National Academy of Medicine

Challenges and Opportunities in Nurse Credentialing Research Design

By Matthew D. McHugh, Richard E. Hawkins, Paul E. Mazmanian, Patrick S. Romano, Herbert L. Smith, Joanne Spetz
August 19, 2014 | Discussion Paper

Many of the approximately 3 million registered nurses (RNs) in the U.S (IOM, 2011; HRSA, 2013) pursue additional credentials beyond their basic nursing education. Health care organizations, such as hospitals or nursing homes, also pursue credentials. The intent of credentialing is to demonstrate that a nurse or institution has met established standards that can be uniformly tested and validated. For example, individual nurses often pursue certification in a particular area of nursing, such as critical care or oncology, to establish their competence. Organizations may pursue an accreditation that distinguishes them as having specific characteristics related to quality, services provided, and/or their mission. Health care institutions and organizations, for example, can pursue accreditation through the Joint Commission, which confirms that the institution has met safety and quality standards. The Magnet Recognition Program of the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) recognizes organizations that demonstrate professional nurse work environments associated with high-quality nursing and good patient outcomes.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed in this paper are those of the authors and not necessarily of the authors’ organizations, the National Academy of Medicine (NAM), or the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (the National Academies). The paper is intended to help inform and stimulate discussion. It is not a report of the NAM or the National Academies. Copyright by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.