Nursing Abbreviations & Terms
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Advanced HIV/AIDS Certified Registered Nurses (AACRNs) are RNs who have also completed specialized graduate-level education. Mainly, they treat patients who have been diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. AACRNs work to prevent further infection and help to promote client, family, and community adaptation to HIV infection.
AACRNs are board certified through the HIV/AIDS Nursing Certification Board
HIV/AIDS Certified Registered Nurses (ACRNs) assist in preventing further infection and promote individual and community education on the disease. Nursing practice in HIV/AIDS requires a complex knowledge base and range of skills which include pathophysiology, family dynamic, coping with chronic illness, risk assessment, and risk reduction.
ACRNs are board certified through the HIV/AIDS Nursing Certification Board
Acute Care Nurse Practitioners (ACNPs) are registered nurses who have completed accredited graduate-level educational programs in nursing science that prepares them as a nurse practitioner. There are four distinct levels in which ACNPs can practice: professional, state, institutional, and self-determined. The kind of care provided by ACNPs will be determined by the specific needs of the patient and can encompass curative, palliative, restorative, rehabilitative, and end-of-life care.
ACNPs are credentialed by the American Nurses Credentialing Center
Advanced Forensic Nurses (AFN-BCs) utilize nursing expertise in both public and legal proceedings. Additionally, AFNs apply the nursing process to forensics and health care in the scientific investigation of trauma and/or death related to abuse, violence, criminal activity, and other accidents. The practice of forensic nursing usually supports judicial proceedings in order to protect a victim.
AFN-BCs are credentialed by the International Association of Forensic Nurses
Advanced Genetic Nurses (AGN-BC) are registered nurses with specialized training and board certification in genetics. AGNs work with patients and families affected by genetic anomalies and provide counseling as well as care and treatment options. AGNs evaluate patients, review lab results, and make recommendations for future pregnancies based on clinical data in collaboration with physicians.
PLEASE NOTE: AGN-BCs are only re-credentialed by the American Nurses Credentialing Center as this certification has retired.
Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioners (AGNPs) are advanced practice nursing professionals who specialize in broad healthcare for adults across the lifespan from adolescence to old age. AGNPs administer a broad range of acute, chronic and preventive healthcare services to their patients. Additionally, AGNPs diagnose, and provide routine check-ups, health-risk assessments, screening tests, immunizations, and personalized counseling on maintaining a healthy lifestyle for patients.
AGNPs are board certified through the American Nurses Credentialing Center in either primary care or acute care.
- See Adult Gerontology Nurse Practitioner Programs
- See Post-Master's Adult Gerontology Certificate Programs
Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioners (AGACNPs) are advanced practice nursing professionals who specialize in broad healthcare for patients across the lifespan from adolescence to old age. AGNPs administer a broad range of healthcare services to their patients in acute-care settings such as intensive care, the emergency department, and specialty units. Additionally, AGACNPs facilitate the discharge of patients to outpatient clinics and follow up with patients for obtaining and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
AGACNPs are credentialed by the American Nurses Credentialing Center.
Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioners are advanced practice nursing professionals who specialize in broad healthcare for patients across the lifespan from adolescence to old age. AGPCNPs administer a broad range of healthcare services to their patients in outpatient primary care settings. The AGPCNPs focus on prevention, wellness, and education for obtaining and maintaining a healthy lifestyle
AGPCNPs are credentialed by the American Nurses Credentialing Center.
Advanced Holistic Nurses (AHN-BCs) are RNs who have completed graduate-level nursing programs and who have undergone advanced training in holistic nursing. The techniques AHNs use to treat patients are quite different from traditional RNs and include using non-pharmacological healing methods like acupuncture, aromatherapy, wellness coaching, hypnotherapy, and massage.
AHN-BCs are board certified through the American Holistic Nurses Credentialing Corporation
Advanced Legal Nurse Consultants (ALNCs) are registered nurses who are employed in areas such as private consulting, law firms, solo legal practices, insurance companies, as well as in health care organizations. A few common tasks that ALNCs are charged with during their employment include analyzing medical records in nursing and health care malpractice cases, educating attorney clients on nursing standards of practice, preparing expert witness reports, and serving as testifying experts in nursing malpractice cases.
The American College of Legal Nurse Consulting offers comprehensive, quality certification and fellowship programs for qualified professional nurses practicing the specialty of Legal Nurse Consulting.
Adult Nurse Practitioners (ANPs) are registered nurses who focus mainly on the primary care of adults; however, professionals in the field will sometimes care for children over the age of 12.
ANPs are board certified through the American Nurses Credentialing Center
Advanced Oncology Certified Nurse Practitioners (AOCNPs) are nursing professionals who care for chronically or critically ill patients suffering from cancer. Typically, these nurse practitioners will administer chemotherapy, implement new approaches for symptom treatment, and monitor the progress of their patients.
