Study Links Nursing Certifications and Surgical Outcomes

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Study Links Nursing Certifications and Surgical Outcomes

More credentials = fewer infections

By Elizabeth Hanink, RN, BSN, PHN
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Most nurses have long recognized the value of specialty nursing certification. There is now a growing body of quantifiable evidence to support that opinion.

A new study conducted by the National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators (NDNQI) and the University of Kansas has found a strong correlation between specialty certification for direct care perioperative nurses and better patient outcomes. The study, published in the November 2014 issue of AORN Journal, examined the frequency of certain common surgical complications in 447 surgical and surgical intensive care units nationwide.

Researchers correlated those results with the units’ rates of four common perioperative nursing certifications: CAPA (certified ambulatory perianesthesia nurse), CPAN (certified post-anesthesia nurse), CNOR (certified nurse operating room) and CRNFA (certified RN first assistant).

Not all complications studied showed statistically significant improvements with higher certification rates, but researchers found that a 10 percent increase in the number of CPAN, CNOR or CRNFA certifications in a unit correlated with an 8 to 16 percent reduction in central line associated bloodstream infection rates.

Study coauthor James Stobinski, RN, Ph.D., CNOR, says, “Specialty certification should be considered … as a mechanism to ensure the proper protocols are being followed, providing patients with the best care available and keeping associated costs as low as possible.”

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