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Differences in Perceptions of Empowerment Among Nationally Certified and Noncertified Nurses

Piazza, Irene M. DNP, RN, OCN, AOCNS; Donahue, Moreen DNP, RN, CNA, BC; Dykes, Patricia C. DNSc, RN; Griffin, Mary Quinn PhD, RN; Fitzpatrick, Joyce J. PhD, RN, FAAN

JONA: The Journal of Nursing Administration: May 2006 - Volume 36 - Issue 5 - p 277-283

Objective: To examine the difference in perceptions of empowerment between nurses who were nationally certified and those who were not.

Background: Nurses are encouraged to obtain certification in their specialty. The focus of most nursing research on certification has been on motivation to acquire certification and perceived benefits of certification. Research related to empowerment indicates that access to empowerment structures results in achievement and success.

Methods: This descriptive comparative study used the Conditions of Work Effectiveness II Questionnaire to measure registered nurses' perceptions of empowerment. Certification status was recorded on the demographic section of the questionnaire.

Results: Significant differences were noted in empowerment scores for certified and noncertified nurses as measured by the Conditions of Work Effectiveness II Questionnaire. Findings suggest that nurses who are certified have higher perceptions of empowerment. Certification may increase nurses' perceptions of empowerment and therefore improve work effectiveness.

Conclusion: Certified nurses in this study had increased access to job-related power and opportunity structures. Certification provides recognition of the nurses' knowledge and expertise in the specialty area which in turn is empowering. Organizations that support and recognize this achievement may experience improved turnover and retention rates.

Authors' affiliations: Oncology Clinical Nurse Specialist (Dr Piazza), Senior Vice President for Patient Services (Dr Donahue), Greenwich Hospital, Greenwich, Conn; Senior Nurse Informatician (Dr Dykes), Partners HealthCare, Wellesley, Mass; Assistant Professor (Dr Quinn Griffin), Elizabeth Brooks Ford Professor (Dr Fitzpatrick), Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio.

Corresponding author: Dr Piazza, Greenwich Hospital, 5 Perryridge Road, Greenwich, CT 06830 (

© 2006 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.