Credentialing for public health nurses: personally valued ... But not well recognized.

OBJECTIVE: This study examined the extent to which public health nurses (PHNs) see value in credentialing and perceive specific barriers related to a community/public health nursing (C/PHN) credential.
DESIGN: A cross-sectional exploratory survey was used to examine the perceived value of credentialing for PHNs and the perceived barriers to obtaining or maintaining the C/PHN credential as the primary variables of interest.
SAMPLE: Data were collected from 655 PHN members of national public health nursing organizations who participated in an online survey.
MEASUREMENT: Responses related to the perceived value of credentialing were analyzed using factor analysis and descriptive statistics. Data regarding perceived barriers to the C/PHN credential were analyzed through descriptive statistics and through the Borda Count Method for analysis of ranked data (Tannenbaum, 1995).
RESULTS: Similar to nurses in other specialties, study participants perceived that credentialing has a high personal value for PHNs, but that certification provides less value in terms of extrinsic recognition. Respondents identified issues related to the lack of external recognition as particular barriers to the C/PHN credential.
CONCLUSIONS: These findings provide guidance to public health nursing leaders and inform discussions regarding the development of credentialing systems within the field of public health