills, the prescriptions still must be processed by someone who has passed a pharmacy technician exam.
In a mail-order pharmacy, a pharm tech might:
Pharmacy technician hourly pay in a mail-order facility might run as high as $15.50, for a median annual salary of about $31,000.
Pharm techs work in other settings, too, including nursing homes and assisted living facilities, where they may package and dispense medications to patients.
If you’re interested in learning more about how to become a pharmacy technician, our Admission Advisors can put you on the path to enter this this fast-growing field. Learn more about the online pharmacy technician program at Ashworth College. Call 1-800-957-5412 or request free information today!
In our GO AFTER IT blog series, you'll meet fellow students and grads who committed themselves to chasing their dreams and proving it pays to GO AHEAD toward better opportunities -- no matter the obstacles to be overcome.
When Dan Brennanhusen* attained his role as the new director of safety and security for a major school district, his qualifications included nearly two decades of law enforcement and corporate security experience. He had also earned his Master of Science in Criminal Justice from Ashworth College and is a strong believer in the power of education to achieve success.
“I believe higher education is a leveraging tool to seek higher positions,” says Brennanhusen, “and with higher positions you typically are better compensated.”
While Brennanhusen was rewarded with better compensation, he feels that his Ashworth College program provided him with something much more valuable than the promise of higher pay. Even after working as a professional in law enforcement for so many years, he learned new concepts and techniques from the books and lessons in the Master of Criminal Justice Degree Program. He also discovered the practicality of his education, since he is using what he learned every day in his new job.
“I found the program to be contemporary and directly applicable to my profession. The core principles and components of my studies positively impact my career daily,” he says.
The quality of the program was unquestionably relevant to Brennanhusen’s career, but there were other benefits of an Ashworth College education that drew him into attending in the first place.
“Because I had a really busy work and family life, including two kids, I had to find a flexible program. I had been promoted to new assignments and divisions so life was as busy as it could possibly be. Ashworth College offered the accreditation and flexibility I needed to attain my objectives. The cost was also a plus.”
One might ask why a successful criminal justice professional who was already promoted would want to continue their education. According to Brennanhusen, the answer was twofold: career advancement and personal growth. At the time, he was a police sergeant and wanted to become a member of his department’s executive leadership team by working his way up to chief. After being promoted to commander, Brennanhusen realized that he would need a master’s degree to be considered for the next step up. And he knew that a higher-level degree would help him in his role for future promotions.
Says Brennanhusen, “Hiring someone always comes with some risks. I view degrees and higher education as an important piece of the puzzle. Having ‘missing pieces’ may cause a potential employer to find someone who has a more complete puzzle.”
As Brennanhusen completed his educational “puzzle,” he took his time. Aside from his competing priorities of earning a living and caring for a busy family, he says he didn’t want to merely pass assignments – he wanted to get good grades, do well and truly learn. He even paused his studies for a while so he could regroup and refocus.
Congratulations to Brennanhusen on completing his master’s Degree in Criminal Justice and the opportunities it has afforded him. If you’re interested in this field, or other fields of study, we recommend you contact an Admissions Advisor at 1-800-957-5412 who will be happy to answer any and all questions you may have.
* At the request of the student in the interest of job privacy and security, a pseudonym is being used; otherwise, all quotes and information in this blog are actual and verifiable.