AOCNPs will hold a master's degree (MSN) and will be certified by the Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation (ONCC)
Advanced Oncology Certified Clinical Nurse Specialist (AOCNSs) are graduate-level registered nurses who have an advanced practice role in oncology nursing. AOCNSs perform in-depth assessments and apply intervention to promote a positive impact on patient outcomes. AOCNSs provide education to both patients and family members and help to guide patients in adjusting to the truth of illness so as to reduce anxiety and strengthen their coping abilities.
AOCNS are certified through the Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation
Advanced Practice Holistic Nurses (Board Certified) (APHN-BCs) will generally hold master's degrees or doctoral degrees which are specific to advanced level holistic nursing practice. APHNs incorporate specific alternative or complementary healing modalities into their practices.
APHN-BCs are board certified through American Holistic Nurses Credentialing Corporation
Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) coordinate health care for patients in accordance with State and Federal rules and regulations as well as the nursing standards of care. Their main tasks include assessing the health status of patients, diagnosing illness, developing and implementing treatment plans, and more. Advanced Practice Registered Nurses can be found working in fields such as acute care, psychiatry, neonatal, and others.
Generally, APRNs will hold master's (MSN) degrees and will be certified by the American Nurses Credentialing Center
Blood & Marrow Transplant Certified Nurses (BMTCNs) are specialized oncology nurses who work with bone marrow transplant doctors, providing both pre and post transplant care to patients whose bone marrow has been compromised by diseases like leukemia, anemia, early onset osteoporosis, and other bone marrow disorders.
BMTCNs are certified through the Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation
Camp nurses provide health care and medical expertise to people of all ages attending camps and retreats. Their settings may range from a summer camp for Boy Scouts in the forest, to a group of terminally ill cancer patients during a weekend retreat at a hotel.
Certified Aesthetic Nurse Specialists (CANS) are registered nurses or nurse practitioners who are uniquely qualified to assist patients with clinical aesthetic treatments.
CANS are certified through the Plastic Surgical Nursing Certification Board
Certified Ambulatory Perianesthesia Nurses (CAPAs) practice in a nursing specialty area which involves providing care to patients going through or recuperating from anesthesia.
CAPAs are certified through the American Society of PeriAnesthesia Nurses (ASPAN)
Certified Breast Care Nurses (CBCNs) are registered oncology nurses who specialize in assisting women going through treatment for breast cancer. CBCNs improve the continuity of care for women and provide important information and support for a wide range of needs.
CBCNs are certified through the Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation
Those with Correctional Behavioral Health Certification (CBHC) work with inmates and assist them in reaching their goals in the behavioral rehabilitation process. They help offenders develop relapse-prevention plans, steer them toward acquiring education and provide behavioral therapy.
CBHCs are board certified through the American Correctional Association
Certified Continence Care Nurses (CCCNs) are registered nurses who are specially trained to identify causes, create treatment plans, and empower patients with incontinence to be involved in all aspects of their care.
CCCNs are board certified through the Wound Ostomy and Continence Nursing Certification Board
Certified Care Coordination and Transition Managers (CCCTMs) work with a multidisciplinary team of medical professionals, the patient, and his/her family to foster communication and efficient, effective care. The goal of the CCCTM is to assure quality care as the patient transitions through the medical system. CCCTMs make sure everyone, including doctors, therapists, and other caregivers, have the appropriate information needed to deliver excellent care to the patient.
CCCTMs are board certified through the Medical-Surgical Nursing Certification Board
Certified Clinical Research Associates (CCRAs) assist clinical research coordinators and professionals in running clinical trials to test drugs for their efficacy, risk, and benefits to ensure that they are safe to allow on the pharmaceutical market.
CCRAs are board certified through the Association of Clinical Research Professionals
Certified Clinical Research Coordinators (CCRCs) work under the direction of a principal investigator to manage the personnel, finance, and regulatory aspects of medical research trials. CCRCs help to administer clinical research trials by collecting data from study participants, maintaining research logs, monitoring clinical trial procedures, and making sure research guidelines are strictly followed. Lastly, CCRCs are in charge of all the documentation related to the trial and for guaranteeing the safety and well-being of the participants.
CCRCs are board certified through the Association of Clinical Research Professionals
Critical Care Registered Nurses (CCRNs) are registered nurses with specialized training and advanced skills which they use to care for patients who are critically ill and at high risk for life-threatening health problems. CCRNs provide continuous, high-level care for these patients and their families. They can be found working in ICUs, emergency rooms, and cardiac care units.
