Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master Of Science In Nursing

Colleges & School

Ruth S. Coleman College Of Nursing And Health Sciences

First Advisor

Ruth M. Waite, PhD, RN

Library of Congress Subject Heading

Nurses--Certification; Nurse administrators


This quantitative descriptive research addresses how nurse executives in the state of Wisconsin hospitals reward and promote certification in their institutions. Data was gathered through use of a mailed survey. Of the 57 surveys sent, 32 were returned for a 56% response rate. The theoretical framework for this study is Herzberg's Work Motivation Theory (Herzberg, Mausner, & Bloch Snyderman, 1959). This researcher feels that this theory is a strong theoretical framework for this study because according to the literature nurses seek certification for primarily intrinsic reasons such as personal growth, to feel more satisfied, for personal challenge and to be recognized as a specialist. The majority of hospitals do not require certification in any areas. The majority of nurse executives promote certification by paying for the exam and reward certification through verbal praise. Those who promote certification do so because they believe certification demonstrates nursing knowledge in specialty area and it recognizes attained skill in specialty practice area. The significant t-test results (significance level <.05) are as follows. Nurse executives who are certified (mean=4.00) are significantly more likely to work in institutions that support their position on certification then are non-certified nurse executives (mean=3.00)(p=. 013). Executives who did not report barriers to certification promotion in their institutions (mean=4.27) were found to place significantly higher value on certification to the institution than those who reported barriers in their institutions . (mean=3.45)(p=. 008). The data reveals useful information on the practices and rationale of nurse executives regarding certification. Research in the area of nursing certification related to nursing education needs to be conducted to examine whether nurse educators in staff development, nursing education and client education should be certified in a nursing specialty. Further, research must be done to examine the impact of nursing certification on patient outcomes. Until this pivotal piece of research is performed the value (or lack of value) of nursing certification cannot fully be understood.


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