Rationale for Certification


The value of certification within pharmacy has not been studied, but a positive relationship between certification and better care has been shown for physicians and nurses.(1-4) The value of certification is important throughout health care. Physician certifications began in 1917; approximately 85% of physicians are currently board certified - the majority do this immediately following residency training.(5) Within the nursing profession there are almost 500,000 certified nurses today.(6) Nurses note that "specialty nursing certification is THE standard by which the public recognizes quality nursing care."(6) The public also values certification. In one survey the majority of respondents stated that they would change physicians if they found out their physician was not board certified.(5) Pharmacists should consider the importance of certification to these stakeholders.

The Joint Commission of Pharmacy Practitioners have a vision for pharmacy that includes having theauthority and autonomy to manage medication therapy.For this to be a reality pharmacist must strongly consider the opinions of physicians, nurses, and the public. These stakeholders all consider board certification to be an important component of accountability in demonstrating competency.

1. Holmboe ES, Wang Y, Meehan TP, et al. Association between maintenance of certification examination scores and quality of care for Medicare beneficiaries. Archives of Internal Medicine. 2008;168(13):1396-1403.
2. Norcini JJ, Lipner RS, Benson JA, Webster GD. An analysis of the knowledge base of practicing internists as measured by the 1980 recertification examination. Annals of Internal Medicine. 1985;102:385-389.
3. Norcini JJ, Lipner RS, Kimball HR. Certifying examination performance and patient outcomes following acute myocardial infarction. Medical Education. 2002;36:853-859.
4. Turchin A, Shubina M, Chodos AH, Einbinder JS, Pendergrass ML. Effect of board certification on antihypertensive treatment intensification in patients with diabetes mellitus. Circulation. 2008:117:623-628.
5. Brennan TA, Horwitz RI, Duffy FD, Cassel CK, Goode LD, Lipner RS. The role of physician specialty board certification status in the quality movement. JAMA 2004, 292(9):1038-1043.
6. American Board of Nursing Specialties (2005) Retrieved on Nov 11, 2009 from http://www.nursingcertification.org/pdf/value_certification.pdf