CCRNs are board certified through the American Association of Critical Care Nurses Certification Corporation
Certified Clinical Research Professionals (CCRPs) direct, supervise, and oversee the activities of all personnel engaged in clinical research projects to ensure compliance with protocols and clinical objectives. CCRPs will traditionally hold backgrounds in nursing, pharmacy, medical technology, health record management, statistics, and other physical and life sciences. CCRPs will have demonstrated the knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform ethical and responsible clinical research.
CCRPs are board certified through the Society of Clinical Research Associates
Certified Dialysis Nurses (CDNs) are RNs who have been specially trained to administer dialysis treatment to patients suffering from kidney disease, and to patients who have experienced renal failure and require fluid injections to replicate the function of the kidney.
CDNs are board certified through the Nephrology Nursing Certification Commission
Certified Emergency Nurses (CENs) are RNs who work in emergency medical facilities like trauma centers and emergency rooms with a collection of other medical professionals. CENs specialize in assessing, intervening, and stabilizing a variety of trauma and illnesses with decisive action. Due to the large range of medical conditions that may require urgent treatment and care, they must be knowledgeable about general as well as specific health issues.
CENs are board certified through the Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing
Certified Nurse Executives (CENPs) in practice are traditionally responsible for the administration and management of patient care services. Nurse executives oversee the planning and development of policies and procedures for healthcare clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, and other types of healthcare facilities. Most nurse executives will have a Master's degree and/or a doctorate degree.
CENPs (Certified in Executive Nursing Practice) are board certified through the American Organization for Nursing Leadership
Certified Foot Care Nurses (CFCNs) are registered nurses (RNs), licensed practical nurses (LPNs), or personal support workers (PSWs) who are trained and certified in the practice of basic or advanced foot care. Traditionally, PSWs will provide basic foot care to their patients while RNs certified in foot care will provide more advanced care to their clients.
CFCN certification is available through the Wound, Ostomy, and Continence Nursing Certification Board
Certified Flight Registered Nurses (CFRNs) are RNs who specialize in providing comprehensive pre-hospital, and emergency critical care to a wide range of patients. Typically, CFRNs care for patients during rescue operations or aeromedical evacuation aboard jet aircraft, propeller aircraft, or helicopters.
The Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing (BCEN) is the accrediting agency that CFRNs must go through to become board certified.
Certified Gastroenterology Registered Nurses (CGRNs) are RNs who provide care for patients with known or suspected medical problems in their gastrointestinal tract or who are undergoing procedures to treat these kinds of problems. Specific disorders and illnesses CGRNs assist patients with include constipation, diarrhea, reflux, ulcers, food allergies, Crohn’s disease, colon cancer, and rectal cancer, among others.
CGRNs are certified through the American Board of Certification for Gastroenterology Nurses
Certified Heart Failure Nurse (CHFNs) are RNs with specialized skills and training who help to improve outcomes for patients with chronic heart failure which usually results from coronary artery disease. CHFNs have been shown to drastically reduce the number of unplanned re-admissions, length of hospital stays, and costs, as well as lower mortality rates.
CHFNs are board certified through the American Association of Heart Failure Nurses
Certified Hospice and Palliative Licensed Nurses (CHPLNs) are RNs who provide care for terminally ill patients. They care for patients and their families and assist other healthcare professionals during the final stages of life.
CHPLNS are board certified via the Hospice and Palliative Credentialing Center (HPCC)
Certified Hospice and Palliative Care Administrators (CHPCAs) represent the senior-level leadership in hospice care. CHPCAs manage daily operations at hospice facilities to guarantee that patients can live their final days as comfortably as possible. As administrators, they are commonly referred to as hospice directors and act as a liaison between patients, their loved ones, and medical staff to coordinate quality end-of-life care.
CHPCAs are board certified through the Hospice & Palliative Credentialing Center
Certified Hospice and Palliative Nursing Assistants (CHPNAs) are CNAs who assist CHPLNs and other medical professionals to provide palliative care for terminally ill patients. Additionally, they also offer emotional support to the family members of those who are terminally ill.
CHPNAs are board certified through the Hospice & Palliative Credentialing Center
Clinical Nurse Leaders (CNLs) are healthcare systems specialists who conduct and oversee patient care coordination, assess health risks, facilitate communication among team members, and implement evidence-based solutions. Quite often, CNLs will work alongside clinical nurse specialists to organize and coordinate complex patient care.
CNL certification is handled by the Commission on Nurse Certification (CNC)
- See CNL Programs
Certified Nurse Midwives (CNMs) are advanced practice registered nurses who are certified in nurse-midwifery. Certified Nurse Midwives care for women across their lifespan, including during pregnancy as well as the postpartum period. They also specialize in well woman’s care and birth control. CNMs are recognized by the International Confederation of Midwives.
The American College of Nurse-Midwives accredits certified nurse-midwifery education programs.
