AACN News—June 2004—Certification

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Vol. 21, No. 6, JUNE 2004


Meet the New AACN Certification Corporation Leadership Team

The AACN Certification Corporation is poised for a change in leadership July 1 as Jan Foster, RN, MSN, PhD, CCRN, succeeds Suzanne S. Prevost, RN, PhD, as chair of the corporation's Board of Directors.

Taking office with Foster are Judy Verger, RN, MSN, CCRN, CRNP, chair-elect, and Beth Martin, RN, MSN, CCNS, CNRN, and Kevin D. Reed, RN, MSN, CNA, BC, both directors. Their appointments by the AACN Board of Directors followed a nominating process in which representatives of AACN Certification Corporation screened, evaluated and interviewed prospective candidates for the national leadership positions.

Returning to the board are Secretary-Treasurer Thomas L. Hickey, Mindy A. Hecker and Michael W. Day, RN, MSN, CCRN. Hickey and Hecker both represent consumer interests on the board. In addition to Prevost, Roberta Kaplow, RN, PhD, CCNS, CCRN, is completing her term on the board.

Two representatives of the AACN Board of Directors will also be appointed to the AACN Certification Corporation Board of Directors.

Following is information about Foster and the other newly appointed members of the AACN Certification Corporation Board of Directors:

Jan Foster
Foster is assistant professor for adult health and clinical nurse specialist in adult health at Texas Woman's University, Houston. She is also director of research at Memorial Hermann Hospital, Houston, and president of Nursing Inquiry & Intervention, Inc., a healthcare consulting firm.

Foster is a member of AACN and a member and past president of the Houston Gulf Coast Chapter of AACN. She has served as an AACN national volunteer as a member of the former Group of 100 and of the NTI Program Task Force, and as a regional chapter consultant. She was secretary-treasurer of the AACN Certification Corporation Board from 1999 to 2001, returning last year as chair-elect.

Foster graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor of science in nursing degree from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and earned her master of science in nursing degree with honors from the University of Texas, Houston, and her doctor of philosophy degree with honors from the University of Texas, Austin.

Judy Verger
Verger is research project manager and a doctoral candidate in the School of Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania and an advanced practice nurse at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

She has been an active AACN volunteer, having served on the Research Review Panel, NTI Work Group, Advanced Practice Work Group, AACN Online Continuing Education Item Writer and Pediatric Advisory Team.

She is a member of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Chapter of AACN.

Beth Martin
Martin is the clinical nurse specialist in the acute-critical care division at Carolinas Medical Center, Charlotte, N.C.

As a member of AACN and active volunteer, Martin has served in a variety of capacities, including as a Special Interest Consultant and as a member of the AACN Board Advisory Team, Program Advisory Panel, CE Article Review Panel, Publishing Work Group, Education Advisory Team, Member Greeter, Adult CCRN Item Writer Service, Advanced Practice Advisory Team, Practice Standards Task Force, Faculty Advisory Team, Creative Solutions and Research Abstracts Review Panel and NTI Abstracts Review Panel and as chair of the Education Work Group.

She is a member of the Piedmont Carolinas Chapter of AACN and a past member of the Gulfcoast Chapter of AACN.

She earned her bachelor of science in nursing degree from Spalding University, Louisville, Ky., and her master of science in nursing in adult health from the University of South Florida, Tampa. She is currently pursuing an acute care nurse practitioner postmaster's certificate at the University of South Carolina.

Kevin Reed
Reed is director of clinical operations in neuroscience and critical care at Clarian Health Partners, Methodist Hospital, Indianapolis, Ind.

He is also adjunct faculty at the Indiana University School of Nursing, Department of Environments for Health, Indianapolis.

Reed earned his bachelor of science in nursing degree from Ball State University, Muncie, Ind., and his master of science degree in nursing administration from Indiana University, where he is currently pursuing his doctorate in nursing.

He has been a member of AACN since 1987 and is a CCRN alumnus. He served on the AACN Board Advisory Team and is a past recipient of the AACN Excellence in Leadership Award, part of AACN's Circle of Excellence recognition program.

In addition, Reed has been involved in a partnership with AACN to develop a Professional Nursing Practice Model based on the Synergy Model and was instrumental in developing Clarian Health Partners' sponsorship of the Certification Oasis at the NTI.

