Journal Club
Open Access Article

The Value of Oncology Nursing Certification

Carlton G. Brown

Cynthia Miller Murphy

Vicki Norton

Patricia Donahue Baldwin

Julie Ann Ponto

nursing education
CJON 2010, 14(6), E63-E69. DOI: 10.1188/10.CJON.E63-E69

The attainment of oncology nursing certification indicates that a nurse has the knowledge and expertise to competently care for patients with an actual or potential diagnosis of cancer. Research regarding the value nurses associate with certification is lacking; therefore, the Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation participated in a national study led by the American Board of Nursing Specialties Research Committee to explore the value of certification in a sample of certified and noncertified nurses and nurse managers. A total of 940 oncology nurses participated and completed a demographic survey and the Perceived Value of Certification Tool. Most were Caucasian women, with a mean age of 54 years; 36% were staff nurses, 19% were nurse managers, and 10% were advanced practice nurses. A high value of certification was reported. Barriers to certification included cost issues and lack of institutional reward and support. Benefits included institutional reimbursement and listing certification credentials on name badges or business cards. Both certified and noncertified nurses value certification. Increasing institutional recognition and financial support could improve nurse certification rates and ultimately may result in improved patient care.

Jump to a section


    American Association of Critical-Care Nurses & AACN Certification Corporation. (2002). Safeguarding the patient and the profession. The value of critical care nurse certification [Executive summary]. Retrieved from
    American Board of Nursing Specialties. (2009). ABNS homepage. Retrieved from
    Byrne, M., Valentine, W., & Carter, S. (2004). The value of certification—A research journey. AORN Journal, 79, 825-835.
    Coleman, E. A., Coon, S. K., Lockhart, K., Kennedy, R. L., Montgomery, R., Copeland, N., … Stewart, C. (2009). Effect of certification in oncology nursing on nursing-sensitive outcomes. Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing, 13, 165-172. doi: 10.1188/09.CJON.165-172
    Coleman, E. A., Frank-Stromborg, M., Hughes, L. C., Grindel, C. G., Ward, S., Berry, D., … Murphy, C. M. (1999). A national survey of certified, recertified, and noncertified oncology nurses: Comparisons and contrasts. Oncology Nursing Forum, 26, 839-849.
    Frank-Stromborg, M., Ward, S., Hughes, L., Brown, K., Coleman, A., Grindel, C. G., & Murphy, C. M. (2002). Does certification status of oncology nurses make a difference in patient outcomes? Oncology Nursing Forum, 29, 665-672. doi: 10.1188/02.ONF.665-672
    Gaberson, K. B., Schroeter, K., Killen, A. R., & Valentine, W. A. (2003). Perceived value of certification by certified perioperative nurses. Nursing Outlook, 51, 272-276.
    McClain, N., Richardson, B., & Wyatt, J. S. (2004). Credentialing and professionalism in pediatric nursing—A profile of certification for pediatric nurses. Pediatric Nursing, 30, 207-211.
    Niebuhr, B., & Biel, M. (2007). The value of specialty nursing certification. Nursing Outlook, 55, 176-181. doi: 10.1016/j.outlook.2007.02.002
    Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation. (2010). 2011 oncology nursing certification test bulletin. Retrieved from
    Redd, M. L., & Alexander, J. W. (1997). Does certification mean better performance? Nursing Management, 28(2), 45-49.
    Sechrist, K. R., & Berlin, L. E. (2006). Psychometric analysis of the Perceived Value of Certification Tool. Journal of Professional Nursing, 22, 248-252. doi: 10.1016/j.profnurs.2005.11.006
    Sechrist, K. R., Valentine, W., & Berlin, L. E. (2006). Perceived value of certification among certified, noncertified, and administrative perioperative nurses. Journal of Professional Nursing, 22, 242-247. doi: 10.1016/j.profnurs.2005.11.001