Perceived Value of Certification Tool (PVCT®) Overview and Case Study

The Perceived Value of Certification Tool (PVCT®) is an internet-based survey instrument developed by the Competency and Credentialing Institute (CCI) and now administered by the CCI Research Foundation. The intended purpose of the tool was to determine the perceived value of certification among perioperative nurses. This instrument results from the CCI Research Committee members, staff, and key research experts’ extensive efforts to measure the value of CNOR® and CRNFA® certification for operating room nurses. Although the PVCT tool has been used to assess perioperative nursing certification, the possibilities do not end there!

A Brief History Overview

The PVCT was developed in 2003 and has since been utilized in a wide range of studies, with both nursing and non-nursing subjects. While researchers of all levels of experience have used this instrument, novice researchers have most commonly utilized it to fulfill the requirements of the ANCC Magnet Program or as part of their academic studies.

Refinement of the PVCT

A review of the PVCT showed that several studies reported striking majorities of participants either agreed or strongly agreed with the PVCT items, and very few disagreed with the items. When the questions on the survey do not capture the full spectrum of responses, there is a greater opportunity for measurement error that could make participants seem more agreeable than they actually are. The new, revised version of the PVCT instrument was developed from here, which captures a broader range of respondents’ opinions as they relate to their perception of certification. The CCI Research Foundation launched a nationwide study to examine the psychometric properties of the original 18-item PVCT. The new version of the PVCT was found to be an improvement from that review, as it yielded a measurement model with a better fit while increasing the variety of responses. You can learn more about the PVCT and the refinement process by visiting our website.

The Real User Experience

We had the pleasure of talking with Sharon Ann Van Wicklin, Ph.D., RN, CNOR, CRNFA(E), CPSN-R, PLNC, FAAN, ISPAN-F, Perioperative, and Legal Nurse Consultant; Editor-in-Chief, Plastic Surgical Nursing, about her recent experience using the PVCT-12 instrument.

CCI Research Foundation: Can you give a brief overview of how you were utilizing the PVCT-12 tool?

Sharon Ann Van Wicklin: I used the new Perceived Value of Certification Tool (PVCT)-12 to determine how certified and noncertified plastic and aesthetic registered nurses (RNs), who are members of the International Society of Plastic and Aesthetic Nurses (ISPAN), perceive the value of certification. The ISPAN Plastic Surgical Nursing Certification Board (PSNCB) oversees the certification of plastic and aesthetic nurses. The PSNCB offers two certifications for plastic and aesthetic RNs, the Certified Plastic Surgery Nurse (CPSN) and the Certified Aesthetic Nurse Specialist (CANS). I also used the PVCT-12 to compare perceptions of nurses who hold a CPSN, CANS, or both certifications with nurses who do not hold these certifications.

CCI Research Foundation: How was your experience using the PVCT-12 instrument?

SVW: Using the PVCT to conduct the study was a great experience. The process was quite simple. I obtained approval from the ISPAN Board of Directors to conduct the survey and ensured the required $100 fee for the use of the tool was paid to the CCI Research Foundation. I then developed 15 demographic questions to be included in the survey with feedback and assistance from the CCI-recommended independent research statistician who is also the second author of the study), the Program Coordinator, CCI Research Foundation, and members of the PSNCB Board of Directors. Including demographic questions in the survey allowed us to gather important information about the participants for ISPAN and the PSNCB and also allowed us to compare demographic profiles of certified and noncertified plastic and aesthetic nurses.

The Program Coordinator, CCI Research Foundation, built the survey using the SurveyGizmo, now Alchemer, cloud-based integrated feedback platform technology (Boulder, CO). This was nice because we were able to review the survey and make revisions before it was sent out. The Associate Executive Director of the ISPAN Association Management Company sent the survey to all ISPAN members who accept blast emails. We kept the survey open for 30 days. After the survey was completed, we received a report from the CCI Research Foundation showing the participant responses to each question in print and bar graph format. For the purposes of our study, the results were also statistically analyzed by the CCI-recommended independent research statistician, who was an absolutely amazing resource!

We found that across all items of the new version of the PVCT, participants who held a CPSN and/or CANS certification reported greater perceptions of the value of the CPSN and CANS certifications than participants who did not hold either certification. The report of our study titled, “The Perceived Value of Certification of Plastic and Aesthetic Nurses,” was published in Plastic Surgical Nursing, Volume 41, Issue 1. You can read it here.

Interested in Utilizing the PVCT for Your Research Project?

If you wish to use the PVCT survey instrument for your research you can contact the CCI Research Foundation with a request to use the tool. Requests must include:

  • An abstract of your proposed research
  • A statement that you will provide the CCI Research Foundation with any validity and reliability data you derive from the PVCT based on your sample
  • An agreement that you will use the instrument without modification and that the copyright statement will appear at the bottom of all photocopies
  • Confirmation that the instrument will be duplicated only for the purposes of your research

Once you have been granted access to the PVCT, all necessary materials and forms will be emailed to you directly. These will include:

  • The PVCT instrument as a PDF scan document
  • A summary table of results from previous studies utilizing the PVCT instrument. At present, the summary will include results from use of the previous version of the instrument and the small number of studies which have utilized the revised, updated version of the instrument.
  • Background on Statistics and History of Use of the PVCT, which contains information regarding statistical tests and scoring methods to be used with the PVCT. This document also contains language needed for the IRB approval process.
  • You will be responsible for formulating your study questions, and the Program Coordinator will prepare the survey on your behalf. You will have the opportunity to make revisions before finalizing and distributing the survey. The CCI Research Foundation will provide results and descriptive statistics to researchers wishing to use this administration method. For additional information on requesting permission to use the PVCT, we invite you to contact

Overall, the PVCT is an effective and adaptable instrument for researchers of all levels. How do you plan on using this instrument?

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