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Constructing a Sensitizing Definition of Certification in Nursing for Research Purposes

A Hybrid Methodology Using Consensus-Building Approach

Chappell, Kathy, PhD, RN, FNAP, FAAN; Jeong, Dahn, MSc; ElChamaa, Rima, BSocSc, BHSc; Lundmark, Vicki, PhD; Kendall-Gallagher, Deborah, PhD, MS, JD, BSN; Salt, Elizabeth, PhD, RN, RP; Newhouse, Robin, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN; Johantgen, Meg, PhD, RN; Reeves, Scott, PhD; Moore, Donald, PhD, FSACM; Olson, Curtis, PhD; Van Hoof, Thomas, MD, EdD; Price, David, MD, FAAFP, FACEHP; Campbell, Craig, MD, FRCPC; Danilovich, Natalia, MD, PhD; Kitto, Simon, PhD

JONA: The Journal of Nursing Administration: January 2019 - Volume 49 - Issue 1 - p 12–18
doi: 10.1097/NNA.0000000000000701

OBJECTIVE The aim of this study was to construct a sensitizing definition of certification in nursing for research purposes that can provide a foundation from which to further develop a coherent research program building evidence about the impact of certification on healthcare outcomes.

BACKGROUND The lack of a single definition of certification in nursing makes it difficult to draw conclusions about the relationship between specialty certification and patient outcomes.

METHODS This study was guided by the Delphi-Chaffee hybrid methodology proposed by Grant et al.

DISCUSSION Constructing a single, sensitizing definition of certification: 1) provides coherency for direction of certification research; 2) serves as a guide for researchers; and 3) facilitates multimethodological approaches to exploring the relationship among the different components of the definition of certification.

CONCLUSION A sensitizing definition of certification provides an opportunity for researchers to study the relationship between nursing certification and patient outcomes.

Author Affiliations: Senior Vice President (Dr Chappell), Accreditation, Certification, Measurement, Quality, and Senior Vice President (Dr Chappell), Director (Dr Lundmark), Institute for Credentialing Research, American Nurses Credentialing Center, Silver Spring, Maryland; Research Associate (Mss Jeong and ElChamaa and Dr Danilovich), Professor (Dr Kitto), Department of Innovation in Medical Education, and Research Associate (Mss Jeong and ElChamaa and Dr Danilovich), Director of Research (Dr Kitto), Office of Continuing Professional Development, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada; Adjunct Assistant Professor (Dr Kendall-Gallagher), University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio School of Nursing; Associate Professor (Dr Salt), University of Kentucky, College of Nursing, Lexington; Distinguished Professor and Dean (Dr Newhouse), Indiana University, Indianapolis; Associate Professor (Dr Johantgen), University of Maryland, School of Nursing, Baltimore; Professor (Dr Reeves), Center for Health and Social Research, Faculty of Health, Social Care, and Education, Kingston University & St. George’s University, London, England; Director (Dr Moore), Office for Continuing Professional Development, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Director of Evaluation, Office of Undergraduate Medical Education, and Professor of Medical Education and Administration, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee; Assistant Professor (Dr Olson), Geisel School of Medicine, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire; Associate Dean and Associate Professor (Dr Van Hoof), School of Nursing, University of Connecticut, Storrs, and Associate Professor (Dr Van Hoof), Department of Community Medicine and Health Care, School of Medicine, University of Connecticut, Farmington; Associate Professor (Dr Price), School of Medicine, University of Connecticut, Mansfield, Senior Vice President, American Board of Medical Specialties Research and Education Foundation, Chicago, Illinois, Executive Director, Multi-Specialty Portfolio Program Organization, Chicago, Illinois, and Professor, Family Medicine, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora; Director (Dr Campbell), Continuing Professional Development, Office of Specialty Education, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, Ottawa, and Associate Professor, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Disclosure: Dr Kitto is a current member of the ANCC Research Council.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Correspondence: Dr Kitto, 850 Peter Morand Crescent, Rm 102M, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1G 5Z3 (

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