Nurse Certification Linked to Job Satisfaction

May 3, 2010
Nurses certified in critical care indicate greater satisfaction with their jobs and careers and report higher perceptions of empowerment than their non-certified peers, reports the first national study to examine these issues in tandem.

The study, “Certification, Empowerment, and Intent to Leave Current Position and the Profession Among Critical Care Nurses,” is based on a national online survey of more than 6,500 members of the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN). Key findings include:

Certified nurses express the highest sense of empowerment. “Significant differences were found in total empowerment scores between AACN-certified nurses and nurses not certified by AACN,” the study stated.

Critical care nurses intend to stay in their profession. A high percentage of critical care nurses (93 percent) do not intend to leave their profession. This variable, which has not previously been studied in a national sample of critical care nurses, supports recent research indicating a high level of career satisfaction among critical care nurses.

Retention remains an issue. The study found survey participants with AACN specialty certification are less likely to leave their position than their counterparts not certified by AACN. More than 41 percent of participants indicate intent to leave their current position. More than 18 percent plan to leave their position within the next year.

Perception of empowerment affects intent to leave. In all instances, nurses who do not intend to leave their position or profession expressed higher empowerment scores. Study results affirm that specialty certified nurses are more empowered and less likely to leave their current position.

“Employers will want to invest in recruiting and retaining certified nurses. Not only does attrition represent a significant unnecessary expense, certified nurses bring the knowledge, experience and confidence that are essential for high-quality patient care and smooth functioning of organizations,” said Karen Harvey, RN, MSN, AACN certification programs specialist.

The study was completed by Joyce Fitzpatrick, RN, MBA, Ph.D., FAAN, Elizabeth Brooks Ford, a professor of nursing at Case Western Reserve University, and colleagues. It appears the May issue of American Journal of Critical Care (AJCC).

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