Positive Thoughts Provide the Power to Overcome Fear

The power of positive thinking was validated during the past year as AACN President Dorrie Fontaine, RN, DNSc, FAAN, pledged to concentrate good thoughts for certification candidates who notified her of their exam dates.

As part of her President's Address at NTI 2004 in Orlando, Fla., Fontaine noted that more than 40,000 critical care nurses are CCRN- and CCNS-certified and that more than 400 nurses took the first PCCN exam for progressive care nurses during the NTI. Although 40,000 plus is a large number, she said, it represents just 10% of critical care nurses.

Because certification's main purpose is to promote and enhance consumer health and safety, Fontaine said she decided to focus some of her energy on it during her presidential year.

She also said she realized that many nurses don't seek certification because they're afraid of failing.

"Because fear is such a powerful demotivator and a personal emotion, it demands a personal connection," she explained. "So I adapted a simple technique developed for cancer patients by Dr. Rachel Remen to encourage possibility and make caring visible.

"I invited nurses to send me their exam date and promised I'd think of them that day and send good thoughts to them."

Almost every time, it worked, Fontaine said. Here's what one of her "regular customers," Stephanie Sanderson, RN, BSN, CCRN, a manager at the University of New Mexico Medical Center, Albuquerque, reported:

"We recently celebrated two more new CCRNs in our medical ICU. Can you believe we now have 19 CCRNs in our unit?"

Fontaine said her "good thoughts" offer still stands.

"You could do this for someone, too," she suggested. "Think of the possibility and the power!"


Hundreds Take Exams at NTI

Approximately 650 critical care nurses took the new PCCN exam and newly revised adult, pediatric and neonatal CCRN exams at the NTI in May in Orlando, Fla.

The CCRN exams are now in a blackout period. Computer-based testing for the new CCRN exams will resume July 12. Computer-based testing for the new PCCN exams for progressive care nurses is scheduled to be available in late August.

The response to the PCCN exam exceeded expectations, with more than 400 examinees from 37 states. Additional information about the new progressive care certification is available online.


CCRN Renewals Subject to Random Audits

CERP logs do not need to be turned in at the time of renewal. However, all renewals are subject to random audits, and candidates must maintain supporting documentation for three years following successful renewal.

As part of its mission to protect patients and the public, AACN Certification Corporation has audited 679 CCRN renewal candidates since August 2003. Of those, 29 candidates have been sent revocation letters as a result of the renewal audits. Employers are notified of revocation.

In the last fiscal year, 38% of the renewals were completed online. It's fast and easy, so take advantage of online renewal.


Board Addresses Eligibility for New Exams

The AACN Certification Corporation Board of Directors has determined that the eligibility requirements for subspecialty certification exams now under development will be comparable to the current CCRN, CCNS and PCCN exams. The corporation plans to launch the certification exams in cardiovascular surgery and in medical cardiology nursing in 2005.

Subspecialty certification eligibility will require a current, unrestricted RN or APRN license in the United States or its territories, and 1,750 hours in care of the acutely or critically ill patient within the two years preceding the date of application, with 875 of those hours in the most recent year preceding the application. In addition, certificants will be required to hold a current nationally accredited (NCCA or ABNS) nursing specialty certification.

Recertification of the subspecialty certifications will also have comparable requirements to the other certification programs.

The board also determined that, with respect to the CCRN examination or renewal, clinical practice hours outside the United States must take place in a U.S.-based facility or in a facility determined by verifiable evidence to be comparable to the U.S. standard of acute and critical care nursing practice.

Self-Assessment Exam Under Revision

The online Adult CCRN Self-Assessment Exam is unavailable while revisions to match the current test specifications are made. The revised SAE is scheduled to be available in the fall.

AACN Certification Corporation appreciates the volunteers who were selected to work on the revision of the SAE. They are Debbie Becker, RN, MS, MS, APRN, CRNP, NP, Michael Day, RN, MSN, CCRN, Roberta Kaplow, RN, PhD, CCNS, CCRN, Marthe J. Moseley, RN, PhD, CCRN, CCNS, Katie Schatz, RN, MS, MSN, APRN, NP, and Kathleen M. Stacy, RN, CNS, MS, CCRN.