AACN News—December 1999—Certification

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Vol. 16, No. 12, DECEMBER 1999


Certification Groups Offer Volunteer Opportunities

Are you interested in being involved in writing questions or helping to develop the CCRN or CCNS certification exams? Opportunities to volunteer for these AACN Certification Corporation committees are available in the next fiscal year. Terms begin July 1, 2000. March 1, 2000, is the deadline to apply. All volunteer expenses are paid by AACN, according to AACN policy guidelines.

Following is a list and brief description of the AACN Certification Corporation volunteer opportunities:

CCRN Exam Item Writer
(Adult, Neonatal, and Pediatric)

CCRN exam item writers develop questions for the exam item bank. Travel to one three-day meeting is required. Exam questions are prepared at home.

CCRN Exam Development Committee
(Adult, Neonatal, and Pediatric)

This committee, which is composed of former item writers, develops and approves examinations according to test specification criteria. In addition, committee members mentor item writers. Travel to one four-day meeting is required.

CCRN Appeal Panel
(Adult, Neonatal, and Pediatric)
Panel members review and deliberate appeals. Work is carried out through written correspondence, as well as conference calls.

CCNS Exam Item Writer
CCNS item writers research and develop questions for the exam item bank. Exam questions are prepared at home. Travel to one three-day workshop is required.

CCNS Appeal Panel
This panel reviews and deliberates appeals. In addition to work through written correspondence, conference calls may be required.

For more information, call (800) 394-5995, ext. 228, or visit the "Volunteers" area of the AACN Web site at http://www.aacn.org. For an application, call (800) 899-2226.

Frequently Asked Questions

Following are commonly asked questions regarding the new "Synergized" CCRN exam. For more information about this or for answers to other questions, call (800) 899-2226, or visit the AACN Certification Corporation Web site at http://www.certcorp.org.

QI understand that the CCRN certification exam is now based on the Synergy Model. What types of questions related to the Synergy Model are asked?

ANone of the questions relate directly to the Synergy Model, which was adopted by AACN Certification Corporation as the basis for the exam framework. You will not be tested on your knowledge of its vocabulary or structure.

Instead, AACN Certification Corporation tests the candidate’s grasp of the psychosocial and health system knowledge underlying the Synergy Model, including patient teaching; collaborating with peers; working within the healthcare system to effect optimum patient outcomes; utilizing current research; advocating for patients and their families; meeting the emotional and psychological needs of patients and their families; and responding to the diversity of the patient population.

QI am planning to take the CCRN exam. What is the best way to prepare?

AEighty percent of the exam content is unchanged from earlier versions, and many books, courses and products are available as resources to help study for the exam. A list of references used to create the exam are included in the CCRN Certification Examination Handbook, which can be obtained free by calling (800) 899-2226. Information is also available on the AACN Certification Corporation Web site at www.certcorp.org.

The other 20% of the exam focuses on the professional caring and ethical practice aspects of modern nursing practice.

Most nursing textbooks published in the last four years contain several chapters related to these aspects. In addition, approximately 30 professional caring and ethical practice questions are now included when you purchase the CCRN Sample Exam booklet from AACN.

QWhy was the exam changed?

AAACN Certification Corporation wanted to identify the unique contributions of nursing practice—what it is that nurses do that other healthcare professionals do not, and that cannot be replaced. This led to the development of the Synergy Model of nursing practice, for which studies were conducted to confirm its accuracy in depicting modern critical care nursing practice and the skill set necessary to support that practice.

Based on this information, AACN Certification Corporation revised the CCRN exam to incorporate the skills that lead to excellence in critical care nursing practice. As one of the most important contributions of critical care nurses, clinical judgment continues to constitute 80% of the exam. However, the other 20% of the exam now tests for excellence in the other aspects of nursing practice that combine to make the practice of nursing unique and irreplaceable.

CCNS Exam Blueprint and Sample Questions Booklet Now Available

A blueprint and sample questions for the CCNS certification exam for clinical nurse specialists in acute and critical care is now available. Sold separately, the neonatal, pediatric and adult blueprint booklets can be purchased for $10 by AACN members, or $12 by nonmembers.

Each booklet contains a breakdown of the exam content; a reprint of an article on the Synergy Model by Patricia Moloney-Harmon, RN, MS, CCRN; CNS activities associated with the eight nurse characteristics identified in the Synergy Model; and 23 questions covering both the general portion of the exam and the three patient population age categories (all three are included to provide a more comprehensive collection of question types). In addition, a complete blueprint of the clinical judgment questions found on the neonatal, pediatric or adult CCNS exam is included.

To order, call (800) 899-2226. Request Item #200115 (neonatal), #200215 (pediatric) or #200315 (adult).

Are You Due to Renew?

Does your CCRN certification expire on Feb. 1, 2000? If you have not received your CCRN Renewal Application call Customer Service immediately at (800) 899-2226 to request one.

The neonatal, pediatric and adult renewal applications, as well as continuing education recognition point (CERP) verification forms are also available on the AACN Certification Corporation Web site at http://www.certcorp.org.

CCRN certification is conferred for a period of three years, beginning with the first day of the month in which the exam was passed.

CCRNs who meet eligibility requirements can renew either by completing the CERP program or by successfully retesting.
CCRNs who do not currently meet eligibility requirements, but want to retain their CCRN certification status, can apply for inactive status.

In addition, CCRNs who are retiring from practice are eligible to apply for CCRN-Retired status.

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

CertCorp Seeks State Approvals of CCNS Exam

AACN Certification Corporation is in the process of securing approval from state boards of nursing for the new CCNS
certification program to qualify for licensure in those states that require advanced practice
nursing licensure.

The CCNS certification for clinical nurse specialists in acute and critical care became available in January 1999.

Progress in obtaining approval, as well as information about where states stand on the issue of advanced practice nursing recognition, will be reported in AACN News and on the AACN Certification Corporation Web
site at
http://www.certcorp.org in the coming months.

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