Certified Nurse Manager and Leaders (CNMLs) are recognized as leaders in their specific health care community. CNMLs perform leadership functions such as governance and decision-making within hospitals and organizations employing nurses. Their main tasks include management of nursing staff, planning, organizing, directing, and controlling.
CNMLs are board certified by the American Association of Critical Care Nurses Certification Corporation.
Certified Neuroscience Registered Nurses (CNRNs) are RNs whose main duties involve caring for patients who are suffering from issues in the brain, spinal cord, and other parts of the nervous system.
CNRNs are board certified through the American Board of Neuroscience Nursing
Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNSs) are advanced practice registered nurses who provide expert advice to patients related to specific conditions or treatment pathways. CNSs have acquired an expert knowledge base, have complex decision-making skills, and are clinically competent for expanded practice. The vast majority have obtained either a master's or doctorate degree as a CNS.
CNSs can be certified in various nursing specialties through the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC)
- See CNS Programs
Certified Ostomy Care Nurses (COCNs) are RNs who work in the specialized field of ostomy wound care nursing. COCNs specialize in the proper management of ostomies by treating and monitoring patients who have undergone ostomy procedures.
COCNs are board certified through the Wound Ostomy and Continence Nursing
Certified Pediatric Oncology Nurses (CPONs) are professionals in the nursing field who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of children, usually up until the age of 18, who has cancer. CPONs act as care coordinators and collaborate with additional cancer team members to provide the best care possible.
CPONs become board certified via the Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation (ONCC)
Certified Pediatric Hematology Oncology Nurses (CPHONs) are RNs with specialized education and training in caring for children and adolescents who are suffering from cancers that affect the blood, bone marrow and lymphatic systems. The CPHON's primary duties include administering chemotherapy under a physician's supervision, monitoring the pediatric patient, developing the plan of care, and explaining the treatment plan of action to the family of the pediatric cancer patient.
CPHONS become board certified via the Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation (ONCC)
Certified Plastic Surgical Nurses (CPSNs) are RNs who specialize in tending to patients who are undergoing aesthetic or cosmetic surgical procedures such as breast augmentation/reduction/reconstruction, liposuction, face lifts, gender reassignment surgeries, and hair transplants.
CPSNs become board certified through the Plastic Surgical Nursing Certification Board
Certified Radiologic Nurses (CRNs) are RNs who care for patients that are undergoing diagnostic imaging procedures such as x-rays or MRIs, or receiving treatment such as radiation therapy. In some cases, radiologic nurses are referred to as medical imaging nurses or radiology nurses.
CRNs become board certified through the Radiologic Nursing Certification Board
Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) are advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) who specialize in the administration of anesthesia and related care to patients before and after surgical, therapeutic, diagnostic, and obstetrical procedures. CRNAs provide anesthesia to their patients in collaboration with surgeons, anesthesiologists, as well as other qualified health care professionals. They practice in every setting in which anesthesia is administered.
Certification is governed by the National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA)
Certified Rehabilitation Registered Nurses (CRRNs) assist individuals with disabilities and/or chronic illnesses to attain and maintain maximum function. The rehabilitation staff nurse assists clients in adapting to an altered lifestyle while providing a therapeutic environment for patients and their families.
CRRNs become board certified through the Rehabilitation Nursing Certification Board
Community Specialist Practitioners (CSPs) are licensed nursing professionals who specialize in taking care of the healthcare needs of the wider community in order to maximize life chances. CSPs care for individuals both in their homes and in community healthcare organizations. CSPs focus mainly on patient-centered care caseload management, and building and leading teams.
Certified Urologic Nurse Practitioners (CUNPs) are RNs who have completed both undergraduate and graduate level nursing and urological nursing. Additionally, they will have gone through advanced onsite training within the field. The CUNP's primary objective is to diagnose and prescribe medication to patients who have disorders related to the urinary system.
CUNPs are board certified through the Certification Board for Urologic Nurses and Associates
Certified Urologic Registered Nurses (CURNs) are RNs who specialize in treating patients with diseases related to the urinary system. CURNs perform urinary health exams and diagnose problems like bladder incontinence. They also work to guide patients, educate them, and help them with preventive care.
CURNs are board certified through Certification Board for Urologic Nurses and Associates
Certified Wound Care Nurses (CWCNs) are RNs who specialize in the proper management of wound care by treating and monitoring wounds that are the result of disease, injury, or medical treatments.
CWCNs are board certified through the Wound Ostomy and Continence Nursing Certification Board
Dermatology Certified Nurse Practitioners (DCNPs) are RNs with advanced training and graduate level education in dermatological nursing. DCNPs treat patients with various skin-related diseases and issues. They work closely with doctors to give patients advice on skin health maintenance, disease prevention, and to provide adequate case management.
