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  1. Weiss, Marianne DNSc, RN
  2. Johantgen, Meg PhD, RN


OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to describe the scope and availability of certification data available for use in research about the value of specialty nurse certification.


BACKGROUND: Research about nurse certification and patient outcomes has been hindered by issues related to accuracy, completeness, reliability, and availability of certification data at the individual nurse level. An assessment of data elements and processes is needed to prepare recommendations about certification data standards.


METHODS: Electronic surveys were used to collect information about certification-related data elements and processes, and accessibility in practice settings that employ certified nurses and organizations that certify nurses.


RESULTS: One hundred thirty-six surveys were returned. Certification-related data are collected in many practice settings but with duplicative processes and distributed storage in multiple data systems. Varying data collection intervals and verification inconsistencies threaten data accuracy. Accessibility for research is a challenge.


CONCLUSIONS: Recommendations were developed to address each of the key findings of the study.