Background: Nursing is the largest health care profession in the United States, and as such employment and professional development trends for this group are instructive. A significant ratio of individuals holding the vascular access-board certified credential are registered nurses. A large portion of the nursing workforce holds specialty certification, but this process is mainly voluntary and heavily dependent on the motivation of individual nurses. Certification rates among registered nurses lag behind other health care professions such as medicine.

Review of Literature: A summary of recent research centered on nursing certification is presented and divided into 3 major categories: value of certification perceived by nurses, traits associated with certification, and relationship between nursing certification and patient outcomes.

Conclusions: Although there are many studies available on nursing certification, additional work in the field is needed to promote and show benefits of specialty nursing certifications.

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