Conceptualization and operationalization of certification in the US and Canadian nursing literature

Kathy Chappell, Rima Elchamaa, Dahn Jeong, Deborah Kendall-Gallagher, Elizabeth Salt, Scott Reeves, Donald Moore, Curtis Olson, Thomas Van Hoof, Vicki Lundmark, Natalia Danilovich, Simon Kitto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE To identify how certification is defined, conceptualized, and discussed in the nursing literature. BACKGROUND Although it is hypothesized that credentialing is associated with better patient outcomes, the evidence is relatively limited. Some authors have suggested that the lack of consistency used to define certification in nursing literature may be one of the dominant obstacles in credentialing research. METHODS This scoping review was guided by Arksey and O'Malley's framework, and quantitative and qualitative analyses were conducted. RESULTS The final data set contained a total of 36 articles, of which 14 articles provided a referenced definition of certification. Thematic analysis of the definitions yielded 8 dominant themes. CONCLUSION The lack of a common definition of certification in nursing must be addressed to advance research into the relationship between certification processes in nursing and healthcare outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)238-246
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Nursing Administration
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Authors Affiliations: Senior Vice President (Dr Chappell), Accreditation, Certification, and Measurement, and Director (Dr Lundmark), Institute for Credentialing Research, American Nurses Credentialing Center, Silver Spring, Maryland; Research Associates (Mss ElChamaa and Jeong and Dr Danilovich), Professor (Dr Kitto), Department of Innovation in Medical Education and Office of Continuing Professional Development, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada; Adjunct Assistant Professor (Dr Gallagher), University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio School of Nursing; Associate Professor (Dr Salt), University of Kentucky, College of Nursing, Lexington; Professor (Dr Reeves), Center for Health and Social Research, Faculty of Health, Social Care, and Education, Kingston University & St George"s University, London, England; Associate Professor (Dr Van Hoof), School of Nursing and school of Medicine, University of Connecticut, Mansfield; Director (Dr Moore), Division of Continuing Medical Education and Medical Education and Administration, and Director, Evaluation and Education, Office of Graduate Medical Education, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee; Assistant Professor, (Dr Olson), Geisel School of Medicine, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Leadership and Management


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