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How to Write NP Credentials

I have a distinct memory of telling my mom that I passed my NP board exam. She was so excited for me and, as a gift, wanted to buy a personalized, embroidered lab coat for me to wear at my new job. And so, she asked, “What are all your initials now?” I was so hyper focused on passing boards that I really didn’t look beyond that and how I would even sign my name as a real deal NP!

In this post we’ll break down how to write NP credentials so that you can confidently display it on your lab coat, prescription pad, resume, coffee mug, personalized pen, fleece jacket…I think you get the picture!

Degree, License, Certification

Did you know that the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) actually has a preferred format for listing your credentials? Having a uniform way to display your credentials helps to ensure that other professionals can understand the meaning and importance of all those letters!

The general order is degree, license, and certification. This means the highest degree you have earned, followed by your licensing initials (including any state-specific information), and lastly listing your certification(s). If you have any additional awards to add, those go at the very end.

Let’s use my credentials as an example: Jacklyn DelPrete, EdD, CRNP, FNP-C

Degree: EdD

The highest degree I have earned is an educational doctorate in nursing education (EdD). Now, since that degree doesn’t correspond to my NP practice, I could technically include my MSN initials as well.

The highest degree is always listed first, which can then be followed by the highest related degree. Another example would be a DNP-prepared nurse practitioner with a masters in business administration (MBA). That would be listed as DNP first, followed by the MBA. 

License: CRNP

Next is CRNP. I am licensed to practice in the state of Pennsylvania, which uses the title of Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner (CRNP). Other states may use the title of Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN), so depending on what state you practice in, the licensure initials may differ.

Certification: FNP-C

Then you list your certifications. I am certified as a Family Nurse Practitioner through the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) which uses the initials of FNP-C. Whichever board certification exam you take, the certifying body will provide you with information about what initials to use.

For example, a Family Nurse Practitioner certified through ANCC would use the initials of FNP-BC. If you have multiple certifications, you can list them in the order you obtained them, or in the order of relevance to your clinical practice. 

How do I sign my name for clinical practice?

Ok, so do you have to list ALL of your initials or credentials every time you sign your name for an order in your clinical practice? You totally could! However, it’s more practical to just write your state licensing initials.

For me, when signing orders, papers, or other legal documents for the medical record in my clinical practice, I only write Jacklyn DelPrete, CRNP. In that capacity, my state licensure is most important and what allows me to practice.

Looking for more (free!) info and tips? Check out these other posts at the SMNP Reviews blog!

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