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Letter to the Editor: Nurse credentials denote training

Saturday, April 10, 2004

To the editor:

This letter is in response to the caller who referred to the credentials behind nurses' names and a lack of understanding of what they represent.

Nursing credentials symbolize a significant body of work the individual has completed in order to earn them. This includes recognition of formal education. For example, BSN (bachelor of science in nursing and MSN (master of science in nursing) are usually the first letters you see. The next acronym typically represents the nurses licensure. RN (registered nurse) requires not only successful completion of a demanding nursing program, but also passing state board examinations.

Nursing schools or universities supporting nursing programs are strictly monitored by the Missouri State Board of Nursing to assure training that will place the most qualified and best prepared individuals in the profession.

The next letters (certification) represent an individual's proven experience in his area of practice. To achieve this designation, the individual generally must have worked in his specialty area for two years and pass a difficult examination.

When you find yourself under the care of a nurse, credentials indicate the individual has successfully completed significant time as well as testing to achieve each designation. However, rest assured the RN or LPN (licensed practical nurse) designations alone represents significant intensive training. With graduations and Nurses Day coming in May, I offer my congratulations to all those graduating from nursing programs. For all fellow nurses, happy Nurses Day.

KATHY O'HOWELL

Cape Girardeau