DCNPs are board certified through the Dermatology Nursing Certification Board
Those who have achieved the Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice (DNAP) degree are prepared for advanced practice in the field of nurse anesthesia. DNAP graduates will have the necessary knowledge and skill base to function in a wide variety of clinical situations and to render a wide spectrum of patient care.
Certified Dermatology Nurses (DNCs) are RNs with specialized education and training in the field of dermatology. They may also perform certain cosmetic procedures. Common duties of DNCs include skin cancer screening, acne treatment, performing microdermabrasion and chemical peels, and more.
DNCs are board certified through the Dermatology Nursing Certification Board
Doctors of Nursing Practice (DNPs) are advanced practice nurses with a terminal degree in nursing. DNP degrees represent the highest level of education available in the field.
Doctors of Nursing Practice emphasize nursing leadership, systems management, quality improvement, and data-driven decision-making.
- See DNP Programs
The Doctor of Nursing Science (D.N.Sc., DNS) is an academic doctorate degree, and much like the PhD in nursing, it is essentially based on research and theory. This degree is awarded as a terminal research degree in nursing at universities around the globe.
Environmental Health Nursing
Sometimes referred to occupational nurses, environmental health nurses specialize in health and safety services for employees. Their main task is to promote healthy workplaces through programs aimed at protecting workers from occupational and environmental hazards. They work to raise awareness about healthy habits and prevent injuries and illnesses.
Environmental health nurses are board certified through the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses.
Faith Community Nursing
Faith community nursing, sometimes called parish nursing, is a specialized field of professional nursing that focuses primarily on the intentional care of the spirit in addition to the promotion of whole-person health. Emphasis is also placed on the prevention or minimization of illness within the context of a faith community and the wider community.
The Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) is a registered nurse with advanced graduate-level educational and clinical training in family practice. FNPs offer a wide range of healthcare services that revolve around the family unit which range from health promotion and disease prevention to direct care and counseling across the lifespan.
A subsidiary of the American Nurses Association, the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) offers the FNP-BC primary care certification.
Forensic nursing is a specialty within the nursing profession that combines medical care and law. Forensic nurses may treat patients and individuals involved in crime and sexual assault incidents, as well as assist in evidence collection and death investigations.
Genetic nursing is a specialty that focuses on providing genetic healthcare to patients. The integration of genetics into nursing was birthed in the 1980s and has been an important element in improving the quality of healthcare for patients receiving genetic and genomic-based care from nurses
Gerontological Nurse Practitioners (GNPs) work with elderly patients, diagnosing illnesses, conducting exams, and prescribing medication. GNPs can be found in nursing homes, home healthcare services, hospice facilities, or private practice.
GNPs become board certified in gerontological practice through the American Nurses Credentialing Center
Home Health Nursing
Home health nurses provide multidimensional care for patients in their homes. Home health nurses provide preventative, therapeutic, and rehabilitative care for their patients. Additionally, these nurses will oversee and supervise home health aids.
Board Certified Health and Wellness Nurse Coaches (HWNC-BCs) work with patients in order to assist them in achieving an optimal level of perceived health and maintain wellness in the midst of diagnoses such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, high-risk pregnancy, and others. HWNC-BCs help patients with the lifestyle changes required to achieve the highest level of health.
HWNC-BCs are board certified through the American Holistic Nurses Credentialing Corporation
Certified Hyperbaric Registered Nurses (CHRNs) comprise a specialty within the nursing profession that involve the care of patients receiving hyperbaric oxygen therapy. CHRNs perform duties in a hyperbaric chamber, which is essentially a decompression chamber. These chambers are known to promote high tissue oxygenation and to hasten the healing of wounds that have failed to heal adequately under conventional care.
CHRNs are board certified through the National Board of Diving and Hyperbaric Medical Technology
Immunology and Allergy Nursing
Immunology and allergy nurses focus mainly on the care of patients with chronic allergic conditions like asthma, allergic rhinitis, urticaria, and atopic dermatitis. Primary duties include providing direct patient care, health education, and administrative responsibilities.
Infection Control Nursing
Infection control nurses, sometimes referred to as infection prevention nurses or certified infection control nurses (CICNs), assist in preventing patient infections in hospitals and clinics. They mainly instruct other nurses and health care staff on proper sanitation procedures. Additionally, infection control nurses will study patients' bacteria so as to identify any infections that may have resulted from healthcare a patient has received. Infection control nurses are typically in charge of notifying the closest branch of the Centers for Disease Control in case of an outbreak.
CICNs are board certified by the Certification Board of Infectious Control and Epidemiology, Inc.
Infectious Disease Nursing
Infectious disease nurses are clinical nurse specialists who focus primarily on infectious disease control. They work in major health care facilities and community health organizations to monitor and prevent the spread of drug-resistant infections. Additionally, they serve as educators, consultants, policy-makers, and researchers.
