Professional Development

Professional Certification Advancement

Professional Certification is a key factor in the assurance of minimum standards of knowledge, skills and abilities in nursing specialty practice and contributes to better patient outcomes. National certification allows nurses to be recognized for competence in their specialty. Emerging science shows that professional certification, when combined with baccalaureate education, provides for the best patient outcomes.  Certification is “a process by which a state regulatory body or nongovernmental agency or association certifies that an individual licensed to practice a profession has met certain predetermined standards specified by that profession for specialty practice.  Its purpose is to assure various publics that an individual has mastered a body of knowledge and acquired skills in a particular specialty (ANA, 1979)”.

Published research studies demonstrate the significant benefits of nursing certification for the practicing nurse, the facilities for whom they work, and the patients they serve. Sentara nursing sets a strategic goal annually to increase the number of nurses with current professional certifications. Trended system nursing certification rates show continued advancement.


  • Certified nurses are recognized and respected.
  • Certified nurses have proven their competence in their specialty area.
  • Certified nurses have more job opportunities.
  • Certified nurses have more professional opportunities.
  • Certified nurses are more confident.

As of September 2021, 28.9% of eligible Sentara nurses hold a professional certification. Eligible nurses are those nurses with two or more years of service or nurses with less than two years of service but holding a professional nursing certification.