I work for a company that provides training programs for nurses or any healthcare professionals involved in the care of patient needing infusion therapy. We offer training programs on various venous access devices and infusion therapies, including biologics and have always described our educational offerings as training programs or continuing education programs. (www.mcvassociates.com) Yet, the most common and frequently asked question about our IV education programs is..will I be IV certified after I attend this IV program? The answer is no, and we get a very surprised reaction on the caller’s part followed by: What do you mean? Why are your programs not IV certification programs?
The confusion about IV certification have been in existence for as long as I have been an infusion nurse (which believe me, is a long time!) Many programs or education offerings both from professional nursing organizations and education companies use the words certification and certificate interchangeably, causing confusion about what a program confers. The Infusion Nurses Certification Corporation (INCC) provides a distinct explanation of the difference between the two.
Certification: I carry the designation of CRNI, which means Certified Registered Nurse Infusion. It is an earned credential that demonstrates my specialized knowledge, skills and experience in infusion nursing. I obtained this credential after meeting strict eligibility criteria and successfully passing a standardized exam. The certification is awarded by the INCC. My credentials as a CRNI is nationally recognized and wherever I work, I carry the certification. It also includes an ongoing requirement that I must meet to keep my certification current.
Certificate: A certificate program is an education program that awards a certificate after completing the program. These programs provide a “certificate” of attendance or participation but not award a credential. Certificate programs are geared towards obtaining skills or knowledge. Many of the certificate programs are open to anyone who registers. Some healthcare organizations offer internal “certification” which are designed to meet their own internal criteria.
Indeed these terms can be very confusing and as a provider of educational services, we strive hard to make the distinction to the consumers of our services and for the protection of the public. For more information about INCC and the difference between certification and certificate, visit http://www.incc1.org.