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Stroke Awareness

Could the SCRN Elevate the Standard of Stroke Care?

Michelle Hill, a trustee of the American Board of Neuroscience Nursing, explains the process for earning the Stroke Certified Registered Nurse (SCRN) credential and shares how it elevates nursing standards and hospital acclaim.


Trustee, American Board of Neuroscience Nursing

“Patient outcomes cannot improve without the highly skilled neuroscience nurses who specialize in stroke care.”

What steps must a nurse take if they are interested in getting certified to be a SCRN?

To sit for the SCRN Examination, candidates must meet the following criteria:

  1. Current Licensure: The candidate must have current licensure as a registered nurse valid through the date of the examination in the United States, Canada or a U.S. territory that grants licensure utilizing the U.S. State Board Test Pool Examination or National Council for Licensure Examination. Candidates from other countries will be considered if they meet a comparable licensure requirement and can read and understand the English language.
  2. Experience: The candidate must be a professional nurse engaged in aspects of stroke care, including but not limited to stroke nursing clinical practice, or employed as an administrator, consultant, educator or researcher. The candidate must have a minimum of at least one year full-time (2,080 hours) of direct or indirect stroke nursing experience within the last three years.
  3. Direct or indirect nursing practice: Direct stroke nursing practice is defined as involvement in the nursing process in a clinical setting where the nursing actions and judgments are focused on a particular individual, family or group of individuals where there is continuing professional responsibility and accountability for the outcomes of these actions.

Indirect stroke nursing practice is defined as involvement that includes time spent in clinical supervision of students or staff in research or consultation.

Should nurses be encouraged to become certified at earlier stages of their career?

As hospitals strive to compete with a value over volume care model, the need for quality care is increasing. Because of this, it’s beneficial for hospitals to have SCRN certified nurses on their staff. Certification testifies to the outstanding caliber of your nurses, promotes your commitment to stroke nursing and makes your institution more attractive to prospective nursing employees. In addition, certification is an indicator of quality that will attract patients and distinguish your hospital.

Once certified, SCRNs must complete a certain number of courses to continue their education in that specialty area to maintain their credential. This allows the nurse to stay current through evidence-based practice in the medicine and health care of their specialty area. Nurses are emphasizing SCRN certification for professional development and to ensure they are providing the best care to their patients.

Since 2013, the number of nurses going for the certification has increased. Why are nurses putting more emphasis on getting certified now than before?

There are many benefits to being an SCRN certified nurse. Being certified distinguishes you from your colleagues and gives you a sense of professional accomplishment. The purpose of certification in stroke nursing is to promote excellence and professionalism as well as provide assurance to health care employers and the public that individuals possess the necessary skills, knowledge, and experience in stroke care to perform competently.

SCRN certification benefits include professional recognition and credibility; distinction in your specialty area; career advancement and increased professional opportunities; benefits for your hospital, such as helping it attain or keep Magnet status; potential for higher pay.

Now, more than ever, organizations are striving to provide the best care possible to stroke patients. What sets apart the SCRN certification from others to ensure the highest level of qualification?

According to the American Stroke Association, it is estimated that nearly 800,000 people in the United States have a stroke every year, with about three in four being first-time strokes. Patient outcomes cannot improve without the highly skilled neuroscience nurses who specialize in stroke care. The SCRN examination validates a nurse’s knowledge, skills, and abilities in caring for stroke patients.

The SCRN certification program is accredited by the Accreditation Board for Specialty Nursing Certification (ABSNC), the only nationally recognized accrediting body for specialty nursing certification programs. ABSNC accreditation is a peer-review mechanism that allows nursing certification organizations to obtain accreditation by demonstrating compliance with the highest quality standards available in the industry. There are currently 3,758 SCRN certified nurses.

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