AACN News—May 2002—Certification

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Vol. 19, No. 5, MAY 2002


Do You Want Validation of Your Skills and Knowledge?

By Patricia Moloney-Harmon, RN, MS, CCNS, CCRN, and Patricia Gonce-Morton, RN, PhD, NP, ACNP, FAAN

Are you a clinical nurse specialist in critical care who would like a way to validate your special qualifications and knowledge? Does your state require advanced practice licensure? If so, the CCNS certification examination that is administered by AACN Certification Corporation is just what you need.

Based on the Synergy Model, a framework that matches patient needs with nurse competencies, the CCNS examination validates the qualifications and knowledge for practice as a clinical nurse specialist. Examination candidates select from one of three examinations that focus on the care of either the neonatal, pediatric or adult populations. These examinations are based on a comprehensive job analysis conducted by Professional Examination Service.

AACN Certification Corporation conducted a study of subacute, acute and critical care nurses in 1997, which supported the applicability of the Synergy Model to nursing practice. The CCNS examinations were developed by content experts who integrated the identified sets of activities that CNSs perform with each of the nurse characteristics in the Synergy Model.

Following are the requirements for taking the CCNS examination:

The examination applicant must have:
� A current unrestricted registered nurse license in the United States or any of its territories.
� A master�s degree in nursing from an accredited program, with evidence of CNS theory and clinical concentration in the care of the acutely or critically ill patient.
� Completed 500 hours in direct clinical practice, either within the master�s program or as a CNS.
� Evidence of expertise in clinical knowledge, skills and judgment that is directly linked with the candidate�s specialty area of expertise as demonstrated by one of the following:
1. Current entry level/basic or advanced certification in nursing
2. Publication(s) (within the last 5 years) demonstrating expert knowledge in the candidate�s defined clinical field.
3. Presentation(s) (within the last 5 years) at a local, regional or national conference on a clinical nursing topic in the candidate�s field of expertise.
4. Participation in a clinical research project (within the last 5 years) in the candidate�s clinical field of expertise.

The CCNS exam consists of 175 multiple-choice items, 150 of which address core knowledge for the CNS. The core knowledge questions are based on the nurse characteristics defined in the Synergy Model. Scenarios address issues that cross the life span. The situation may occur in the neonatal, pediatric or adult population. However, the response is the same, regardless of the patient population. The remaining 25 questions focus on issues that are specific to adult, pediatric or neonatal patients.

For additional information about the CCNS examination, contact AACN Certification Corporation, 101 Columbia, Aliso Viejo, CA 92656-1491; phone, 800-899-2226; e-mail, certcorp@aacn.org; Web site, http://www.certcorp.org.

Related Resources
1. AACN Certification Corporation. Adult CCNS examination. A blueprint for study and sample questions.
2 Moloney-Harmon PA. The Synergy Model: contemporary practice of the clinical nurse specialist. Crit Care Nurse. 1999; 19:101-104.

Patricia Moloney-Harmon is a past chair of the AACN Certification Corporation Board of Directors. Patricia Gonce-Morton is editor of AACN Clinical Issues and a member of the AACN Advanced Practice Work Group.


AACN Certification Corporation Seeks Nominations for Leadership Roles

AACN Certification Corporation is seeking nominations of individuals to serve on the Board of Directors for terms that begin July 1, 2003.

Invited are nominations for the offices of chair-elect and three directors.

Nominations must be received or postmarked by June 14, 2002. The nomination form appears on page 3 of this issue of AACN News. Nomination forms can also be obtained by calling (800) 899-2226 or online at www.http://aacn.org.

The board is made up of individuals from the disciplines being certified and consumer representatives. These board members are accountable for ensuring sound certification programs that address the competencies required of critical care nurses for excellence in practice and for fulfilling the professional obligation to patients.

Reimbursement for travel as well as for other expenses is provided for all of these national volunteer positions. Following are brief descriptions 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. The Board of Directors selects the chair-elect candidate from the submitted nominations.

Director (Three, 2-Year Terms)�A director actively participates in governance to ensure the corporation�s financial viability and growth; evaluates organizational outcomes based on established priorities and action plans; monitors the impact of corporation initiatives on patient care and healthcare delivery systems; articulates positions and policies to key stakeholders; and ensures a successful relationship between AACN and AACN Certification Corporation. Nominations for both nurse leaders and consumer representatives are being accepted for these positions.

For more information about the Call for Nominations, contact Jan Buffington at (800) 394-5995, ext. 307 or visit the AACN Web site at http://www.aacn.org

Take Advantage of 3-Person CCRN Exam Discount

Have you and your colleagues talked about taking the CCRN certification exam, but have just never taken the final step? Don�t delay. Now is a great time to follow through on this goal.

The special, discount offer for three or more candidates to apply as a group to take the adult, pediatric or neonatal exam expires June 30, 2002. The discounted exam fee is $175 for AACN members and $255 for others, saving each applicant $45.

Co-applicants are not required to take the exam at the same time.

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.


Is Your Practice Synergistic?

Do you apply the Synergy Model in your practice? Do the unique characteristics of your patients dictate the nursing competencies you use? If so, we would like to share your special stories in the �Synergy Model in Practice� feature in Critical Care Nurse.

Send your stories to AACN Certification Corporation, Attn: Certification Specialist Liz Miller, RN, 101 Columbia, Aliso Viejo, CA 92656; e-mail, Liz.Miller@aacn.org.