AACN News—December 2002—Certification

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Vol. 19, No. 12, DECEMBER 2002


The Voice of Certification: Why Would We Seek More Than One Certification?

Judy Verger

By Ruth Lebet, RN, MSN, CEN, CRNP
Education Nurse Specialist, Children�s Hospital of Philadelphia
and Judy Verger, RN, MSN, CCRN
Board of Directors, AACN Certification Corporation

Individual nurses seek certification for a variety of reasons. Many initially seek certification in a knowledge area specific to a patient population or a specific skill set, such as the CCRN for adult, pediatric and neonatal critical care nurses, the CEN for emergency nurses or the CORN operating room nurses. In these cases, the nurses want to demonstrate to their peers, to their employers and to healthcare consumers that they have acquired the specialized knowledge necessary to provide excellent care for a unique set of patients. Continued certification demonstrates that an individual�s knowledge base is current, despite the rapidly changing healthcare environment.

Achieving a second certification can provide a nurse with increased credibility, job flexibility and marketability. In the current environment, nurses are encouraged to seek role security instead of job security. For nurses who move between care settings, a dual certification, such as the CCRN and CFN for flight nurses, not only increases credibility with the staff in both areas, but also acknowledges the unique aspects of each setting.

For nurses who move to more specialized roles, a second certification, such as the CCNS for clinical nurse specialists in critical care or CRNA for certified nurse anesthetists, may serve to validate the knowledge required to function in a specific role. For example, the nurse who maintains both CCNS and CCRN certifications sends a strong message to peers, employers and consumers about the value of a critical care nursing certification. Through dual certification, he or she demonstrates an area of expertise that is related to a specific patient population, as well as to an advanced practice role.

In addition, this nurse demonstrates a high level of professionalism by recognizing that each certification has a unique value and importance to his or her various �customers.� The healthcare consumer may value the CCRN credential, while the employer may be searching for the individual who can also add the role-related knowledge base and expertise of the CCNS. The nurse who has both certifications can meet the needs and interests of both groups.

Certification is one well-respected way to demonstrate the excellence in practice that is expected in a healthy work environment. Nurses in all areas need certifications that recognize the unique nature of their practice, allow them to obtain recognition and acquire reward. With the advancement of specialties and the increasing sophistication of care delivery, specialty certification as well as dual certification, are ultimately a means to influence quality care.


Self-Assessment Exam Fulfills Need
CCRN-Adult Practice Test Available Soon

�I am not familiar with computer-based testing.�
�I just don�t know what to study.�
�I wish I had a better idea of what to expect.�

Have these thoughts crossed your mind when considering the possibility of taking one of the certification examinations offered by AACN Certification Corporation? In response, an online, self-assessment examination will soon be available at http://www.goamp.com or via the AACN Certification Web site at http://www.certcorp.org.

With the assistance of its testing agency, Applied Measurement Professionals, Inc., AACN Certification Corporation wants to eliminate potential obstacles to your success in seeking the professional credential for critical care nurses. By offering this practice test, it hopes to ensure that you can effectively demonstrate your level of knowledge.

The CCRN-adult practice examination, which matches exactly the content outline for the actual exam, is in the final stages of development and review. Although the practice test is only 50 questions, compared to 200 for the actual exam, it is designed to represent the knowledge level required of a critical care nurse who deals primarily with adults. Questions from each category of the CCRN-adult content outline are included. For example, the actual examination has 12 gastrointestinal items; the self-assessment examination will have three. In addition, the practice examination appropriately reflects the distribution of items according to the nursing process and the direct patient care and family impact dimension of the actual examination.

The practice test questions, taken from exam items that have been retired, have been reviewed and unanimously approved for current relevance and accuracy by content experts. Explanations will provide useful insights on the content of the items and how study should be focused.

Although many will use this practice examination as a way to prepare for the actual certification examination, others may simply use it for their own self-assessment and learning. Those who want to simulate actual examination conditions should plan to complete the examination at a single sitting within a one-hour time frame, one-fourth of actual testing time.

Registration for the CCRN-adult self-assessment examination is scheduled to be available by February. The fee will be $45 for AACN members ($50 for nonmembers).


AACN Membership Discounted for CCRN-, CCNS-Certified Nurses

CCRN- and CCNS-certified nurses can now take advantage of a special AACN membership offer that saves 15% off the already discounted three-year membership rate. That�s in addition to the fact that certification exam and renewal fees are discounted for AACN members.

This new membership rate is being offered in recognition of the achievement and commitment to excellence that CCRNs and CCNSs demonstrate by becoming certified in their critical care specialty area. The special three-year membership can be renewed at the special $179.35 rate for as long as your certification is current.

For more information about this special offer, call (800) 899-2226.


3-Person CCRN Exam Discount Ends Dec. 31

Remember! The 3-Person Discount to take the CCRN certification examination ends Dec. 31. This discount applies to three or more candidates who apply as a group to take the adult-, pediatric- or neonatal-CCRN exam. The discounted exam fee is $175 for AACN members and $255 for others, which saves each applicant $45.

To be eligible for the discount, applications must be accompanied by the �3-Person Discount Flyer,� which is included with the application materials. The flyer can also be printed from the AACN Certification Corporation Web site at http://www.certcorp.org, or requested by calling (800) 899-2226 or e-mailing certcorp@aacn.org