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
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
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
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
If you are considering taking the CCRN exam,
additional information is available on the AACN Web site.
Certified Nurses to Hear 'Nurse's Nurse
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
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
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
or via the AACN Certification Web site at
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,