ANCC to Make Certification Available to All Registered Nurses Through Open Door 2000 Program (2/25)

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February 25, 2000


ANCC to Make Certification Available to All Registered Nurses Through Open Door 2000 Program

Reflects Growing Recognition of Certification as an Indicator of Competence

Washington, D.C.- In response to the demands of today's health care environment for greater public accountability among nurses and other health care providers and as a means of providing an opportunity to demonstrate competence over a professional's lifetime of practice, the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) has unveiled a new, 21st Century model of credentialing, called Open Door 2000, to make certification accessible to all qualified registered nurses. This action reflects the nursing profession's commitment to quality care and its responsibility to recognize ongoing competence of all registered nurses. In recognition of the evolution of credentialing processes and the need for quality indicators of competence in nursing practice, this reconceptualization of certification is designed to include all registered nurses who provide health care for the public. The new model will offer examinations that lead to "certification" for associate degree and diploma prepared registered nurses and "board certification" for those nurses with baccalaureate and higher preparation. Similar to models of other professions, this new approach sets the tone for indicators of quality in nursing practice.

Open Door 2000 reaffirms certification as one measure that recognizes competence. Licensure is the legal mechanism for ensuring basic competence for entry into practice. "By making certification accessible to all nurses, we can better fulfill our responsibility to the profession and the public by promoting and validating the competence of nurses in defined areas of practice," said ANCC president Jan Jones-Schenk, MNA, RN,CNA. "We know that nurses, consumers, employers and policymakers increasingly recognize the "value-added" component that certification brings. The goal of Open Door 2000 is to give all nurses the opportunity to be recognized in specialty practice and to pursue a credential."

Certification can be a key tool for ensuring quality of patient care, according to the authors of the largest study of the certified nursing workforce in the United States and Canada. Conducted by the Nursing Credentialing Research Coalition (NCRC), the study found that certification has a dramatic impact on personal attitudes and confidence as well as on the professional and practice outcomes of certified nurses. The nurses studied reported that certification increased their confidence about their ability to detect early signs/symptoms of complications in their patients and to initiate early and prompt interventions for such complications. The NCRC study also revealed that certified nurses had high patient satisfaction ratings and reported more effective communication and collaboration with other health care providers. In addition, some certified nurses stated they experienced fewer disciplinary events and work-related injuries than their colleagues.

"The fundamental goal of virtually every individual profession is to improve competence, quality and effectiveness. We view this reconceptualization as a way to fulfill our commitment to protect and educate the public," said Jones-Schenk. "ANCC's mission is to promote quality practice. In order to fulfill that mission we must design programs to meet the needs of today's nurses and reflect the evolution of certification."


The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) is the national program that leads the profession of nursing in the number and scope of its certification examinations. ANCC certifies nurses in general and advanced practice specialties and in modular areas of expertise. In addition, ANCC accredits agencies, organizations, health facilities, schools, and others who offer or approve continuing education courses for registered nurses, and it recognizes excellence in nursing service through its Magnet Nursing Services Recognition Program.

The American Nurses Association is the only full-service professional organization representing the nation’s 2.6 million Registered Nurses through its 53 constituent associations. ANA advances the nursing profession by fostering high standards of nursing practice, promoting the economic and general welfare of nurses in the workplace, projecting a positive and realistic view of nursing, and by lobbying the Congress and regulatory agencies on health care issues affecting nurses and the public.