Intravenous Therapy Nursing
Sometimes referred to as infusion nurses, these IV nurses care for patients who need some sort of intravenous therapy. Such therapies include blood transfusions, medications, investigational drugs, antineoplastic agents and parenteral nutrition. IV therapy nurses care for patients of any age or background and will commonly treat dehydration in elderly people.
IV therapy nurses are certified through the Infusion Nurses Society
Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) are sometimes referred to as Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVNs). LPNs provide patient care in a variety of settings within various clinical specializations.
Generally, LPNs are supervised by a registered nurse. Typical tasks that LPNs will carry out include administering medication orally and intravenously, charting medical records, administering patient wound care, collecting specimens like blood and urine, and monitoring patients for any changes in their clinical conditions.
Medical Case Management
Medical case management refers to the planning and coordination of health care services to achieve the goal of medical rehabilitation. Medical case management requires the evaluation of a medical condition, developing and implementing a plan of care, coordinating medical resources, communicating healthcare needs to the individual, and monitoring an individual’s progress to promote cost-effective care.
Nurses in this specialty area are mainly concerned with the care of adult patients in a wide range of settings. Medical-surgical nurses comprise the single largest nursing specialty in the United States and can be found working in emergency departments, inpatient clinics, outpatient surgical centers, home health, and in other settings.
RNs can become board-certified medical-surgical nurses via the American Nurses Credentialing Center
Medical and Uniformed Services Nursing
Military and uniformed services nurses are registered nursing professionals (RNs) who are employed within the military.
Board Certified Nurse Coaches (NC-BCs) assist patients in adopting healthier lifestyles. NC-BCs are registered nurses who have achieved board certification in their respective fields.
NC-BCs are board certified through the American Holistic Nurses Credentialing Corporation
NCLEX stands for National Council Licensure Examination. Been known as the standard in exam certification for nursing school/program graduates since 1994 in the United States. We have a complete NCLEX-RN exam guide for your convenience.
Nurse Executives (NE-BC) are registered nurses who have administrative oversight of clinical care facilities that include hospitals, outpatient medical clinics, or skilled nursing facilities. The NE-BC holds a master's degree in nursing (MSN) and has experience as a nursing leader in positions such as supervisor or manager. For those nurses without the MSN, the nurse must hold a bachelor's in nursing and meet the eligibility requirement for the board certification.
NE-BCs are credentialed by the American Nurses Credentialing Center.
Nurse Executive Advanced (NEA-BC) is a registered nurse who has a master's degree in nursing or doctorate of nursing practice or holds a bachelor's degree in nursing and a master's or doctorate in a related field. In order to be board certified, the NEA-BC must have experience as a nurse executive in roles such as director, chief nursing officer, or chief executive officer. NEA-BCs are in charge of hospital operations, and outpatient clinics or may teach in nursing schools.
NEA-BCs are credentialed by the American Nurses Credentialing Center.
Neurosurgical nursing is an advanced degree specialty within the larger specialty field of medical-surgical nursing. Neurosurgical nurses assist in preoperative care and provide care to patients before, during and after neurosurgery. Neurosurgical patients are individuals in need of neurosurgery, which helps patients with dysfunctions of the nervous system. Common dysfunctions that neurosurgical nurses face include problems with consciousness, communication, cognition, mobility, and sensation.
Neonatal Intensive Care Nurses (NICs) comprise a subspecialty of nurses who work with young infants who are born with a variety of problems ranging from birth defects, prematurity, cardiac malformations, infection, and surgical problems.
RNC-NICs are board certified through the National Certification Corporation
Neonatal Nurse Practitioners (NNPs) are advanced practice nurses who care for premature and sick newborns in neonatal intensive care units (NICU), emergency rooms, delivery rooms, or specialty clinics.
NNPs are in charge of monitoring specialized life support equipment like incubators and ventilators. Additionally, they provide education and support to patients' families regarding both intensive and postpartum neonatal care. NNPs will also dispense medication under an attending physician.
The National Certification Corporation is the certifying agency for neonatal nurse practitioners.
Nurse attorneys are licensed as both registered nurses and attorneys. These dual licenses allow them to integrate law into their healthcare practice or organization, or address healthcare concerns in their law practice.
Nursing Informatics (NI)
Nursing informatics (NI) is a specialty that integrates nursing science with multiple information management and analytical sciences to identify, define, manage, and communicate data, information, knowledge, and wisdom in nursing practice.
Occupational Health Nursing
Sometimes referred to as environmental health nursing, occupational health nursing is a specialty nursing practice that provides health and safety services to employees and employee populations. An occupational health nurse’s main task is to prevent workplace injuries and illnesses. These nurses work to educate employers and employees on how to achieve workplace safety.
