Common acronyms in nursing

What do those letters mean? Explore many of the acronyms in pediatrics, nursing, and certification.

Glossary of Acronyms

Learn more about a variety of common acronyms related to the nursing industry and certification. See something missing? Let us know about an acronym you would like listed at

AACN: American Association of Colleges of Nursing —OR— American Association of Critical-Care Nurses

AAFP: American Academy of Family Practice

AAMN: American Assembly for Men in Nursing

AAN: American Academy of Nursing

AANP: American Association of Nurse Practitioners

AANPCB: American Association of Nurse Practitioners Certification Board

AAP: American Academy of Pediatrics

ABNS: American Board of Nursing Specialties

ABSNC: Accreditation Board for Specialty Nursing Certification

AC: Acute Care

ACAPN: Association of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nurses

ACEN: Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing

ACN: Association of Camp Nurses

ACNN: Association of Child Neurology Nurses

AE-C: Certified Asthma Educator

AFPNP: Association of Faculties of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners

ANA: American Nurses Association

ANCC: American Nurses Credentialing Center

ANSI: American National Standards Institute

AONE: American Organization of Nurse Executives

APN: Advanced Practice Nurse (same as APRN)

APHON: Association of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Nurses

APNA: American Psychiatric Nurses Association

APRN: Advanced Practice Registered Nurse

APSNA: American Pediatric Surgical Nurses Association

BSN: Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing

C-NPT: Certified Pediatric Neonatal Transport

CCNE: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

CCRN: Certification for Adult, Pediatric, and Neonatal Critical Care Nurses

CCRNR: Canadian Council of Registered Nurse Regulators

CCTF: Continuing Competence Task Force

CDC: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

CE: Continuing Education

CEU: Continuing Education Units

CFNP: Certified Family Nurse Practitioner

CHA: Children’s Hospital Association [formerly National Association of Children’s Hospitals and Related Institutions (NACHRI)]

CME: Continuing Medical Education

CNE: Continuing Nursing Education

CNS: Clinical Nurse Specialist

CPEN®: Certified Pediatric Emergency Nurse

CPN®: Certified Pediatric Nurse

CPHON: Certified Pediatric Hematology Oncology Nurse

CPON: Certified Pediatric Oncology Nurse

CPNP-AC®: Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner - Acute Care

CPNP-PC®: Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner - Primary Care

DNP: Doctorate of Nursing Practice

DNS: Doctor of Nursing Science (also seen as DSN, DNSc, or DScN)

ENA: Emergency Nurses Association

FAAN: Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing

FAANP: Fellow of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners

FACHE: Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives

FCCM: Fellow of the American College of Critical Care Medicine

FNE: Forensic Nurse Examiner

IBCLC: International Board Certified Lactation Consultant

ICE: Institute for Credentialing Excellence

IPN: Institute of Pediatric Nursing

IW: Item Writer/Writing

IWW: Item Writer Workshop

JCAHO: Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations

JTA: Job Task Analysis

LPN: Licensed Practical Nurse

LVN: Licensed Vocational Nurse 

MSN: Master of Science in Nursing

NAPNAP: National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners

NASEM: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering & Medicine [formerly the Institute of Medicine (IOM)]

NASN: National Association of School Nurses

NBCSN: National Board for Certification of School Nurses

NCBPNP/N: National Certification Board of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners and Nurses, the former name of Pediatric Nursing Certification Board

NCCA: National Council for Certifying Agencies

NCLEX-PN: National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses

NCLEX-RN: National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses

NCSBN: National Council of State Boards of Nursing

NCSN: Nationally Certified School Nurse

NCQA: National Commission for Quality Assurance

NLN: National League for Nursing

NNP-BC: Certified Neonatal Nurse Practitioner

NONPF: National Organization for Nurse Practitioner Faculties

NPNP: PNCB's No Pass, No Pay Program for CPN Certification

PA: Physician's Assistant

PALS: Pediatric Advanced Life Support

PC: Primary Care

PCICS: The Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Society

PCNS-BC: Clinical Nurse Specialist in Pediatrics — Board Certified (Exam retired by ANCC)

PENS: Pediatric Endocrinology Nursing Society

PharmD: Doctor of Pharmacy

PMHS®: Pediatric Primary Care Mental Health Specialist

PN: Practical Nurse

PNP-BC: Pediatric Nurse Practitioner - Board Certified

RDS: Role Delineation Study/Survey to assess changes in role or tasks for a member of a profession. May be used instead of a job study analysis.

RN: Registered Nurse

RN-BC: Registered Nurse - Board Certified by ANCC

SANE-A®: Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner - Adult/Adolescent

SANE-P®: Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner - Pediatric

SPN: Society of Pediatric Nurses

Faces of Certification

PNCB-certified nursing professionals work in a variety of roles and settings throughout the US and beyond. Share your photo today!

Tyneisha Orr, CPNP-PC Children's Hospital & Medical Center Omaha, NE
Amairani Jimenez, CPN Tripler Army Medical Center Honolulu, Hawaii
Gia Nguyen, CPNP-AC St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Arlington, VA
View more Faces of Certification