Research Shows the Public Values of Specialty Certification 

75% of adults think it is important for all nurses to have a specialty board certification in a relevant field, according to the American Board of Nursing Specialties (ABNS). 

Nurses tend to understand the value of specialty certification but defining the value to employers and patients is  more difficult. 

“The ABNS membership represents more than one million registered nurses who believe in the value of the certifications they hold,”

Janie Schumaker, MBA, RN, CEN, CENP, CPHQ, FABC, President of the American Board of Nursing Specialties (ABNS).

“Reaching employers and the public with this message and, more importantly, understanding how they view specialty certification is the next step.” Schumaker has served as the President of the ABNS since 2019 in addition to her role as the Chief Executive Officer of Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing (BCEN), a certifying agency offering five specialty certifications.  “Previous research captured data on what motivates nurses to become certified but we want to turn the lens to better understand the perspectives of other audiences with a shared interest in improving patient outcomes,” she added. 

ABNS conducted a national poll of 2,200 adults in 2020 to investigate the importance of specialty board nursing certifications. The results show that two-thirds of adults have a favorable view of board certified specialty nurses and 75% think it is important that all nurses are required to have a specialty board certification in a relevant field. The poll results also show support of requiring certification for employment. 

After learning that board certified specialty nurses are committed to life-long learning and maintaining their certification, 74% of the adults polled were more likely to seek medical care from a certified specialty nurse. 

Previous research supports the value of certification to nurses because it recognizes specialized knowledge, increases confidence, promotes recognition among peers and colleagues, and creates job opportunities. The ABNS poll shows the public also supports it when they understand board certified specialty nurses are clinical experts in their field, dedicated to providing quality, evidence-based care.  

To learn more about the ABNS poll visit