Nursing's Alphabet Soup - Nursing Acronyms Explained
The acronyms nurses use to indicate their level of education, professional designations and certifications can sometimes be more confusing than informative. It can be challenging for nurses, too, to determine how to display the credentials they've worked so hard to obtain.
Writing for American Nurse Today, the American Nurses Association's official journal, Betty Smith-Campbell said your highest degree – such as a BSN or MSN – should come first, in capital letters and separated from other credentials by a comma. If additional degrees are all in nursing, only the highest degree should be listed. So a nurse named Jane Doe would list J. Doe, BSN, but not J. Doe, BSN, ASN.
Next come any nursing licenses you have earned, commonly an RN. If you have a more advanced license that supersedes the RN, such as the Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN), should be listed instead. So, nurse Jane Doe would list J. Doe, BSN, RN - or J. Doe, BSN, APRN.
Finally come the nursing credentials you have earned, such as Certified Nurses Educator (CNE). Nurse Jane Doe's credentials then would read J. Doe, BSN, APRN, CNE.
Whether you're a nurse deciding how to list your credentials or are just curious to understand the qualifications behind the acronyms, this list can help you decipher the alphabet soup of nursing.
- ADN - Associate Degree in Nursing
- BSN - Bachelor's of Science in nursing
- MSN - Master's of Science in Nursing
- DNP - Doctor of Nursing Practice
Professional Nursing Credentials
- APRN - Advanced Practice Registered Nurse
- LPN - Licensed Practical Nurse
- LVN - Licensed Vocational Nurse
- NP - Nurse Practitioner
- RN - Registered Nurse
- ACNP - Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
- CNS - Clinical Nurse Specialist
- ANP - Adult Nurse Practitioner
- FNP - Family Nurse Practitioner
- GNP - Gerontological Nurse Practitioner
- PNP - Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
- TCRN - Trauma Certified Registered Nurse
- CNE - Certified Nurse Educator
- CNA - Certified Nursing Assistant
- CNL - Clinical Nurse Leader
- CNO - Chief Nursing Officer
- CRN-A - Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist
- NA - Nursing Assistant
- AACRN - Advanced HIV/AIDS Certified Registered Nurse
- ACRN - HIV/AIDS Certified Registered Nurse
- ALNC - Advanced Legal Nurse Consultant
- CBCN - Certified Breast Cancer Care Nurse
- CDN - Certified Dialysis Nurse
- CHPCA - Certified Hospice and Palliative Care Administrator
- CRN - Certified Radiologic Nurses
- OCN - Oncology Certified Nurse
Explore more content like this article
October 14, 2021
So many career paths can leave new and seasoned nurses alike wondering which specialty is right for them. To help, we’ve compiled a list of the 16 types of nurses employers are looking to hire, including information on salary, growth potential and required nursing degrees.
October 05, 2021
Both the nursing profession and some employers are calling on registered nurses (RNs) to obtain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) to improve safety and help prepare for future healthcare challenges.
September 30, 2021
While nursing has always been a respected career, many people don’t know that there are actually several different levels of nursing degrees and many different specialties available.