Building the business case for a culture of certification

Kristina Arrington Cherry, Trevor Mitchell


Certification is a measure of distinctive, specialized knowledge in nursing and demonstrates competence beyond licensure to the public, the facility, and the professional. Certification not only is significant for nursing practice but is also essential for meeting the multiple standards within the American Nurses Credentialing Center Magnet Recognition Program, the international “gold standard” signifying excellence in nursing services. It is likely that organizations that promote a “culture of certification” are better positioned in a highly competitive health care job market. At Houston Methodist Hospital we created a culture of certification by developing the Clinical Career Path program providing on-site certification preparation courses, a campaign initiative, recognition programs, and financial support. Recent literature indicate mixed findings on whether such a culture positively impacts patient and staff outcomes such as job satisfaction, retention, patient falls, and hospital-acquired urinary tract infections. There are costs associated with building a culture of certification, and without a compelling business case, the necessary resources or funding may not be made available. There is a paucity of literature on building a business case to promote a culture of certification or the financial investment required. We examined this issue and found that the creation of a culture of certification resulted in improved patient and employer outcomes. Additionally, we found a benefit-to-cost ratio greater than 1, which supports that building a culture of certification is cost beneficial; every dollar spent generates more than a dollar in benefits. This article highlights that a business case exists to support building a culture of certification by linking to patient and employer outcomes.

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Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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