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Vol. 23, No. 3, MARCH 2006

Item Writing Under Way for New ACNP Exam

In January, the ACNP Item Writing Committee met in Costa Mesa, Calif. to develop and validate items for the new AACN acute care nurse practitioner (ACNP) certification exam. Item writing will take place over the next eight months.

Following are some frequently asked questions about this exam:


Why is AACN developing an ACNP exam?

In 1995, AACN Certification Corporation and American Nurses Credentialing Center entered a joint venture to create and administer the first acute care nurse practitioner certification exam. After six years, this joint venture was dissolved in September 2001, largely because of differences in the respective organizations’ visions for the future of certification. The dissolution agreement called for a period in which AACN Certification Corporation could not develop a competing exam. AACN Certification Corporation used the noncompete time to talk with our ACNP constituents to ensure we fully understood their needs and were prepared to meet those needs. Also during this time, a national job analysis of currently practicing ACNPs was conducted to determine the knowledge, skills and abilities necessary to test for certification as an ACNP. As a result, AACN Certification Corporation is now developing an acute care nurse practitioner certification exam, which is aligned with our mission to provide comprehensive credentialing for nurses to ensure their practice is consistent with established standards of excellence in caring for acutely and critically ill patients and their families.

AACN Certification Corporation’s ACNP certification examination will align with AACN’s extensive expertise as the specialty organization that understands the practice of acute care nurse practitioners NPs. The exam will be based on our comprehensive study of practice of acute care nurse practitioners in acute and critical care settings and will target entry-level acute care nurse practitioner competencies.


Because there will be two certification exams for ACNPs, what will be the benefit of AACN Certification Corporation’s exam?

There are other nursing specialties that have two certification exams; for example, pediatric nurse practitioners, family nurse practitioners and adult nurse practitioners have exams offered by different certifying organizations.

AACN Certification Corporation is a mission-driven organization committed to offering a full spectrum of services, products and resources beneficial to acute and critical care nurses. AACN Certification Corporation’s study of practice is conducted regularly on ACNPs in acute and critical care settings, ensuring that our exam reliably tests current practice. At AACN Certification Corporation, we take great pride in offering the highest level of customer service. We are eager to make our trademark service available to acute care nurse practitioners.


Is the new AACN/ACNP test plan/blueprint available?

All information about our ACNP exam will be posted on the AACN Certification Corporation Web site (www.certcorp.org) when available. The ACNP test plan has been approved and is available online at www.certcorp.org > “What’s New.”

Members of the ACNP Item Writing
Committee are (left row, front to back)
Angela Nelson, Vicki Moore, Barbara
Lome, Erin McDowell, Kathy Langer,
Shannon Billingsley, Barbara Todd,
Kathleen Dobbin, Lori Madden, Laura
Kierol-Andrews and Kate Morse, and
(right row, back to front) Donna Charlebois,
Corey Meisenbach, Elizabeth Cattell, Teresa
Schleimer, Karin Grant, Theresa Glessner,
Cindy Cunningham, Peggy Kirkwood, Lori Cox,
Lisa Erickson, Nicole Grim, Linda Prinkey-Briggs
and Mary Franklin.

Study Focuses on v-ICU Practice

A virtual-ICU (v-ICU) study of practice is now under way. V-ICU is a practice where critical care nurses use special technology behind a camera to monitor ICU patients, synthesize patient data and consult with staff.

Many CCRNs now in the v-ICU environment have been unable to maintain their credential because they have not been working at the bedside in the traditional sense. In response, AACN Certification Corporation is studying the nursing knowledge, skills and abilities required for this practice to determine appropriate certification and recertification requirements.

In January, the v-ICU Practice Analysis Task Force met to develop the study.

AACN Certification is excited about this groundbreaking research, because the v-ICU practice is growing and is as yet uncharted territory for certification.

Members of the v-ICU Practice Analysis
Task Force are (front row, center) Kimberly
Malone, (left row, front to back) Allison Agarwal,
Kristina Tucker, Bridget Helinger, Janine
Mazabob, Carrie Saurwein and Anita Witzke
(right row, back to front)Vicki McKimmey,
Melanie Swecker, board liaison Debby Greenlaw,
Lisa Clements, Otis Anthony and Lisa Ochoa.

The CCRN and PCCN Self-Assessment Exams offer Category A CERPs toward certification renewal when a current certificant passes the SAE with a score of 70% or higher. Earn 15 CERPs for the CCRN SAE and 12 CERPs for the PCCN SAE. For more information, visit www.certcorp.org, click on Products and Courses, then select CCRN or PCCN Self-Assessment Exam.

Apply for Paper-and-Pencil Exam Versions

Paper-and-pencil versions of the CCRN, CCNS and PCCN specialty exams, as well as the CMC and CSC subspecialty exams, will be offered at NTI 2006 in Anaheim, Calif., on Monday, May 22 from 2 to 6 p.m. Check-in starts at 1 p.m.

Preregistration using a special NTI exam application is required for each exam. The special NTI exam application may be obtained online at www.certcorp.org > “What's New” or by calling (800) 899-2226 (specify CCNS, CCRN, PCCN, CMC or CSC exam at NTI). To be eligible, your special NTI exam application must be submitted by Tuesday, April 4.
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