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Determining a Standard Order of Credentials for the Professional Nurse

ANA Position Statement
Approved: December 11, 2009

The purpose of this statement is to clarify and solidify the American Nurses Association (ANA) recommendation regarding the order of credentials with professional entitlement. Furthermore, this position statement intends to promote widespread understanding of credentialing mechanisms for consumers of nursing services, and the impact such endorsements have on the professional nurse (Kozier, 1997).

Statement of the ANA position
In the nursing profession, the use of credentials is an essential component to designate levels of attained education and licensure, certification, and professional achievement. The listing of credentials when identifying a nurse ensures credibility and competence to the consumers of nursing care. Standardized use strengthens a unified understanding of credentials among nurses, within the healthcare delivery system, and for healthcare consumers. In an effort to establish a recognizable and understandable credential usage process across all spectrums of nursing, the following order of credentials is recommended: Highest earned degree, mandated requirements (i.e. licensure), state designations or requirements, national certifications, awards and honors, other certifications.

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