As healthcare becomes more complex, it is increasingly vital to assure the public that healthcare professionals are competent. Individual State Registered Nurse (RN) licensure measures entry-level competence only; and, in doing so, provides the legal authority for an individual to practice nursing.
It is the minimum professional practice standard. Certification, on the other hand, is a formal recognition that validates knowledge, experience, skills and clinical judgment within a specific nursing specialty; and, as such, is reflective of a more stringent professional practice standard. It reflects achievement of proficiency beyond basic licensure.