Date of Conferral



Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)




Deborah A. Lewis


Increased responsibilities for patient care within the nursing profession leads one to examine the correlation between nursing care and patient satisfaction. Current evidence indicates that higher levels of nursing education are associated with better patient outcomes. The literature further demonstrates that increased expertise and certification within a nursing specialty leads to increased nursing empowerment, improved intrinsic value and better collaborative relationships. However, the relationship between certification status and patient satisfaction remain unclear. This systematic review sought to understand the relationship between nursing certification and patient satisfaction. Guided by Rogers' diffusion of innovation theory this project examined the peer-reviewed literature using the databases PubMed, CINAHL and Cochrane Reviews. Keywords used were patient satisfaction, nursing certification and patient perception of certification. The Cochrane methodology and Melnyk's levels of evidence were used to analyze the articles identified. Articles published prior to 2002 were excluded from the review as were those not in English; 17 articles were included in the review. Ten articles met Melnyk's criteria for Evidence Levels V-VII, 6 met the criteria for Levels III-IV, 1 was Level II. The analysis of evidence supported a positive relationship between nurse certification, patient satisfaction and patient outcomes. This project is important for nurses who are considering certification and those who seek to improve patient satisfaction. The information discovered is hoped to impact social change by providing a better understanding of the relationship between certification and improved patient satisfaction.

Included in

Nursing Commons