Oncology Certified Nurses (OCNs) are registered nurses with ample experience in the nursing specialty of oncology. Oncology nurses provide care for cancer patients and those at risk of getting the disease. They monitor physical conditions, manage medication, and administer chemotherapy and other treatments.
OCNs are board certified through the Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation
Certified Orthopaedic Nurses (ONCs) are RNs with special education and training in orthopedics. They play an important role in providing care to patients with musculoskeletal disease, bone fractures, arthritis, joint replacements, osteoporosis, and genetic malformations and conditions which affect bones and/or muscles. Additionally, ONCs are responsible for educating patients on these disorders and on available self-care and support systems.
ONCs are board certified through the Orthopaedic Nurses Certification Board
Oncology Nurse Practitioners (ONPs) are advanced practice nurses who work with physicians, surgeons, families, and palliative caregivers to give the best possible treatment and care to those suffering from cancer. ONPs assist these cancer patients through each stage of their treatment. In addition to providing medical attention to patients, ONPs lend psychosocial support to the patient as well as their families.
ONPs are board certified through the Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation
Progressive Care Nurses (PCCNs) care for patients who need close monitoring and frequent assessment, but who aren’t unstable enough to require ICU care. PCCN nurses use computer equipment to monitor cardiac and other vital information and detect any changes, thereby enabling intervention for life-threatening or emergency situations.
PCCNs are board certified through the American Association of Critical Care Nurses Certification Corporation
This nursing specialty is comprised of nursing professionals who work with patients who are having operations or other invasive procedures. Perioperative nurses work closely with surgeons, surgical technologists, anesthesiologists, and other medical practitioners.
Advanced Public Health Nurses (PHNAs formerly APHNs) are RNs who have progressed to advanced practice status in the realm of public health nursing. The fundamental role of the public health nurse is to work within the community to deliver preventative health care services and to support the local population's health. APHNs must be culturally competent so as to bring adequate healthcare to diverse individuals, families, and groups within the community.
PHNAs get Advanced Public Health Nursing Certification through the American Nurses Credentialing Center. Available by renewal only every 5 years.
Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioners (PMHNPs) are advanced practice nurses who diagnose, oversee therapy, and prescribe medication for patients who have psychiatric disorders, organic brain disorders, and substance use problems.
PMHNPs are licensed to provide emergency psychiatric services, psychosocial and physical assessment of their patients, and manage patient care. Additionally, PMHNPs serve as consultants and educators for families and staff. The PMHNP focus on psychiatric diagnoses, including the differential diagnosis of medical disorders with psychiatric symptoms.
PMHNPs are board certified through the American Nurses Credentialing Center
- See Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Programs
- See Post Graduate Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Certificates
Psychiatric & Mental Health Clinical Nurse Specialists (PMHCNSs) are registered nurses who have advanced education and clinical experience with issues like anxiety, depression, stress, and grief. PMHCNSs practice hands-on treatment of patients in addition to exercising team leadership for case management and program development.
PMHCNs are board certified through the American Nurses Credentialing Center
Pediatric Primary Care Mental Health Specialists (PMHSs) are nursing professionals experienced in the early identification and intervention of behavioral and mental health concerns generally seen in primary care. The PMHS assesses, diagnoses, and manages the mental health and behavioral concerns of pediatric patients. Additionally, they help the families of the patients manage these concerns until more specialized care is available.
PMHSs are board certified through the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners
Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (PNPs) provide clinical nursing care to children, adolescents, and infants. A PNP is an RN who has completed a graduate-level degree program in nursing with a pediatric nurse practitioner focus.
PNPs are board certified through the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners.
- See Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Programs
- See Post Masters Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Certificates
Acute Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (PNP-ACs) diagnose and treat acute, critical and chronic illnesses in children. They counsel and care for children and coordinate interdisciplinary models of referral, relationships, ethics, conflict resolution, and implementation of health plans.
PNP-ACs are board certified through the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners
Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioners (PPCNP-BC) are advanced practice nurses who are educated in caring for patients from infancy to adolescence. A PPCNP is an RN who has completed a master's degree in nursing and has specialized in pediatric care. PPCNPs provide diagnosis, treatment, and education to children and their families.
PLEASE NOTE: PPCNPs are only re-credentialed by the American Nurses Credentialing Center as this certification has retired.
Private Duty Nursing
Nurses in this specialty care and work for patients on a private, one-on-one basis. Private duty nurses may be licensed RNs or LPNs/LVNs.
Public Health Nursing
Public health nurses are concerned with the health of the greater public. Nursing professionals in this specialty field “integrate community involvement and knowledge about the entire population with personal, clinical understandings of the health and illness experiences of individuals and families within the population.”
