AACN News—December 2003—Certification

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Vol. 20, No. 12, DECEMBER 2003


Assess Your Knowledge With Practice Exam
Use Tool to Prepare for Test or as a Refresher


As part of an effort to help candidates be successful in taking the CCRN-Adult examination, AACN Certification Corporation offers an Internet-based practice exam.
Developed with its testing agency, Applied Measurement Professionals, Inc., and its subsidiary LXR, the practice exam is available online. The fee is $50. Customers have access to the practice test for 90 days from date of purchase.

The CCRN-Adult practice examination exactly matches the content outline of the actual exam. Although the practice exam is 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 has 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.

In addition to helping users prepare for the actual exam, the practice test can be used as a self-assessment and learning tool.


Renew Online

Hundreds of CCRNs have already taken advantage of AACN Certification Corporation�s online certification renewal by CERPs.

The online CCRN renewal by CERPs is available to all active adult, neonatal and pediatric CCRNs with renewal dates of February 1, 2003 or later. The CCRN Renewal Handbook, which includes the renewal requirements and policies, is available online at www.certcorp.org or by calling (800) 899-2226.


Share Your Experiences With Certification
Your Stories Could Encourage Others

What motivated you to seek certification? What emotions did you experience-going into the exam, during the exam and immediately after the exam? How did you feel when you knew you had successfully passed the exam?

Sharing your experiences may encourage and inspire others by helping them realize that they are not alone in this prestigious pursuit and that their emotions are not out of step with what others have felt.

Following are just a couple of the responses that were received by AACN President Dorrie Fontaine, RN, DNSc, FAAN, after she invited readers to share in her August 2003 "President�s Note" column, titled "Rising Above: New Questions, New Opportunities: Embrace the Art of Possibility."

Patricia Graefe, RNC, CCRN
Sanford, N.C.
Next year, I will celebrate my 40th year in nursing-first as an LPN, then as a diploma-prepared RN. I worked in a small, community hospital with a 16-bed special care unit. Difficult cases were stabilized and then transferred to the regional hospital.

I took my CCRN exam in 1991 as a challenge to myself. My mentor, who had been in critical care for more than 30 years, kept telling me how horrible the test was and that many nurses failed the first time they took it. My unit director, who was CCRN certified, loaned me her tapes on CCRN preparation. Except for her and my husband, no one knew I was preparing for the exam.

From April until July, I spun wool and listened to the tapes. I took the practice exams from the Core Curriculum book and was faint of heart when I had to look up every question. I thought to myself, "Who am I kidding? I am too dumb to take this test." But I was determined that I could take this CCRN exam and pass it on the first try.

The day of the exam was unbelievable. The classroom was crowded, with all the participants literally elbow to elbow. I was petrified. When I walked out of that classroom (I waited at my desk until at least three others left before me), I felt as if a huge millstone was taken off my shoulders. One can imagine the jubilation I felt when I found out that I passed on the first try. I have held onto that glow ever since.

I have maintained my CCRN, as well as my certification as a gerontological nurse. I manage to get a minimum of 150 hours of continuing education each year. My certification has helped me with teaching the new staff members and encourages me to keep up to date. I don�t want to fail in the eyes of my co-workers or myself.

I congratulate all those nurses who take the test and feel the sense of pride of accomplishment.

Terri E. Girt, RN, MSN, CNS
Markleville, Ind.
I am a critical care nurse of 12 years and have just finished my MSN as an adult health CNS. One of my goals is to take the CCRN exam.

I am one of those who has desired to take the exam and have even taken one review course, but have been unable to go through with it. Now that I am now done with grad school, I really have no excuse!

Test taking has never been a talent for me, so I think that also has kept me from taking the exam. However, I feel that I have the knowledge.

If you have a similar story to tell, send your comments to AACN News, 101 Columbia, Aliso Viejo, CA 92656; e-mail, ; fax, 949-362-2049.

Maintain Your Pride in CCRN Certification

Critical care nurses who can no longer maintain their active CCRN certification can apply for special designations designed to keep them connected to the prestigious credential:

Retired CCRN-for those who are retiring from nursing, with no plans to return or to renew certification and who have been a CCRN for a three-year period at some time in their career

Alumnus CCRN-for those no longer working at the bedside of acutely or critically ill patients, even in a supervisory role

If you are interested in either status, visit the AACN Certification Corporation Web site at www.certcorp.org.


Certification Director Elected to Board of Directors of NOCA

AACN Certification Corporation Director Carol Hartigan, RN, MA, has been elected to the board of directors of the National Organization for Competency Assurance, which sets quality standards for credentialing organizations nationwide.

Hartigan began her three-year term during the organization�s annual business meeting in November in Orlando, Fla.

Hartigan joined AACN as a program development specialist before moving to AACN Certification Corporation as a certification specialist and then director.

She formerly was NCLEX contract manager at the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, Chicago, Ill., and was project manager for the national implementation of Computerized Adaptive Testing. She has also served as associate executive director of the Missouri State Board of Nursing.