Chicago – Large majorities of Americans want the healthcare professionals who treat them to be required to keep up with developments in their professional fields and want their skills assessed by independent bodies. Seventy four percent of American consumers believe that healthcare providers should not be excused from lifelong learning regardless of years of practice. Sixty six percent believe that they should not be excused from being periodically evaluated on their qualifications and their ability to practice their profession safely by the professional agency that originally certifies their competence. These findings come from a national survey conducted on behalf of The National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA) and Citizen Advocacy Center (CAC) by Harris Interactive, one of the world’s leading market research firms. The NBCRNA and CAC sought to gain a better understanding of the public’s perspective about the credentialing standards required of their healthcare providers. The NBCRNA also was interested in ensuring that nurse anesthetists’ commitment to quality care aligns with the expectations of the patients they serve.

Americans’ replies indicated that the public prefers healthcare providers to adhere to a multimodal recertification program. For example:

  • 91% of U.S. adults think it is very important/important that a health care professional who is going to treat them has passed an examination on their profession’s specific knowledge
  • 89% believe it is very important/important that health care professionals who are going to treat them attend educational programs throughout their career to refresh their knowledge and learn about the latest scientific evidence and new technologies
  • 85% believe it is important that health care professionals who are going to treat them have an independent body of health professionals evaluate their skills/knowledge to certify them as competent.

The NBCRNA recently introduced the Continued Professional Certification (CPC) program for nurse anesthetists. The CPC program requires a commitment to learning, mastering skills, and being assessed at regular intervals. The survey results demonstrated that the public’s perspective is aligned with many of the best practices in certification and recertification, and supports the key elements of the NBCRNA’s Continued Professional Certification program.

“As a healthcare certification body, the NBCRNA has the responsibility to ensure our certification and recertification programs reflect the ever evolving and complex demands of the healthcare environment to include the expectations of the patients we protect,” said Dr. Charles Vacchiano, president of the NBCRNA Board of Directors. “Nurse anesthetists appreciate the critical role they play in healthcare, and are committed to demonstrating that they deserve the trust their patients place in them.”

The survey’s findings also indicate that the majority of Americans disagree with the concept of grandfathering when new recertification requirements are introduced. When asked specifically the number of years a healthcare provider should practice in order to be excused from new requirements of periodic testing, training and evaluated continuing education, the majority of respondents selected that providers should not be excused from any requirement, regardless of time in practice.

David Swankin, president and CEO of the Citizen Advocacy Center, called the survey findings “extremely valuable.” He said it was critical that healthcare credentialing bodies work to understand the public’s perspective in their decision-making process. “The CAC commends the NBCRNA for supporting the measurement of this valuable information and for its leadership in this area. The nurse anesthesia profession is offering a good example to other nursing professions in its commitment to a rigorous continuing competence program.”


About the NBCRNA: The National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA) is a not-for profit corporation dedicated to promoting patient safety by enhancing provider quality in the field of nurse anesthesia. The NBCRNA accomplishes its mission through the development and implementation of credentialing programs that support lifelong learning among nurse anesthetists. For more information please visit, www.NBCRNA.com.

About the CAC:  Since 1987, the CAC has served the public interest by enhancing the effectiveness and accountability of health professional oversight bodies. The CAC offers training, research and networking opportunities for public members and for the health care regulatory, credentialing, and governing boards on which they serve. For more information please visit, www.cacenter.org.

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Survey Methodology

This survey was conducted online within the United States between May 14 and 16, 2013 among 2,052 adults (aged 18 and over) by Harris Interactive via its Quick Query omnibus product. Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words “margin of error” as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.