Differences in Perioperative Nurse Job Satisfaction by Specialty Certification Status

Published:November 17, 2022DOI:



      To describe differences in perioperative RN job satisfaction by specialty certification status.


      A retrospective, exploratory, cross-sectional design.


      We conducted a secondary analysis of annual data from the National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators (NDNQI) RN Survey with 12 Job Satisfaction Scales. The sample consisted of 776 perioperative units in 206 hospitals with 13,061 study participants. We used multilevel mixed modeling to examine differences in job satisfaction for nurses holding CAPA (Certified Ambulatory Perianesthesia Nurse), CPAN (Certified Post Anesthesia Nurse), CNOR (certification for perioperative registered nurses), CRNFA (Certified RN First Assistant), other specialty certification, and not specialty certified.


      Twelve percent of RN participants held a perioperative nursing certification (CAPA, CPAN, CNOR, CRNFA), 15% held other nursing specialty certifications, and 73% were not certified. Regardless of certification status, nurses were the most satisfied with nurse-nurse interactions and task. They were the least satisfied with nursing administration, decision-making, and pay. CNOR certified nurses reported the lowest levels of job satisfaction in the study. CAPA and CPAN certified nurses reported higher job satisfaction than their noncertified colleagues on multiple job satisfaction scales (ie, CAPA 10 of 12; CPAN 5 of 12). CNOR certified nurses did not report meaningful differences in job satisfaction from non-certified nurses.


      As job satisfaction impacts retention, productivity, and patient care quality, our findings have important implications for hospital leaders, nurses, and health care consumers. Based on our findings, we identified nursing professional development as a potential gap in job satisfaction that leaders can target for improvement. Our findings suggest that higher specialty nursing certification rates in perianesthesia nurses may potentially improve job satisfaction and retention of nurses.


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