AACN News—July 1999—Certification

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Vol. 16, No. 7, JULY 1999


Certification Programs Accredited

AACN Certification Corporation has been accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), the accreditation arm of the National Organization for Competency Assurance (NOCA).

To receive the accreditation, AACN Certification Corporation was required to meet the strict standards set by NCCA. A peer-review process is used to establish these accreditation standards, evaluate compliance with these standards, recognize organizations that demonstrate compliance and serve as a resource on quality certification.

Created by NOCA in 1987, NCCA’s mission is to help ensure the health, welfare and safety of the public through the accreditation of certification programs that assess professional competence.

AACN Certification Corporation seeks to provide credentialing programs that contribute to achieving desired health outcomes for individuals as well as to advancing the career of nursing worldwide.

The corporation was established by AACN in 1975 as a separate entity to develop the CCRN� certification program. The purpose of the program was to use the certification process as a means of developing, maintaining, and promoting high standards of critical care nursing practice and to protect the healthcare consumer by validating knowledge. Currently, more than 50,000 nurses are certified under the neonatal, pediatric and adult CCRN exam process.

In January 1999, the CCNS� program was added as an advanced practice certification for clinical nurse specialists in acute and
critical care..

“We are pleased and proud to earn this accreditation,” said AACN Certification Corporation Executive Director Melissa Biel, RN, MSN. “The NCCA accreditation is something that both employers and consumers can rely on when seeking to validate the credentials of caregivers.”

Certification Strengthens Identity

Kimmith Jones, 1999-2000 chairperson of the AACN Certification Corporation Board of Directors, congratulated 1998-99 Chairperson Barbara A. Gill, RN, MN, on her service during the annual CCRN Luncheon at the NTI.

Outgoing AACN Certification Corporation Chairperson Barbara A. Gill, RN, MN, looked to her roots in nursing to rediscover why she is proud to be a nurse.

Speaking at the annual CCRN Luncheon at the 1999 National Teaching Institute™ in New Orleans, La., Gill focused on what has inspired her as a nurse. In preparing
for the speech, titled “Certification: The Value of Your Identity,” Gill said she found two “treasures” in her files.

One was an essay given to Gill 14 years ago by an 8-year-old former patient. The other was a five-point list of the qualities of a professional nurse, which Gill said she “jotted down” 25 years ago while listening to Ingeborg Mauksch, a former professor at her nursing school.

Gill said the essay, titled “If I Could Be Anything in the Word, I’d be a Nurse,” has served as a reminder that the focus must always be on patients and how nurses interact with them—on both the science and the art of nursing.

“Nursing is the synergy between patients, families and those of us who are truly rewarded by our practice,” Gill said. “We must identify ourselves and be identifiable as nurses.”

The qualities of nursing that Gill heard Mauksch enumerate were: unduplicable skills, placing patient need first, commitment to self-growth, recognizing members of
the profession as the primary reference group and being truly accountable. Unduplicable skills strike home, Gill said.

“I suggest that none of us ever need to feel lost in the shuffle or the bureaucracy—unrecognized, unappreciated, unneeded—if we take the time to identify and then demonstrate what our unduplicable skills really are,” Gill said. “What are the things that we do that no one else can do? What will our patients and families recognize as nursing?

“We have found that anyone can be taught to give a bath, but what about the therapeutic touch, the assessment of hydration, presence of lesions, indurated or tender areas, the gentle words of comfort or education that can only come from a nurse. The unduplicable skills.”

Saying that identity brings the synergy model from concept to practice, Gill added that the wide world of nursing is shared through certification.

“Your identity is strong and it has been strengthened by your certification,” Gill said. “You can be and must be identified by the patients and families you care for.”

CCRN Exam Is Now Based on Synergy Model

Remember! As of July 1, 1999, the adult, pediatric and neonatal CCRN� exam blueprint is based on the Synergy Model, in which the needs or characteristics of patients and families drive the competencies of nurses.

Under this model, the exam content is 80% focused on clinical judgment, with 20% focused on professional caring and ethical practice. Prior to the application of the Synergy Model framework, the CCRN exam was solely based on the clinical judgment facet of critical care nursing practice.

The four-hour, computer-based CCRN exam, which consists of 200 multiple-choice items, can be scheduled year-round at more than 300 Sylvan Prometric locations.

To obtain an exam handbook and application, call (800) 899-2226, or visit the AACN Certification Corporation Web site at http://www.certcorp.org. For more information, call Certification Specialist Kim Brown, RN, MSN, CFNP, CEN, at (800) 809-2273.

Special Award Cites Contributions to AACN Certification Corporation

Maj. Elizabeth J. Bridges, RN, PhD, CCRN, CCNS, was presented the AACN Certification Corporation Special Contributor Award at AACN’s 1999 National Teaching Institute™ in New Orleans, La., in May.

The award is part of the annual Circle of Excellence recognition program. She was also recognized at the annual CCRN Luncheon at
the NTI.

Bridges is director of nursing research for the 59th Medical Wing, Clinical Research Squadron, at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Tex.

She has demonstrated exceptional leadership skills and commitment in the development and implementation of the CCRN and CCNS programs and other miscellaneous activities on behalf of AACN Certification Corporation.

Bridges has contributed to the CCRN program since 1991, initially as an item writer and a clinical content expert on the Exam Development Committee. She is now a member of the CCNS Exam Development Committee.

She is a mentor to item writers and is respected by the staff of Professional Examination Services as a content expert and an expert test development resource.

She was a representative for AACN Certification Corporation at the Best Practice Network Advisory Board Meeting in Chicago in April 1999, and submitted a comprehensive report to keep the Board of Directors abreast of the Best Practices activities. In addition, she reviewed the newly “synergized” exams at the most recent CCRN Cut Score meeting.

Bridges has displayed the highest degree of integrity and commitment in helping to ensure that the credentialing programs sponsored by AACN Certification Corporation are valid,