McNeill, Jeanette D.

Committee Member

Parker, Carlo G.

Committee Member

Sullivan, Katherine Louise

Committee Member

Weil, Joyce


School of Nursing


University of Northern Colorado

Type of Resources


Place of Publication

Greeley (Colo.)


University of Northern Colorado

Date Created



182 pages

Digital Origin

Born digital


The seminal publication To Err is Human focused on designing healthcare processes to ensure safe patient outcomes (IOM, 2000). That report identified board certification of health professionals as one way to improve patient care quality and safety (IOM, 2000). Current discussions within the nursing profession regarding professional development have recognized value in specialty certification post-licensure, but the research on the perceived value of specialty certification has been limited among nurse educators. This study utilized the Perceived Value of Certification Tool (PVCT) to examine whether nursing faculty perceive value in certification and whether that perception is shared in the educational setting. This study utilized the Expanded Conceptual Model to explore specialty certification broadly by including the factors that influence whether a graduate registered nurse pursues certification (Needleman, Dittus, Pittman, Spetz, & Newhouse, 2014). This study was also informed by the Explanatory Model of Professional Socialization in Nursing (Edens, 1987) and The Novice to Expert Model (Benner, 1984). The study sample consisted of 122 nursing faculty who were recruited via social media and direct email to complete the PVCT and the demographic survey. The sample consisted of faculty who taught in a BSN program (n = 78, 64.9%), were certified (n = 76, 62.3%) and are members of a professional organization (n = 109, 89%). The PVCT has shown to be reliable in multiple studies, revealing a Cronbach’s α = .92 to .94; the reliability in this sample was consistent, at α = 0.914. PVCT scores demonstrated that the majority of this sample of nurse educators (81%) do perceive value in specialty certification. In open ended responses, certification was also recognized as being associated with other activities of professional behavior (n = 90/134) however, it was not the primary characteristic reported by faculty. In this case, nurse faculty shared they value specialty certification, but speak to students more often about life-long learning and the importance of continuing education or professional development. This study provided an understanding that nurse educators generally perceive there is value in specialty certification and they share that information with students in both the clinical and classroom setting. Future research in nursing education could investigate perceptions of the student and the graduate nurse on the value of specialty certification. Lastly, there is an opportunity for collaboration between nurse educators and professional organizations that offer an undergraduate education toolkit to examine the use of these type of kits in nursing education or the role they might play in student outcomes.

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