CCRN Exam Requirements Updated
AACN Certification Corporation recognizes the effect the dynamic healthcare environment has had on critical care nursing practice. Although high-acuity patients are still cared for in ICU/CCU settings, many patients who traditionally were cared for in these areas are now admitted to step-down or medical-surgical units. Patients not admitted may receive care in their primary provider’s office, emergency department, or urgent care center, with follow-up for interventional radiology, outpatient clinic, or home healthcare.
AACN Certification Corporation acknowledges that critical care nursing occurs outside the 4 walls of the traditional ICU/CCU setting. Regardless of the clinical arena, acute and critically ill patients require knowledgeable, clinically competent nurses.
The CCRN� certified nurse has the advanced body of knowledge necessary to care for complex patients, whether acute or critically ill. Of the 50,000 certified CCRNs, 40% work in areas outside the ICU/CCU setting. AACN Certification Corporation values all CCRNs and nurses caring for these patients and has updated the CCRN program to reflect the ever-changing healthcare environment by eliminating the nursing interventions (technical skills), effective January 1, 1999.
Although accomplishment of specific technical skills is no longer required to be eligible to sit for the CCRN exam, having knowledge and/or experience with specific critical care technical skills (i.e., hemodynamic monitoring, ventilating patients) may benefit you in understanding the questions presented on the exam. Having knowledge and experience with patient situations involving technology that monitors or maintains life functions will enhance your understanding of the patient care scenarios outlined in the examination. If you are unfamiliar with a specific technology (e.g., intracranial pressure monitoring), you may wish to seek out clinical experiences that enable you to become familiar with normal and abnormal readings, patient assessment, and troubleshooting in addition to learning about the technology through studying.
For more information about the CCRN exam, call (800) 899-2226 or visit the AACN Certification Corporation home page at
March 12, 1999, Deadline to Apply for Volunteer Positions
Opportunities to volunteer with AACN Certification Corporation are available in the next fiscal year. Terms begin July 1, 1999. March 12, 1999, is the deadline to apply. All volunteer expenses are paid by AACN, according to AACN policy guidelines.
For more information, call (800) 809-2273, ext. 228. Applications can be obtained by calling (800) 899-AACN (2226) or Fax on Demand at (800) 222-6329 (Request Document #1520), or by visiting the Volunteers area of the AACN home page at
Following is a list and brief description of the AACN Certification Corporation volunteer opportunities:
CCRN Exam Item Writer
(Adult, Neonatal, and Pediatric)
CCRN item writers develop exam questions for the exam item bank. Travel to one 3-day meeting is required. Exam questions are prepared at home.
CCRN Exam Development Committee
(Adult, Neonatal, and Pediatric)
This committee, composed of former item writers, develops and approves examinations according to test specification criteria. In addition, committee members mentor item writers. Travel to one 4-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 exam questions for the exam item bank. Exam questions are prepared at home. Travel to one 3-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.
Preregister to Take the CCRN Paper-and-Pencil Exam at the NTI
A paper-and-pencil CCRN� exam will be offered at the 1999 National Teaching Institute,™ May 16 through 20 in New Orleans, La. The adult, pediatric, and neonatal exams will be administered on May 20.
Preregistration is required to test at the NTI! Simply check the box on your NTI application and submit the $150 testing fee with your completed registration form. AACN will process your NTI registration and forward a CCRN examination application.
Completed NTI exam applications must be postmarked by March 16, 1999, to qualify for testing at the NTI, so register early.
Wealth of Information Available on Home Page
Visit the recently revised AACN Certification Corporation Web site at
http://www.certcorp.org. There you will find a wealth of information including certification examination and renewal handbooks, sample questions, and study resources.
You can find out about changes as well as about the Synergy Model, which AACN Certification Corporation uses for the program framework. This reconceptualized model of certified practice views the needs or characteristics of patients and families as influencing and driving the characteristics or competencies of nurses.
Program approval information is also available.
The AACN Certification Corporation Web site is designed to be not only informative but also easy to use. Information will be added and updated continually.
Following is a description of the types of information provided online in specific areas:
Information about initial CCRN� certification and eligibility requirements as well as exam blueprints, sample exam questions, and reference lists are provided. All content including applications from the printed exam handbook and renewal handbook can be accessed. Although applications cannot be submitted online, they can be printed and mailed or faxed in. In addition, renewing CCRNs can calculate their continuing education recognition points (CERPs) online and print out the CERP Verification Form to submit.
Eligibility requirements for this new certification for acute and critical care clinical nurse specialists are outlined. Detailed testing information, a study bibliography, and sample questions are provided. The full content of the CCNS� examination handbook is online, and the CCNS exam application can be printed from this site.
This acute care nurse practitioner exam is administered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center in collaboration with AACN Certification Corporation. An outline of the test content, as well as a study bibliography and sample questions, are available through the AACN Certification Corporation Web site. A link to the ANCC home page, where additional information is available, has been established.
All information from the Program Approval handbook including the application is available here.
Let us know if you have comments or suggestions about the AACN Certification Corporation Web site. Call (800) 809-2273, ext. 407, or e-mail