Predictors Of Specialty Certification Among Pediatric Hospital Nurses

Abstract [from journal]

Aims and objectives: To evaluate differences in hospitals' proportion of specialty certified nurses and to determine whether and to what extent individual nurse characteristics and organizational hospital characteristics are associated with a nurse's likelihood of having specialty certification.

Background: Prior research has shown that patients in hospitals with high proportions of specialty certified nurses have better outcomes including lower mortality and fewer adverse events; yet less is known about what motivates nurses to obtain specialty certification.

Methods and design: Cross-sectional study of pediatric nurses in 119 acute care hospitals. Multivariate logistic regression models were used to determine the association between individual nurse characteristics, organizational hospital characteristics, and an individual nurses' likelihood of holding a specialty certification. STROBE was followed.

Results: The proportion of certified nurses varies substantially among hospitals, with Magnet® hospitals being significantly more likely, on average, to have higher proportions of certified nurses. Nurses in children's hospitals were no more likely than pediatric nurses in general hospitals to be certified. A nurse's years of experience and bachelors-preparation were significantly associated with higher odds of having certification. The strongest predictors of certification were favorable nurse work environments and Magnet®-designation of the hospital.

Conclusions: While individual attributes of the nurse were associated with a nurse's likelihood of having a specialty certification, the strongest predictors of certification were modifiable attributes of the hospital-a favorable nurse work environment and Magnet®-designation.

Relevance to clinical practice: Hospital administrators seeking to increase the proportion of specialty certified nurses in their organization should look to improvements in the organization's nurse work environment as a possible mechanism.