AACN News—October 2007—Certification

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Vol. 24, No. 10, OCTOBER 2007

First Certified Nurse Audited for Renewal by Synergy CERPs

Ruth Wagner, RN, BSN, CCRN

Congratulations to Ruth Wagner, RN, BSN, CCRN , the first randomly selected CCRN who renewed her credential by Synergy CERPs. She passed with flying colors! In the following paragraphs, Wagner shares her thoughts on her certification, the renewal path and Renewal by Synergy CERPs.

I first became CCRN certified in 1989, eight months pregnant with my third child, knowing if I didn’t do it then, it probably wouldn’t happen. I have been a critical care nurse for 27 years, the past 17 of which I have worked at Rose Medical Center in Denver, Colo.

Looking at my accumulated CERPs form in preparation to recertify, I realized I had 89 of the 100 necessary. As I read the descriptions to recertify by Synergy CERPs, it occurred to me that some of my activities, such as teaching in the ICU Skills Labs (Category B), participating on the ICU Nursing Practice Committee (Category C) and work I had done with our unit educator, Denise Ellis, to identify a vision for the ICU (Category C) could also be counted as CERPs. Some of the classes I had taken in pursuing my interest in Palliative Care and Ethics would now count in Category B instead of A where I would have put them in the past. Also, my AACN membership (Category C) gave me 9 CERPs for three years. I called AACN Certification Corporation to clarify how many CERPs some of the activities should be awarded. They were helpful, and I realized I have enough CERPs to Renew by Synergy CERPs.

After being notified I would be audited, I reviewed the material and realized I had not taken credit for my volunteer work as a school nurse at Regis Jesuit High School (Category B), where my sons were students, and my work at Rose Medical Center on the Partnership Committee (Category C). So I had more than enough CERPs to successfully renew.

What I liked so much about recertifying using Synergy CERPs (in addition to now having more than 100 CERPs without taking and paying for more classes) was that I received credit for some of the extra things I had become involved in outside of direct bedside nursing care. It seems that by offering Renewal by Synergy CERPs, AACN is giving certified nurses credit for their leadership efforts on and off the job and encouraging nurses to be well-rounded professionals. I would encourage everyone to look at the descriptions of the Synergy CERP categories and sort through their CERPs. It‘s easier than you think!

Renewal by Synergy CERPs

Renewal by CERPs and Renewal by Synergy CERPs programs will both be accepted until January 2010, when all CCRNs and PCCNs will use the Renewal by Synergy CERPs program. Nurses who are learning about Renewal by Synergy CERPs are discovering that the new program will not be a difficult transition. The new program still requires 100 CERPs; just the framework for the program has changed to bring it into alignment with our certification programs. What is different are the category names (now A, B, and C) and their respective weights. The following table outlines the new requirements, based on the AACN Synergy Model for Patient Care Nurse Competencies.

CERPs must total 100 during the three-year renewal period. Note that the minimum CERPs in specific categories totals 80 CERPs. Thus, 20 additional CERPs are required, but they may be in any category, within the range described in the chart.

At the new Free Online CE Center, AACN members can sort CEs by the Synergy CERPs category. This makes it easy to find free CERP options in any needed category.
CE certificates at NTI are now printed with codes for both Renewal by Synergy CERPs (A, B, C) and Renewal by CERPs (A, O).

Resources related to the Renewal by Synergy CERPs program are available at www.certcorp.org > What’s New, or www.certcorp.org > AACN Synergy Model for Patient Care/Renewal by Synergy CERPs.

The following resources are available online:
• Renewal by Synergy CERPs Fact Sheet
• PowerPoint Slide Presentation with Narration about Renewal by Synergy CERPs (15 minutes) – good for inservice, chapter meetings or individual clarification.
• Quick Reference on topics and activities counting toward Categories A, B and C
• QwikTips
• CCRN/PCCN Renewal Handbooks (with full details)

Impressive Growth in Number of AACN Certification Candidates

Last year, AACN Certification Corporation saw an 18.7% increase in new candidates (more than 7,000) signing up to take the CCRN exam and a 26.0% increase in new PCCN applicants (1,774). Many factors may contribute to the rising certification numbers, including recognition of the value of certification among hospitals and nurses, hospitals’ and units’ desire for excellence demonstrated by their pursuit of Magnet and Beacon status, the increasing focus on patient safety and the importance of meaningful recognition emphasized in AACN’s Standards for a Healthy Work Environment. AACN now has more than 50,000 certified nurses.

Subspecialty Certificants May Renew Online

CMC and CSC renewing certificants may renew online. The CMC/CSC Renewal Handbook is online under CMC and CSC at www.certcorp.org.

Do You Qualify for CCRN-E Status?

If your CCRN expired due to not meeting direct bedside hours because you were working exclusively or primarily in the remote ICU (virtual ICU) environment, you have until Dec. 31, 2007 to apply through the Review and Appeals Process to be reinstated under the CCRN-E status. For more information, refer to the CCRN-E Renewal Handbook at www.certcorp.org > What’s New.

Cardiac Subspecialty Exams Now Accredited

AACN Certification Corporation’s subspecialty exams, CMC (Cardiac Medicine) and CSC (Cardiac Surgery), have been accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), the accreditation arm of the National Organization for Competency Assurance (NOCA). NOCA was established in 1987, and its mission is to help ensure the health, welfare and safety of the public through the accreditation of certification programs that assess professional competency.
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