AACN News—April 1999—Certification

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Vol. 16, No. 4, APRIL 1999


New York Nurse First to Earn CCNS Certification

Roberta Kaplow, RN, PhD, CCRN, CCNS, a critical care nurse educator at Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital for Cancer and Allied Diseases, New York, N.Y., was the first nurse to become CCNS certified. She took the computer-based, 175-question adult CCNS exam on January 27, 1999.

The new CCNS� certification became available in January 1999. This new advanced practice certification was established by AACN Certification Corporation specifically for clinical nurse specialists (CNSs) in acute and critical care.
Kaplow said she had been disappointed that no CNS credential was available during her first seven years as a CNS, because she highly values credentialing as a mark of professionalism. She was excited to learn that one was being developed and immediately began planning to take the exam.

“I am proud to have the CCNS credential,” Kaplow said. “I feel it truly validates my experience and places additional value on the role of the CNS.”

Although Kaplow was initially hesitant about the prospect of taking the exam on a computer, she said she found the system to be extremely user-friendly.

“Everything is color coded,” Kaplow noted.

A tutorial is available for those who are unfamiliar with computers, she said.

“At the end of the exam, the system automatically returns to questions that have been left unanswered, which is an excellent safety check,” Kaplow said.

The CCNS certification exam incorporates the Synergy Model framework, which matches patient needs with nurse competencies. Nurse characteristics that are derived from patient needs include clinical judgment, advocacy/moral agency, caring practices, collaboration, systems thinking, response to diversity, clinical inquiry, and facilitation of learning.

Following are the eligibility requirements for taking the CCNS exam:
• An active RN license
• A master’s degree in nursing
• At least 500 hours in direct clinical practice (either within the master’s program or as a CNS)
• Evidence of expertise in clinical knowledge, skills, and judgment, which is linked to the specialty area of expertise as demonstrated by the following: current entry-level/basic or advanced certification in nursing; publication within the last 5 years demonstrating expert knowledge in the identified clinical field; presentation within the last 5 years at a local, regional, or national conference on a clinical nursing topic in the field of expertise; or participation in a clinical research project within the last 5 years in the clinical field of expertise


The computer-based test is administered year-round at Sylvan Prometric sites across the United States, Canada, and U.S. territories.

Exam applications include a blueprint and study bibliography. To obtain an application, call (800) 899-2226.


For more information about the CCNS exam, call (800) 899-2226, or visit the AACN Certification Corporation Web site at http://www.certcorp.org.


Many NTI Sessions Geared to Certified Nurses

The 1999 National Teaching Institute™ in New Orleans, La., May 16 through 20, offers certified nurses numerous opportunities to learn about issues affecting them and the certification process.

Again this year, the NTI features the Advanced Practice Institute™ as well as five education tracks geared to adult critical care, continuum of care, trauma care, leadership, pediatric and neonatal care, and trauma care.

Of particular interest is a session titled “Health Care Regulation and the Certified Critical Care Nurse.” The speaker is Barbara Safriet, associate dean and lecturer at the Yale Law School, New Haven, Conn. In addition to discussing regulatory reforms that affect nursing, Safriet will suggest strategies for maximizing the value of certification in today’s healthcare system.

This session, which is sponsored by Atrium Medical Corporation and GE Marquette Medical Systems, follows the annual CCRN Luncheon on May 17.

At the CCRN Luncheon, Barbara Gill, RN, MN, chair of the AACN Certification Corporation Board of Directors, will speak on “Certification: The Value of Your Identity.” Only CCRN-certified nurses can attend the luncheon. Because seating is limited, early registration is suggested. To attend, check the CCRN Luncheon option on the NTI registration form.

The Synergy Model, which AACN Certification Corporation has adopted as the basis for the framework of its certification program, will be discussed at two sessions during the NTI.
“Synergy: A Strategy for the Future” is the title of a panel presentation, which will be facilitated by Gill. “Leadership Synergy: Integration of Knowledge, Trust, and Power” will be presented by Nancy C. Molter, RN, MN, immediate past chairperson of AACN Certification Corporation Board.

The core concept of the Synergy Model is that the unique needs or characteristics of patients and their families drive nurse competencies, and that optimal patient outcomes are achieved when patients’ and nurses’ characteristics match. The model is the basis for the new CCNS exam for clinical nurse specialists (CNS) in acute and critical care, and will be the basis for the CCRN programs after July 1, 1999.

Other sessions, including API sessions, will be of particular interest to CNSs and acute care nurse practitioners (ACNPs). Among them are “Critical Care Clinical Nurse Specialist Drives Cost and Quality Outcomes in Critical Care,” “The Acute Care Nurse Practitioner: Is the Role Being Utilized to the Fullest?” and “Drugs, Drugs, Drugs, and More Drugs: The Newest and the Latest Including Prescribing for the Nurse Practitioner.”

In addition, a preconference session, titled “Pharmaceuticals for the Nurse Practitioner: Interaction Challenges of Prescriptive and Alternative Therapies,” is scheduled.

For more information or to register for the NTI, call (800) 899-AACN (2226) or visit the NTI Web site.


Meet the Certification Specialist

Kimberly D. Brown, RN, MSN, FNP, CEN, has joined AACN Certification Corporation as certification specialist.

In this role, Brown will serve as a resource for issues relating to certification including overseeing the maintenance of the CCRN� credentialing program, which currently has more than 50,000 certificants. In addition, she will coordinate information for Certification Connections, a semi-annual newsletter published especially for CCRNs, CCNSs, and acute care nurse practitioners (ACNPs).
Brown, a family nurse practitioner, formerly worked for the UCSD Healthcare Medical Practice in Encinitas, Calif. She has an extensive critical care background in intensive care, emergency departments, and trauma resuscitation units. She received her master of science in nursing degree from the University of
San Diego.

Brown said she is privileged to be a part of AACN Certification Corporation.

“I value certification as a symbol of excellence and commitment to patients,” she said. “The opportunity to help promote and assist certified acute and critical care nurses is exciting and challenging in our changing healthcare environment.”

Melissa Biel, RN, MSN, executive director of AACN Certification Corporation, said Brown is a great addition to the corporation’s national team, which also includes Certification Director Jo-Ann Eastwood, RN, MN, CCRN, Certification Associates Lisa Valencia and Denise Flanagan, and Secretary David St. Clair.

For more information about certification opportunities, call AACN Certification Corporation at (800) 809-2273 or visit the AACN Certification Corporation Web site at http://www.certcorp.org.


Survey to Update Certification Value

If you are a CCRN,� you may be asked to participate in a survey that is designed to reinforce the value of certification and the impact certified nurses have on patients and the healthcare environment.

The survey is being conducted by the Nursing Credentialing Research Coalition, of which AACN Certification Corporation is a member. The information will become part of a database of evidence describing the nature of the certified workforce including demographic, career, professional, and practice characteristics.

The survey is being sent in April 1999 to a randomly selected sample of CCRNs. If you receive the Nursing Credentialing Research Coalition Survey, please take a few minutes to complete each question and return it in the envelope provided.
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