AACN News—February 2003—Certification

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Vol. 20, No. 2, FEBRUARY 2003


Across the Continuum of Care: CCRN Certification Is Right for Progressive Care Nurses, Too


By Randeen Cordier, RN, MSN, CS
Progressive Care Task Force

Progressive care nurses are critical care nurses who practice in settings where patients require astute and multifaceted assessment, moderate to high intensity therapies and interventions, and frequent nursing vigilance.

Like their counterparts in the ICU, progressive care nurses rely on a specialized body of knowledge, skills and experience to provide care to patients and families and to create healing, humane and caring environments. Their preparation is similar to that of an ICU nurse. For example, they obtain instruction in advanced cardiac life support and maintain competencies in cardiac rhythm interpretation, emergency procedures and other clinical aspects of care specific to their unit's scope of services.

The CCRN examination measures clinical knowledge and judgment. CCRN-certified nurses have the advanced body of knowledge necessary to care for the diverse needs of complex patients whether acutely or critically ill.

An estimated 40% of the approximately 40,000 currently certified CCRNs practice outside the ICU/CCU setting. Thus, progressive care RNs who meet the criteria should be encouraged to take the CCRN exam.
Although CCRN certification is not mandatory to practice in critical care, nurses who voluntarily achieve certification demonstrate their commitment to continuous learning and excellence in practice. In addition, many employers prefer to hire certified nurses who have demonstrated that they have acquired a high level of knowledge in their specialty through successful completion of an examination.

To promote AACN and the CCRN credential in the workplace, AACN and AACN Certification Corporation sponsor the AACN/CCRN Ambassador Program. These ambassadors act as liaisons between their communities, institutions, healthcare facilities and a variety of other settings and the AACN National Office by recruiting new members, introducing AACN standards and protocols in their workplaces, and promoting both the value of certification and the value of nursing.

Clearly, there is a place for AACN/CCRN Ambassadors in the progressive care arena.

AACN Certification Corporation has launched a comprehensive study of practice to explore the activities of nurses who care for acutely and critically ill patients in a variety of settings, from entry level through advanced practice roles. Findings from this research will result in refinements to the CCRN and CCNS certification exams. They may also potentially lead to the development of a critical care entry-level examination.

The hope is that this research will more clearly define the environment and practice of nurses who care for acutely and critically ill patients, including those in progressive care units.
The four-hour CCRN examination consists of 200 multiple-choice items that test critical care knowledge primarily at the application and analysis level to demonstrate strong, critical-thinking abilities. Eligibility to take the exam requires 1,750 hours of bedside care of acute or critically ill patients in the past two years (875 hours in the year preceding application).

If you are considering taking the CCRN exam, additional information is available on the AACN Web site.

Certified Nurses to Hear 'Nurse's Nurse Manager'

Judith �Ski' Lower to Speak at Annual Luncheon at NTI

Known by many as a "nurse's nurse manager," Judith "Ski" Lower, RN, MSN, CCRN, CNRN, will deliver the keynote address at the Certification Luncheon in connection with AACN's 2003 National Teaching Institute and Critical Care Exposition in San Antonio, Texas. For the second year, the luncheon speaker is sponsored by Nabi Biopharmaceuticals.

The annual luncheon is a time for CCRNs, CCNSs and ACNPs to celebrate their achievement and the value of certification. Those attending this ticketed event receive 0.5 Category O contact hours of continuing education credit.

A well-known clinical speaker, Lower focuses on excellence in professional practice. She is the nurse manager of the neuroscience CCU and neurovascular ICU at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. The units are considered a model because of the staff's and management's strong professional values and because, under Lower's leadership, the nurses are full partners in decision making.

NTI 2003 is scheduled for May 17 through 22, with the Certification Luncheon scheduled for Monday. For more information or to register, visit the NTI Web site. or call (800) 899-2226.

Price Discounted for CCRN Self-Assessment Exam Online

Until the end of this month, you can take advantage of a special, discounted price to take the adult CCRN self-assessment examination online. Through Feb. 28, the price is $45. After Feb. 28, the price will be $50.

The self-assessment examination, offered by the Applied Measurement Professionals, Inc., testing service, is available at http://www.goamp.com or via the AACN Certification Web site at http://www.certcorp.org.


Take the CCRN or CCNS Exam During NTI 2003

Paper-and-Pencil Versions of Adult-, Pediatric and Neonatal Exams Offered

Once again, a paper-and-pencil version of the CCRN and CCNS certification exams will be offered in conjunction with AACN's annual National Teaching Institute and Critical Care Exposition in San Antonio, Texas. The adult, pediatric and neonatal versions of the exams will be available.

Offered by AACN Certification Corporation and Applied Measurement Professionals, Inc., the exams will be administered from 2 to 6 p.m. Monday, May 19. Preregistration by March 24 is required. To obtain the special NTI exam application, call (800) 899-2226.

NTI 2003 is scheduled for May 17 through 22. For more information or to register for the NTI, call (800) 899-2226 or visit the NTI Web site. The discounted, early-bird registration deadline is April 8.


Is Your Practice Synergistic?

Do you apply the Synergy Model in your practice? 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.