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

9 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 (US)
Pages (from-to)238-246
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Nursing Administration
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2018
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Leadership and Management


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