You, a friend, or a family member has received a diagnosis about a musculoskeletal health concern. This diagnosis starts a journey of caring, and many health professionals will be involved. Registered nurses who specialize in musculoskeletal health, especially orthopaedic-certified nurses, have the knowledge and skill to help on this journey.
What are orthopaedic-certified nurses?
Orthopaedic-certified nurses have demonstrated specific knowledge of musculoskeletal health by passing a difficult test. Nurses who pass this test have detailed knowledge of health concerns such as yours. Before they can take the test, they also must have experience in musculoskeletal health care.
Some orthopaedic-certified nurses work in office settings or home health with patients who have sports injuries, arthritis, or other musculoskeletal problems. Other nurses work in hospitals, surgical centers, or rehabilitation settings to care for patients who have had surgery as part of their treatment. Orthopaedic-certified nurses can work everywhere – and with patients of all ages. They are committed to caring for people with musculoskeletal health concerns.
Orthopaedic-certified nurses and their managers value their specialty credential for many reasons. Read more in ONCB’s white paper on the value of certification.
How will you know if your nurse is certified?
Orthopaedic-certified nurses are proud of their accomplishment. Many of them will tell you they are certified. But you can also ask, “Are you an orthopaedic-certified nurse?” It’s your right to know about the knowledge and skill of the people who are caring for you.
Orthopaedic Nurse Certified (ONC®) – The ONC® credential recognizes nurses at the first level of certification. ONCs have proven their broad knowledge of musculoskeletal health concerns. They are able to care for patients of any age and in any setting. Most orthopaedic-certified nurses hold the ONC credential.
Orthopaedic Nurse Practitioner Certified (ONP-C®) – The ONP-C® credential recognizes nurse practitioners who specialize in musculoskeletal care. Many ONP-Cs work in primary care settings. They also often work in the hospital, particularly with surgical patients.
Orthopaedic Clinical Nurse Specialist Certified (OCNS-C®) – The OCNS-C® credential holder is a clinical nurse specialist who is an expert in musculoskeletal care. Most clinical nurse specialists work in the acute care setting, supporting patients and other nursing staff.
Want to verify if a nurse is orthopaedic-certified?
- Verify a nurse is orthopaedic-certified.
Consumers and Certification
As a member of the American Board of Nursing Specialties, ONCB believes the major goal of specialty nursing certification is to improve patient outcomes and promote the safety of health care consumers.
Organizations such as The Joint Commission, the National Quality Forum, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services establish standards of practice and promote evidence-based guidelines that also improve outcomes and promote safety. ONCB urges health care consumers to be knowledgeable regarding the quality efforts of these agencies.
Information can be found on the organizational Web site:
The Joint Commission – National Patient Safety Goals
National Quality Forum – NQF-Endorsed Standards
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality – Evidence-Based Practice
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services – Process of Care Measures
ONCB members are interested in consumer feedback on nursing care provided by the board’s certificants. What was your experience as a health care consumer with an ONC, ONP-C, or OCNS-C certificant? Contact ONCB.