The Medical-Surgical Nursing Certification Board (MSNCB) is a professional organization whose mission is to validate excellence in medical-surgical nursing.

In 2014, the AMSN Board of Directors commissioned a task force of members to describe the distinguishing characteristics of medical-surgical nursing practice. The definition was revised in 2019 to reflect the changing practice landscape and will continue to be refined as the practice evolves:

“Medical-surgical nursing is the single largest nursing specialty in the United States and beyond. Medical-surgical nurses provide care to adults with a variety of medical issues or who are preparing for/recovering from surgery. They have a broad knowledge base and are experts in their practice. Medical-surgical nurses have advanced organizational, prioritization, assessment and communication skills and are leaders in coordinating care among the interprofessional health care team.

Medical-surgical nursing is practiced in several settings across the health care industry, including hospitals, outpatient settings, in homes, via telemedicine and other non-traditional settings. The specialty of medical-surgical nursing happens in almost every care environment because medical-surgical nursing is what you practice, not where.”

We administer the Certified Medical-Surgical Registered Nurse (CMSRN®) program because certification is the recognized path for registered nurses to build and demonstrate commitment, confidence, and credibility.

Certification provides an added credential beyond licensure. It demonstrates, by examination, that the Registered Nurse adheres to specialized nursing standards and has acquired a core body of specialized knowledge in their practice or specialty.

The CMSRN Exam Blueprint

MSNCB believes:

  • Medical-surgical nursing is a specialty with a distinct body of evidence-based knowledge.
  • Certified registered nurses positively impact patient outcomes.
  • Certified registered nurses know and apply evidence-based practice and research.
  • Obtaining certification empowers registered nurses to develop and use their leadership talents.
  • As an organization, we should continually strive for relevance, accessibility, fairness, and innovation.
  • Every applicant should have a positive experience with MSNCB, feeling understood, respected, supported, and encouraged.

Our vision is that MSNCB certification are universally valued as essential to positive patient outcomes.

Board of Directors

Meet the MSNCB Board of Directors.

Strategic Plan

The Medical-Surgical Nursing Certification Board (MSNCB) strategic plan provides direction to the organization. It declares the mission, vision, and core beliefs of MSNCB, and provides the initiatives to achieve them.

MSNCB developed its current strategic plan in March 2013 after surveying our certificants, non-certified members of the Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses, and managers. The strategic plan is evaluated and updated annually.

View the MSNCB Strategic Plan.

Relationship with AMSN

MSNCB and Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses (AMSN) work closely together to provide professional development to all medical-surgical nurses.

Our Story

MSNCB is proud of its accomplishments since 2002. Learn about our major milestones.