I am doing a presentation on the many post nominals in the medical and nursing fields and what they stand for. There are several and for our nursing convention I am conducting a focus session at our annual nursing convention next week on this subject including the which post nominals to use and correct order to present post nominals. Would you happen to have that information?
— Monica, RN, BSN
I have been an RN for 15 years, and work in the healthcare industry as a home health regional preceptor. I completed my BS in Health Sciences with a minor in Business Management in 2009, and have just received my Master’s in Healthcare Administration degree. I also hold certifications as an OASIS specialist and Homecare Coding Specialist, both required for my job.
I have read that the educational degrees should be listed first, followed by licensure credentials since these may not be permanent, followed by any certifications. Following this, I would list my name and post nominals as Tina Atkins, MHA, BS, RN, COS-C, HCS-D. I have observed many of my colleagues with multiple post nominals still putting their RN designation first, followed by the educational achievements. In that case, mine would be listed as Tina Atkins, RN, MHA, BS, COS-C, HCS-D.
Are either of those correct, or should it be listed in another format?
Dear Monica & Tina,
When I started my book I thought I would include a list of every post-nominal abbreviation in the world and what each meant. But I soon realized there are so many post nominals inso many fields any list would always be incomplete. Plus, I found that if you put any mysterious post-nominal abbreviation into any search engine … the answer was instantly there.
Thus I decided to focus on how they are used … not what could be used.
On page 100 of my book I cover how to correctly sequent all types of post nominals(academic degrees, decorations, honorary degrees, professional associations & affiliations, religious orders, theological degrees, etc., etc., etc.). In your case here’s the pertinent sequence that I often see with nurses:
First Academic Degrees
Then Professional Licenses — RN is a professional license.
Then Professional Certifications
Then Professional Associations & Affiliations
If you have more than one in a category place them high to low, and you feel they are equal put them in alphabetical order.
I see you both use or consider to list RN first then your academic degree. It’s not the order typically see, so if you have a source that suggests that order — I would love to see it.
And finally, there is also a frequently cited ‘rule’ that you should not include more than three post nominals after your name. That’s a good guideline. But, often people ultimately decide on what to include depending on what is directly pertinent to the service they are offering.
— Robert Hickey
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