AACN News—January 2002—Certification

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Vol. 19, No. 1, JANUARY 2002

Testing to Resume After Feb. 15: New Service to Administer Certification Exams

Because of its commitment to improving the CCRN and CCNS certification testing process, AACN Certification Corporation has contracted with a new company to administer its certification exams. To accommodate the transition of testing from the former company, whose contract expired Dec. 31, 2001, the examination process has been suspended until Feb. 15, 2002.

The new contract with Applied Management Professionals (AMP) includes many enhanced features, one of which is that candidates will receive their final results with a breakdown of scores by content area on the day of testing.

Applicants who were planning to test during this period will be given a new 90-day window to schedule their tests. AMP will send them confirmation postcards prior to Feb. 15, 2002. A list of AMP assessment center locations (testing locations) and online scheduling is available at www.goamp.com or by calling (888) 519-9901.

New examination handbooks can be obtained by calling (800) 899-2226 (Request Item #8298 for the CCRN exam or #7297 for the CCNS exam) or Fax-on-Demand at (800) 222-6329 (Request Item #8012 for the adult CCRN exam, #8013 for the pediatric CCRN exam, #8014 for the neonatal CCRN exam or #7297 for the CCNS exam). The handbooks can also be accessed online at www.certcorp.org.

In addition, the 3-Person Discount for CCRN applicants has been extended. Originally scheduled to expire Dec. 31, 2001, the special 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 or requested by calling (800) 899-2226 or e-mailing certcorp@aacn.org.

Confirmation letters are sent within three to four weeks of applications. Applicants then have 90 days to take the exam. Co-applicants are not required to take the exam at the same time.

Certification Is a Mark of Excellence

By Thomas L. Hickey
Director, AACN Certification Corporation Board

It had been a fast-paced night in the surgical ICU. Jim felt like he had been literally flying around the unit and was not even sure what time it was.

What Jim did know was that he felt a sense of satisfaction. He felt like he was in control of the environment around him. He also was gratified to know that he was a positive force in his patient�s recovery that night.

As he placed a blood pressure cuff on his patient�s arm, Jim noticed something that he wasn�t sure he had seen before�a �CE� mark on the blood pressure cuff. What did it mean?

Later that morning, Jim noticed the �CE� mark on another piece of equipment as he helped a colleague place a cover on a patient who had been admitted to the unit following emergency surgery. Now Jim was really intrigued.

Jim was off the next day and decided to search on the Internet for information about this �CE� mark. He discovered that it was a mark of excellence for products. To obtain the mark, products were subjected to stringent standards that were difficult to meet.

Jim reflected on where he had seen the mark on his last shift. He realized that, if he looked for it, he would find the mark on several of the items that he routinely used in the unit.

It was then that Jim also remembered the information from his educational coordinator encouraging Jim to seek certification in his specialty. He knew then what he needed to do.

If the products he used every day had been put to the test to demonstrate that they had been manufactured with quality, then Jim felt he should go through the same steps and achieve his CCRN credential. He wanted to demonstrate to his patients, their families and his colleagues, but most importantly to himself, that he had achieved a high standard as well.

Thomas L. Hickey is a consumer representative on the AACN Certification Corporation Board of Directors. He is president and CEO of MediQuest, Canton, Mich.

Alumnus CCRN Designation Now Available

The new Alumnus CCRN designation is now available to CCRNs who have transitioned from acute and critical care bedside practice but remain in nursing in another role. The program was established as a way to acknowledge the talent, experience and loyalty to CCRN certification that these exemplary CCRNs have demonstrated. Many have expressed an interest in continuing their bond as a liaison or mentor for nurses who are considering seeking certification.

To apply for this Alumnus CCRN designation, you must be moving from acute and critical care bedside practice to another role or specialty, with no intention of returning to acute and critical care bedside practice. You must have been a CCRN in good standing at some time in your career. Although the Alumnus CCRN designation can be used on resumes, it cannot be used after a signature or on an identification badge. The fee to apply for three years is $75 for AACN members and $90 for nonmembers.

All Alumnus CCRNs will receive the monthly issues of AACN News and a certificate suitable for framing. In addition, a lapel pin denoting Alumnus CCRN status will be available for purchase.

To obtain the Alumnus CCRN application, call (800) 899-2226 and request Item #8019 or Fax on Demand at (800) 222-6329 and request Document #8019; e-mail certcorp@aacn.org; or visit the AACN Certification Corporation Web site.

Strategic Research Shows Importance of Promoting Certification

The need to communicate the value of certification to employers and the public was evident in a recent strategic research study conducted in August 2001 by the market research firm of Research Dimensions. The certification-related portion of the study, which included subgroups of AACN members, former members and nonmembers, indicated that few hospitals require CCRN certification and only about one-third compensate nurses for becoming certified. Approximately 40% of the hospitals provided financial assistance to help defray the cost of taking the certification exam.

The findings further validate one of AACN Certification Corporation�s priority initiatives to promote the value of nursing and certified nursing practice and to highlight the unique contributions certified nurses make to patient care. AACN Certification Corporation is currently working with a public relations firm to identify and communicate the significance of certified nursing practice to a variety of constituents, including current and potential certificants, policy makers, employers and payors.

At the same time, certified nurses are encouraged to continue individual efforts to increase awareness of the value of certification and to pursue support of certification among employers.

National Volunteer Applications Invited

AACN Certification Corporation is seeking volunteers to serve on its adult, pediatric and neonatal CCRN and CCNS Exam Appeals Panels. Between six and eight volunteers are needed for each.
Appeals Panel appointees, who review and deliberate exam appeals, work primarily through written and electronic correspondence and participate in several conference calls that can be taken from home or work.

These positions are part of AACN�s annual Call for Volunteers. The deadline to apply is March 1, 2002.

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