AAPACN is dedicated to supporting post-acute care nurses provide quality care.

How Do I Know If I’m Ready for the Director of Nursing Services – Certified (DNS-CT) Certification?

Nursing certification is a valuable asset to improve your career and your facility’s performance. Are you a director of nursing services (DNS) ready to take your skills and knowledge to the next level with the Directors of Nursing Services—Certified (DNS-CT) certification? To help answer that question, the experts at the American Association of Post-Acute Care Nursing (AAPACN) put together a list of questions for you to evaluate your level of knowledge and readiness.

1. How long have you been a director of nursing services (DNS)?

AAPACN recommends that you have at least six months to a year of experience as a DNS or relevant nursing leadership experience before taking the DNS-CT certification. If you are very new to your DNS role, you may want to consider taking Nurse Leader Fundamentals first, which will give you the foundational knowledge you need to succeed as a DNS. Nurse Leader Fundamentals includes several tools to help get you organized as a DNS. If you are interested, the tools are also sold separately.

2. How long have you been in post-acute care?

AAPACN recommends that you have two years of full-time post-acute care experience before starting the DNS-CT certification.

3. Do you hold a current registered nurse (RN) license?

Holding a current RN license is a requirement of DNS-CT certification. For more certification requirements, review the DNS-CT Candidate Handbook.

4. Do you feel ready for an in-depth continuing education program that will challenge you to look at the following knowledge domains of the DNS role?

  • Leadership & Management
  • Risk Management
  • Quality Assurance and Performance Improvement
  • Human Resource Management
  • Survey Readiness
  • Survey Management and Enforcement
  • Compliance and Ethics Essentials
  • Essential Business Skills
  • MDS and Medicare Process Essentials
  • Care Management and Surveillance Systems

5. Are you looking to grow and develop professionally and prove you have what it takes to be a DNS?

By taking the DNS-CT certification, you will not only challenge yourself, but you will demonstrate to others that you have the knowledge and skills to lead your team.

Member feedback on the DNS-CT certification:

“The course content was greater than I ever imagined.”Ada Ezeama, RN, MSN, manager of nursing services, Rhode Island Veterans Home

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