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ABNS and partners American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN) and AACN Certification Corporation sponsored a national research project that examined trends in specialty certification of RNs in acute care hospitals using the National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators® (NDNQI®). NDNQI is a unique data source that includes an annual survey of direct care registered nurses (RNs) in acute care hospitals. Among the data collected in the RN Survey are self-reported nursing specialty certification and demographic characteristics. About half of NDNQI member hospitals participate in the RN Survey each year. RNs are eligible to participate in the survey if they spend at least 50% of their time in direct patient care and have been on their respective units at least 3 months. Agency, contract, and traveler RNs are excluded. In 2010, 303,221 registered nurses participated in the survey from 17,714 units in 849 hospitals. The average unit response rate for RNs was 71%.

Since September 2006, the NDNQI RN survey has gathered specific nursing specialty certifications that meet the following criteria:

  • Program credentials are accredited by either the Accreditation Board of Specialty Nursing Certification (ABSNC) or the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA).
  • Certification can be held by RNs only (i.e., certification cannot be held by other professions or occupations, such as diabetes educators).
  • Certification is relevant to RNs in direct care (for example, nursing administration certifications are excluded).

This research project was conducted by Dr. Diane Boyle, the NDNQI principal investigator, and her team at the University of Kansas, Schools of Medicine and Nursing.

The study sought to:

  • Identify trends related to specialty certified RNs in acute care hospitals from 2003 to 2009.
  • Identify specialty certification trends that are related to the hospital structure characteristics of Magnet® status, staffed bed size, ownership, teaching status, and location.
  • Identify specialty certification trends among different unit types.

This study provided data on hospital inpatient units. For patient care units with at least 5 years of specialty certification data, the study examined the association between trends in the unit and hospital prevalence of specialty certified RNs (defined as unit percent of RNs with national specialty certification) and nursing processes and patient outcomes.

ABNS – American Board of Nursing Specialties

Regarding Verification of Credentials
ABNS does not verify certification credentials of individual certified nurses. To verify a credential, contact the certifying agency that granted the credential. ABNS does not administer certification programs.

This website contains information specific to specialty nursing certification and is not intended or designed to give medical or nursing advice.

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