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A Longitudinal Analysis of Nursing Specialty Certification by Magnet® Status and Patient Unit Type

Boyle, Diane K. PhD, RN; Gajewski, Byron J. PhD; Miller, Peggy A. PhD, RN

Journal of Nursing Administration: December 2012 - Volume 42 - Issue 12 - p 567–573
doi: 10.1097/NNA.0b013e318274b581

The objective of this study was to examine nursing specialty certification trends by Magnet® status and unit type. Research exploring organizational and unit attributes associated with higher specialty certification rates is timely given the beginning evidence that certification is associated with lower patient adverse events. The sample included 6047 units in 1249 National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators hospitals. Hierarchical linear modeling was used to predict growth in percentage of specialty-certified RNs within each unit type and Magnet status. Data (Bayesian Information Criteria = 224 583.30) demonstrated significant growth in specialty certification rates over time (P < .0001). Magnet-designated organizations had significantly different starting certification rates (P = .0002) and rates of change (P = .0002). Unit types also had significantly different starting certification rates (P < .0001) and different rates of change (P < .0001). Magnet recognition is associated with increases in specialty certification rates. Certification rates have risen faster in unit types such as pediatric critical care than in unit types such as adult step-down and adult surgical.

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Author Affiliations: Associate Professor (Dr Boyle) and Research Assistant Professor (Dr Miller), School of Nursing, University of Kansas and Professor (Dr Gajewski), Schools of Medicine and Nursing, Department of Biostatistics, University of Kansas.

Grant funding was received from American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) Certification Corporation and the AACN, American Board of Nursing Specialties, American Board of Certification for Gastroenterology Nurses, American Board of Neuroscience Nursing, American Board for Occupational Health Nurses, American Board of Perianesthesia Nursing Certification, American Organization of Nurse Executives–Credentialing Center, Applied Measurement Professionals, Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing, Canadian Nurses Association Certification Program, Castle Worldwide, Center for Nursing Education and Testing, Citizen Advocacy Center, Competency & Credentialing Institute, Infusion Nurses Certification Corporation, Medical-Surgical Nursing Certification Board, National Alliance of Wound Care Certification Board, National Board for Certification of Hospice and Palliative Nurses, National Board of Certification and Recertification of Nurse Anesthetists, National Board for Certification of School Nurses, National Certification Board for Diabetes Educators, Nephrology Nursing Certification Commission, Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation, Orthopaedic Nurses Certification Board, Pediatric Nursing Certification Board, Professional Examination Service, Rehabilitation Nursing Certification Board, and Wound, Ostomy, and Continence Nursing Certification Board.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Correspondence: Dr Boyle, School of Nursing, University of Kansas, 3901 Rainbow Blvd, Mailstop 3060, Kansas City, KS 66160 (

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© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.