Do You Want Validation of Your Skills
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
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
Following are the requirements for taking the
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,
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;
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
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
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
Take Advantage of 3-Person CCRN Exam
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
or requested by calling (800)
899-2226 or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.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.