AACN News—May 2000—Certification

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Vol. 17, No. 5, MAY 2000


Exam Questions Do Not Test Synergy Model Knowledge

The Synergy Model is the theoretical basis of the framework for both the CCRN� and CCNS� exams. Developed by AACN Certification Corporation as a reconceptualization of certified nursing practice, it defines the unique contributions of nurses to patient care. It holds that the needs or characteristics of patients and families influence and drive the characteristics or competencies of nurses. When nurse competencies stem from patient needs and the characteristics of the nurse and patient synergize, optimal patient outcomes can result.

Although the CCRN and CCNS exams are developed around the framework of this new theoretical model, they do not test knowledge of the model itself. Instead, they test the knowledge that a nurse must possess to care for the patient, not just physically, but in all aspects of the patient’s needs.

Particularly in critical care settings, patients and families need a nurse’s clinical judgment. However, they also need the nurse to be an advocate on their behalf. They need someone who can collaborate with other healthcare team members and pull in system resources for them. They need someone who is sensitive to their individual needs and beliefs, who can teach them what they need to know, and who can question current practice to ensure that the care they receive is the best available. A valid certification program must test for the skills needed to perform well in a particular job role.

Twenty percent of the CCRN exam now covers these other aspects of critical care nursing, which are referred to collectively as “Professional Caring and Ethical Practice.” The CCNS exam was originally created around the Synergy Model framework, and incorporates these skills throughout.

CCRNs and CCNSs do not need to know whether a particular nursing behavior falls into the category of “caring practices” or “moral agency.” They simply must know that these behaviors are important aspects of nursing care, and how best to meet each individual patient’s and family’s needs. This requires perceptiveness, creativity and an open-minded approach, as well as knowledge of psychosocial, ethical, educational, organizational, fiscal and clinical issues.

In studying for the “Professional Caring and Ethical Practice” portion of the CCRN exam, we recommend using a critical care nursing text that has been published since 1996. These should include chapters covering psychosocial issues, ethics, and patient and family education.

In addition, approximately 30 sample questions covering many of these issues are available free from AACN Certification Corporation. To order, call Fax-on-Demand at (800) 222-6329 (Request Documents #8106 for adult, #8107 for neonatal or #8108 for pediatric); print them from the AACN Certification Corporation Web site at http://www.certcorp.org; or ask that they be e-mailed to you by e-mailing certcorp@aacn.org. Be sure to specify which document you want to receive.

Nominations Invited for National Leadership Positions

AACN Certification Corporation is seeking nominations of individuals to serve on the Board of Directors for FY2002. Terms begin July 1, 2001.

Invited are nominations for the offices of chair-elect and secretary/treasurer, as well as for two consumer representatives.

Nominations must be received or postmarked by June 12, 2000. Nomination forms can be obtained by calling (800) 899-AACN (2226). The forms are also available through the AACN Web site at http://www.aacn.org.

Nominees for the AACN Certification Corporation Board are not required to be AACN members. However, at least two board members must hold current certification by AACN Certification Corporation, and a majority of board members must hold an active RN license in the United States.

Reimbursement for travel as well as other expenses are provided for all of these national volunteer positions. Following are brief descrip-
tions of the AACN Certification Corporation positions for which nominations are invited:

Chair-Elect
One 1-Year Term
The chair-elect works to become familiar with the duties of the chair and consults with the chair to prepare for continuity and a smooth transition of leadership. He or she performs all duties of that position in the chair’s absence. A nominee for chair-elect shall have previously served as an officer or as a director of the corporation for at least one year prior to assuming the office of chair-elect. The AACN Certification Corporation Board selects the chair-elect.

Secretary/Treasurer
One 2-Year Term
As a director of the board, the secretary/treasurer actively participates in governance to ensure the corporation’s financial viability and growth; evaluate organizational outcomes based on established priorities and action plans; monitor the impact of corporation initiatives on patient care and healthcare delivery systems; articulate positions and policies to key stakeholders; and ensure a successful relationship between AACN and AACN Certification Corporation. In addition, the secretary/treasurer ensures that minutes of meetings are kept and that the maintenance of all funds and securities of AACN Certification Corporation are monitored and allocated appropriately.

Consumer Representative
Two 2-Year Terms
Consumer representatives actively participate in governance, including ensuring the corporation’s financial viability and growth; evaluating organizational outcomes based on established priorities and action plans; monitoring the effect of corporation initiatives on patient care and healthcare delivery systems; articulating positions and policies to key stakeholders; and ensuring a successful relationship between AACN and AACN Certification Corporation. In addition, this position champions the perspective of the consumer by exploring issues related to healthcare and their potential effect on consumers, along with the value and relationship of professional certification as a method of protecting the public.

For more information about the Call for Nominations, contact Sherryl Wynne at (800) 394-5995, ext. 376, or visit the AACN Web site at http://www.aacn.org.

Award Cites Special Contributions

The AACN Certification Corporation Special Contributor Award is presented to individuals who make significant contributions to the work and mission of the corporation. The award is part of the Circle of Excellence recognition program.

Recipients demonstrate far-reaching influence that relates directly to helping maintain AACN Certification Corporation’s position as a leader in credentialing and in creating safe passage in healthcare for patients.

Recipients receive a plaque and are honored at the annual Certification Luncheon at the National Teaching Institute.™ Nominations are accepted year round.

Receiving the AACN Certification Corporation Special Contributor Award for 2000 is:

Martha A.Q. Curley, RN, PhD, CCNS, CCRN, FAAN
Children’s Hospital
Newton Centre, Mass.

For more information about this and other Circle of Excellence awards, or to obtain an awards guide, call (800) 899-AACN (2226) or visit the AACN Web site at http://www.aacn.org.

Thomson Acquires Sylvan Prometric

The Thomson Corporation has signed an agreement to acquire the Sylvan Prometric division of Sylvan Learning Systems, Inc., which provides the computer-based testing sites for the CCRN and CCNS exams.

The change will not reduce the number of testing sites available to candidates. Instead, the acquisition is expected to result in enhanced customer service.

The addition of Prometric, which delivers standardized tests and exams at 2,900 testing sites in 141 countries, will make Thomson Learning a leading provider of computer-based testing administration, delivery and certification in not only professional licensing and certification, but also academic testing services, corporate testing and information technology certification.

Currently a leading provider worldwide of education and training materials, Thomson Learning is in the process of transitioning its library of materials into online courseware and services.