Medical-Surgical Nursing Certification

Smiling Brown Haired Nurse Looking at Camera

AMSN Position Statement




  • The Certified Medical-Surgical Registered Nurse (CMSRN®) exam incorporates current nursing science and evidenced-based practices that the medical-surgical nurse consistently applies in practice to achieve desired patient outcomes across the continuum of care.   
  • The CMSRN exam validates the expertise and knowledge of the medical surgical nurse and promotes medical-surgical nursing as a unique specialty.  
  • The CMSRN credential recognizes that the highest standards of medical surgical nursing practice have been achieved.
  • The CMSRN exam is the only medical-surgical certification exam endorsed by AMSN.
  • Health care facilities and leaders should recognize the value of the medical-surgical nurse as a specialist and promote certification as part of the medical-surgical nurse's career development plan.


AMSN members requested a certification that indicated the medical-surgical nursing specialty in the credential. AMSN initiated the Medical-Surgical Nursing Certification Board (MSNCB) as an autonomous affiliate for the coordination of a certification exam in medical-surgical nursing to validate knowledge in the specialty and offer such a credential.  

The CMSRN examination received accreditation by the Accreditation Board for Specialty Nursing Certification (ABSNC) in January of 2009 and has reaccredited every five years since then, most recently in 2018. The ABSNC is the only accrediting body specifically for nursing certification. The ABSNC accreditation of the CMSRN credential demonstrates “compliance with the highest quality standards available in the industry”1.


Medical-Surgical certification benefits the individual, the profession, and the public through the promotion of quality patient care, evaluation of the standards of medical-surgical nursing practice and documentation of this specialized knowledge base.

AMSN supports certification as a commitment to safe, evidence-based, holistic care which results in desired patient outcomes. AMSN agrees that the certification credential should reflect the nursing specialty in which the nurse is certified.


Certification is the formal recognition of the specialized knowledge, skills, and experience demonstrated by the achievement of standards identified by a nursing specialty to promote optimal health outcomes (ABNS, 2005)   

Nursing Science is the resulted knowledge obtained through rigorous testing of empirical theories and models (Chinn & Kramer, 2011)


Updated April 2020


Join AMSN Today

RespArray™ Patient Monitor

Med-Surg Monitoring