New Certification Specialties
Emerge From Study of Practice
Following a comprehensive, two-year study of acute
and critical care nursing practice, AACN Certification Corporation has decided
to pursue development of new certification examinations, most immediately in
progressive care nursing. The first exam is scheduled in conjunction with AACN’s
National Teaching Institute and Critical Care Exposition in May in Orlando,
Fla., where the once-a-year, paper-and-pencil version of the CCRN and CCNS exams
will also be administered.
In addition, AACN Certification Corporation plans to
introduce certification in cardiovascular surgical and in medical cardiology
nursing in 2005 as a subspecialty of critical care and will pursue development
of certification exams for entry-level critical care nurses and nurse
practitioners in critical care in the future.
The decisions to develop these new certification
exams were made after a Practice Analysis Task Force finalized its work in
October. The study explored the activities of nurses who care for acutely and
critically ill patients in a variety of settings, from entry level through
advanced practice roles. As a result, the task force was able not only to
identify overlaps and distinctions in different roles, but also to note
differences in education, judgment and practice within the progression of roles.
CCRN Exam Revisions
At the same time, slight adjustments will be made to
the content of the CCRN exam for adult, pediatric and neonatal nurses. Based on
the findings, the CCRN exam will continue to have a clinical judgment focus of
80%, with all clinical judgment items to be age specific. The core section
encompassing components of the AACN Synergy Model for Patient Care will continue
to represent 20% of the exam.
The components of the Synergy Model with respect to
patient characteristics consider resiliency, vulnerability, stability,
complexity, resource availability, participation in care, participation in
decision making and predictability. Derived from patient needs, the continuums
of nurse characteristics in the Synergy Model are clinical judgment, advocacy
and moral agency, caring practice, collaboration, systems thinking, response to
diversity, clinical inquiry or innovator-evaluator, and facilitator of learning
or patient or family educator.
Progressive Care Exam
The study validated the position taken earlier by
the AACN Progressive Care Task Force and Advisory Panel in defining the
progressive care environment, the patient populations served, and the core
competencies, basic knowledge and skills needed by progressive care nurses. An
AACN fact sheet related to progressive care is available online.
The Practice Analysis Task Force also found that
progressive care nurses devote the same amount of time as CCRNs to the nurse
characteristics identified in the Synergy Model. As a result, the new
progressive care exam will incorporate the Synergy Model components at the same
percentage of content distribution.
Cardiovascular Surgical and
Medical Cardiology Exams
By 2006, AACN Certification Corporation plans to
offer certification in these two subspecialty areas.
The study also revealed significant differences
between the practice of clinical nurse specialists and nurse practitioners,
especially in the sphere of influence content dimension. The most significant
finding related to the following percentages of time each role spends on Synergy
Entry Level Exam
With respect to novice critical care nurses, the
study found that clinical judgment is their primary focus. However, they also
perform some activities related to the Synergy Model components.
AACN Certification Corporation worked closely with
its testing service, PES, on the analysis and test specifications. PES surveyed
approximately 4,000 nurses‚ including approximately 2,000 adult, pediatric
and neonatal CCRNs and 500 noncertified nurses who
have less than one year of experience caring for acutely or critically ill
patients. In addition, the survey included all currently certified CCNSs and 500
other advanced practice nurses in critical care settings and 100 progressive
Paper-and-Pencil Versions of CCRN,
CCNS and New Progressive Care Exams Offered
Take Certification Exams at NTI
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 Orlando, Fla. But
this year, the new certification exam for progressive care nurses will also be
AACN Certification Corporation decided to develop
the progressive care exam after a comprehensive study of practice was completed.
(See related story, beginning on page 1.) Both Exam Writers and an Exam
Development committees have been appointed to finalize the exam blueprint.
The adult, pediatric and neonatal versions of the
CCRN and CCNS exams will be available.
Offered by AACN Certification Corporation and
Applied Measurement Professionals, Inc., the exams will be administered on
Monday, May 17, from 2 to 6 p.m. Preregistration by March 22 is required.
NTI 2004 is scheduled for May 15 through 20. For
more information or to register for the NTI, call (800) 899-2226.