First Advisor

Stoeckel, Pamella

Thesis Committee Member(s)

Stoeckel, Pamella


Rueckert-Hartman College for Health Professions

Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice


Loretto Heights School of Nursing

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Number of Pages

52 pages


Abstract Nursing certification is designed to assess a nurse's comprehensive knowledge within their specialty area through standardized testing (ANCC, 2013). In order to obtain Medical Surgical Certification (CMSRN) applicants must have a minimum of two years of experience as a registered nurse in a medical-surgical setting, have an unencumbered RN license, and pay the required registration fee in order to sit for the exam. Many institutions are requiring nurses to have specialty certification before advancing in rank or receiving additional compensation. This capstone project examined nurses' perceptions of medical surgical nursing at one large urban hospital in the South. A qualitative key informant design was used to interview a purposive sample of ten nurses who had achieved medical surgical certification for a minimum of five years. The nurse researcher conducted individual 45 minute face-to-face interviews that were recorded, transcribed, and coded for themes using constant comparative analysis. Seven major themes emerged from the interviews: Reasons for Pursuing Certification, Passing the Exam, Effect on Caring for Patients, Changed Interactions with Peers, Personal Benefits to Certification, Costs of Certification, Institutional Recognition, and Institutional Advancement. Key Words: DNP Capstone Project, certification, nursing practice, professional development, CMSRN.

Date of Award

Fall 2014

Location (Creation)

Colorado (state); Denver (county); Denver (inhabited place)

Rights Statement

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