The Voice of Certification: Why Would
We Seek More Than One Certification?
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
or requested by calling (800) 899-2226 or e-mailing