Seven Reasons to Pursue Post Master’s Nursing Certificates

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Nurse in meeting with team

As healthcare professionals, registered nurses (RNs) understand the value of education. RNs who already have Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degrees earn post-master’s nursing certificates to further their expertise.

Post-master’s nursing certificates allow RNs to grow in their careers and take on more substantial healthcare roles. Earning a post-graduate nursing certificate prepares RNs to sit for certification exams in a specialty area.

Karen S. Kesten, chair of the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses Certification Corporation board of directors, said earning certifications demonstrates the ability to provide high-quality patient care.

“A certified nurse is a lifelong learner who cares about the quality of care they deliver. Nurses who are certified feel more confident that the care they are delivering is based on the most up-to-date evidence,” Kesten told Minority Nurse. “Certified nurses are proud of their achievement and are role models for nurses and other health care professionals. Certification shows that nursing is a profession that cares about safety, quality and excellence of health care delivery.”

RNs who wonder what a post master’s degree is and why it is important should look no further than the many certification opportunities. At Duquesne University, RNs can choose from four online post-master’s certificate specialization options. Each specialization plays an essential role in improving health outcomes worldwide.

Why Earn a Post-Master’s Certificate in Nursing?

In the field of healthcare, professional development is vital. Since the field is continually changing and evolving, RNs must be able to keep pace. A post-master’s nursing certificate provides value-added benefits, including the following:

1. Promoting improvements to the healthcare system

Personnel shortages, changes in regulations, an increase in chronic conditions, and shortcomings in the healthcare system, including access problems, unsustainable costs, and suboptimal outcomes, are driving more nurses to seek ways to make transformative changes.

RNs with post-graduate certifications have the opportunity to prompt improvements to the healthcare system through their advanced education. With a graduate certification, RNs enlarge their focus of practice to help patients overcome health challenges.

2. Personal fulfillment

One fundamental aspect of nursing is the ability to embrace lifelong learning. In the study “The Importance of Continuing Professional Development to Career Satisfaction and Patient Care: Meeting the Needs of Novice to Mid- to Late-CareerNurses throughout Their Career Span,” researchers found that lifelong learning was particularly important to mid- and late-career nurses. The study, conducted in Canada, found a direct link between nurse career satisfaction and training and education.

“Healthy work environments were identified by nurses as those that invested in continuing professional development opportunities to ensure continuous growth in their practice and provide optimal quality patient care,” study authors stated. “Training and education emerged as a cross-cutting theme across all career stages and held implications for patient care, as well as retention and recruitment.”

3. Individual educational enrichment

For decades, RNs have been encouraged to attain higher levels of education and practice to the full extent of their training. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing said higher education levels bring more opportunity, including the ability to conduct research, teach, impact public policy and implement evidence-based solutions.

“Beyond the professional opportunities nurses gain through graduate education, there are some very tangible benefits to one’s quality of life,” the AACN said. “Nurses with advanced preparation typically enjoy more opportunities to impact the overall design and implementation of care. As education increases, salaries follow suit. Nurses with master’s degrees can command six-figure salaries and often rise to the top of healthcare’s leadership ranks.”

4. Changes to the future of nurse education

According to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, more than 250,000 new RNs entered the U.S. workforce after taking the NCLEX-RN in 2019. However, recent estimates suggest the country needs more than double the amount to keep pace with the healthcare system. A shortage of nurse educators is hampering efforts.

Earning a post-master’s nursing certificate as a nurse educator prepares students for the certified nurse educator exam and a role in teaching the future generation of healthcare providers. A graduate certificate prepares RNs to be online instructors, college and clinical faculty members and professional development specialists.

5. Crime victim assistance

Forensic nurses provide medico-legal care for victims of crime. As medical experts who work closely with the criminal justice system, forensic nurses give crucial information that can lead to a conviction. They help trauma victims and perpetrators (both intentional and unintentional) by documenting injuries and providing medical testimony in court cases. They also provide information for follow-up services.

Earning a post-master’s certificate in forensic nursing prepares RNs to sit for the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) certification exam. Forensic nurses help across a spectrum of legal and scientific settings as nurse coroners, nurse investigators, and legal nurse consultants, among others.

6. Family care across a lifetime

Family nurse practitioners (FNPs) provide care for individuals from birth through older adulthood. While some states require FNPs be supervised by a physician when practicing medicine, a growing number of states allow them to practice independently of physician oversight and prescribe medication as necessary. FNPs are widely recognized as the future of healthcare, taking the role of primary caregiver.

Earning a post-master’s certificate as an FNP allows RNs to sit for the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Board (AANPCB) or the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC ) certification exams. FNPs work in retail clinics, physician’s offices, and independent practice to provide care for infants through the elderly, including prenatal care

7. Leadership opportunities

RNs who are executive leaders work in hospitals, healthcare organizations, consulting firms and home health agencies, to name a few. They not only lead and guide healthcare professionals, but they also shape policy and business practices.

A post-master’s certificate in executive nurse leadership and health care management prepares RNs for roles in management. RNs who work as executives can implement changes that can improve healthcare outcomes.

Through Duquesne University’s online post master’s nursing certificate program, students learn specialized skills that will advance their careers and improve the healthcare community. Online students work with the university’s nursing professionals, following the same high standards as traditional post-master’s certification programs.

Students who earn post-master’s nursing certificates through Duquesne University’s online program are fully prepared to enter the workforce and make positive changes for the future of healthcare.

Duquesne University’s Online Post-Master’s Certificate Program

Duquesne University’s online post-master’s nursing certificate program provides a variety of higher-education choices that allow RNs to advance their careers further. The university’s post-master’s nursing certificate programs represent an opportunity to better health outcomes for scores of people. The university offers several tracks:

Duquesne University has been lauded as a leader in online nursing education and recognized as a Center of Excellence by the National League for Nursing. The university’s rich history of excellence in online education includes pioneering the first online Ph.D. in Nursing program in the nation.


Minority Nurse, Certified Nurses: The Importance of Becoming Certified
Orthopedic Nursing, Healthcare Transformation and Changing Roles for Nursing
The Importance of Continuing Professional Development to Career Satisfaction and Patient Care: Meeting the Needs of Novice to Mid- to Late-Career Nurses throughout Their Career Span: Administrative Sciences
American Association of Colleges of Nursing, Master’s Education
Healio, The Nursing Shortage and the Future of Nursing Education Is in Our Hands