"Consider those other things that are happening on the nursing unit and how they're affecting your patient outcomes," Hinshaw says. "It may behoove them to at least consider this."
Although the new NDNQI analysis didn't delve into why certifications are associated with lower rates of HAI, Hinshaw has a few theories.
"There is a tremendous amount of further education that happens when you do certifications, and the once you complete the certification, the learning never really ends," she says, alluding certification renewal requirements.
Hinshaw also points to what she calls "the whole professionalism aspect. The more knowledgeable you are about your practice, obviously that translates into better outcomes," she says.
Also, when nurses have professional certifications, they have a sense of pride, which Hinshaw correlates with ownership and accountability.
"I think they're all linked together," she says. "You have that pride in your certification, so therefore, you're going to be accountable to the outcome."
For Hinshaw, the certification finding is "validating;" she says she knew instinctively that certifications were important, but now research shows one of the reasons why.
"It emphasizes the need to have RNs at the bedside, it emphasizes the importance of having them there," she says. "That's affirming to me."
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HL20: AnnMarie Papa, DNP, RN—Protecting Nurses
HL20: Michael Edmond, MD—Ethics and Results in Infection Control