Pulmonary nurses sometimes referred to as respiratory nurses, care for patients with lung and respiratory system complications like asthma, tuberculosis, or lung cancer. Generally, they work in hospitals and critical care units, but can also be found in patients’ homes or residential care facilities.
There is no certification specific to the respiratory nurse, but many of them earn critical care certifications as offered by the American Association of Critical Care Nurses
Consists of systematic and continuous actions that lead to measurable improvement in health care services and the health status of targeted patient groups.
Nursing professionals in the specialty area of radiology care for patients that undergo diagnostic imaging procedures and radiation therapy. Radiology nurses routinely start or check peripheral i.v.s, assess infusaports, administer medications, monitor vital signs, suction patients, insert foleys and help patients with their personal needs.
Registered Dental Nursing
Nurses in this specialty work as part of a larger dental team in a variety of settings, both clinical and non-clinical.
Nurses in this specialty area mainly treat patients who are suffering from kidney issues. Common medical problems that renal nurses encounter include renal cysts, obstructions, polycystic kidney disease, and kidney stones.
(Adult/Adolescent) Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE-As) provide timely, non-judgmental, compassionate care to adult and adolescent sexual assault victims. Additionally, SANE-As perform and document sexual assault and forensic interviews. SANE exams can include medical-forensic exams, prophylaxis for pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, photographic documentation, referrals for appropriate medical and psychological follow-ups, and participation in legal proceedings.
SANE-As are board certified through the International Association of Forensic Nurses
(Pediatric) Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE-Ps) provide timely, non-judgmental, compassionate care to pediatric sexual assault victims. Additionally, SANE-As perform and document sexual assault and forensic interviews, maintain documentation and participate in legal proceedings relating to their patients.
SANE-Ps are board certified through the International Association of Forensic Nurses
Stroke Certified Registered Nurses (SCRNs) are RNs who have gone through specialized education and training so that they are able to adequately provide a specialist clinical assessment to potential stroke thrombolysis patients and those who have suffered from acute strokes.
SCRN certification is awarded by the Accreditation Board for Specialty Nursing Certification (ABSNC)
School Nurse Practitioners (SNP-BC) are advanced practice nursing with specialized education in school-based health for students. SNP's act as primary care providers while also providing support and health education to the community. SNP's conduct physical examinations, assessments for ill children, treatment plans for ill children and participate with students, families, and school officials to improve the health of the children in their communities.
PLEASE NOTE: SNPs are re-credentialed by the American Nurses Credentialing Center as this certification has retired.
Professionals in this particular nursing specialty study how space travel impacts human response patterns. Similar to space medicine, this specialty contributes to knowledge about the nursing care of earthbound patients.
Sub-acute care nurses are nursing professionals that treat patients who require round-the-clock – yet short-term – care until they are stabilized. Once patients are more stable, they can then be discharged or moved to a lower level of care, such as an assisted-living facility.
Substance Abuse Nursing
Substance abuse nurses help to regulate treatment for patients addicted to drugs, alcohol, and other substances. Their job also entails teaching patients about the dangers of substance abuse and possible treatment options. Nurses in the field are trained in both general medicine and mental health since addiction is both a mental and physical disorder.
Nursing professionals in this field are sometimes referred to as operating room nurses or perioperative nurses. These nurses care for patients before, during, and after surgery. Medical surgical nurses work alongside surgical teams to make sure that patients are receiving the best possible care, and serve as liaisons between the surgical team and the patient’s families.
Trauma Certified Registered Nurses (TCRNs) are RNs who work in the emergency room of a hospital and generally respond to the most critical and life-threatening cases. The primary role of the trauma nurse is to help stabilize the patient as quickly as possible. TCRNs perform many kinds of emergency medical procedures, such as IV insertion, intubation, administration of medicine or drugs, patient monitoring, and blood draws.
TCRNs are board certified through the Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing
Telephone Triage Nursing
Telephone triage nurses use telecommunications and information technology in the context of nursing services whenever a large physical distance exists between patient and nurse. As a field, it is part of telehealth and telemedicine and has many points of contact with other medical and non-medical applications, such as telediagnosis, teleconsultation, and telemonitoring.
Telephone triage nurses can take the certification examination offered by the American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nursing
Transplant nurses provide basic pre and post-surgical care to both organ donors and organ recipients. They also administer powerful anti-rejection drugs, closely monitor patients for signs of organ rejection, and teach patients and their families all about life after a transplant.
Travel nurses are nursing professionals who are hired to work in a specific location for a limited amount of time. Travel nurses typically work 13-week periods in one area, and move around depending on where they are needed.
The Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner (WHNP) is a nurse practitioner that specializes in ongoing and all-inclusive healthcare for women across their lifespans. WHNPs emphasize healthcare conditions unique to women from menarche to pregnancy to menopause.
The National Certification Corporation is the certifying agency for WHNPs.