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Let’s Have the Emeritus Discussion

By Benjamin Dennis and James X. Stobinski

The year 2020 has started very well for the Competency and Credentialing Institute (CCI). In early January, we closed the files on 2019 with record numbers for recertification activity; 82.25% of certificants took action to maintain their credential. This is the highest rate we have ever seen for this activity and the largest pool of eligible nurses for recertification ever. Included in the 2019 group were 690 nurses who elected to transition to emeritus status. The emeritus numbers were also the largest we have ever experienced by a large margin and that occurrence prompted us to write this article.

The exact demographic makeup of the perioperative nursing community is not well known. There is survey information and anecdotal evidence that perioperative nurses are a mature, seasoned group. We also know that perioperative nurses tend to have long careers and that they highly value their certifications, especially the CNOR credential. After a review of our statistics, CCI had forecasted a large turnover of nurses as early as 2012.

It appears that demographic wave is now upon us and the trend of emeritus applications that began in 2018 and continued into 2019 was not an aberration. We would like to discuss the emeritus option for CNOR certificants. We think it is a discussion worth having even if uncomfortable for some. CCI established emeritus status in 1995 for the CNOR credential to recognize retired nurses for their service and commitment in holding the credential. A one-time fee is paid, and the nurse maintains the credential for the remainder of their lifetime. We would like to speak to why nurses should make this choice.

There are many benefits to electing emeritus status. First among these benefits is that you can continue to use the certification designation, albeit with a small change. In emeritus status your credentials would read – Jane Doe, BSN, RN, CNOR(E). In this status, anyone attempting to verify your credential would see this status on the CCI website and CCI can provide verification for employment. A certificate is also given to those holding emeritus status. Those with emeritus status can list it on their CV or resume as noted above.

The alternative to making the proactive choice for emeritus status is to simply do nothing and let the credential lapse at the end of the recertification period. That choice, while costing nothing, would conclude your active records with CCI. While you can claim to have held the CNOR credential in the past, you would no longer be entitled to use the designation as part of your title.

Electing to transition to emeritus status is an intensely personal decision which marks a clear demarcation in the career path of a perioperative nurse. This designation means that there is less ahead in a career versus all that has been previously accomplished. A nurse who elected emeritus status in 2019 summed up her choice well. She stated that she held her CNOR credential in high regard but was ready to move to another phase in her life. She went on to state that while she enjoyed the recognition of holding the CNOR(E) status, she was ready for other things and new adventures. CCI is proud to assist perioperative nurses in their credentialing needs throughout the span of their career. As an organization, we give our thanks for their service and commitment to certification and we are ready to facilitate their choice on emeritus status.

Benjamin Dennis, AD, is a credentialing associate for Competency and Credentialing Institute and James X. Stobinski, Ph.D., RN, CNOR, CSSM(E), is CEO of the Competency and Credentialing Institute.

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