AACN News—August 2008—Certification

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Vol. 25, No. 8, AUGUST 2008


AACN Certification Corporation: Work to Be Proud Of



By Beth Martin, RN, MSN, CCNS, ACNP
AACN Certification Corporation Chair

At NTI 2008, many nurses shared their experience of achieving certification. Stories were told in the Certification Oasis, between sessions and on the shuttles. At the Certification Celebration, Ruth Pagac shared her story of courage to successfully become CCRN certified. All of these nurses talked proudly of achieving certification and of the confidence they now have in their patient care skills. AACN Certification Corporation is committed to providing certification programs that allow nurses to proudly demonstrate their specialized knowledge, skills and abilities.

Assuring that new and existing exams are based on the most current practice is essential. We conducted a Progressive Care Job Analysis in late 2007 and are now conducting a Critical Care Job Analysis. Based on these data, respective test plans will be refreshed and PCCN and CCRN exams will subsequently be changed to reflect actual practice. Work will continue on our joint venture with the American Organization of Nurse Executives to launch a certification examination for first-line nurse managers. This exam development is based on a survey of practice of nurse managers in critical care, progressive care, emergency and medical-surgical areas that was conducted by AACN and AACN Certification Corporation last year.

Advanced practice issues will continue to be another focus of the corporation’s work. Last November, the ACNPC exam, based on the study of advanced nursing practice in acute and critical care, was launched. Currently, 10 state boards of nursing have granted approval for the exam and others are in the process. As advanced practice nursing continues to evolve, AACN Certification Corporation will be “at the table” whenever possible to ensure the competencies of advanced practice nurses are matched to the needs of patients and their families.

The promotion of the health and safety of patients and families is the primary purpose of AACN Certification Corporation’s work. In accordance with accreditation standards, the patient and family are represented on the Board of Directors. This year, David Swankin, president and CEO of the Citizen’s Advocacy Center, will join the Board of Directors as a consumer representative.

AACN Certification Corporation is proud to continue the work that fosters practice excellence and optimal patient outcomes.

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Hats Off to Holy Cross Hospital

In April, the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit at Holy Cross Hospital in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. celebrated certification with a big party. Seventy percent of the unit’s nursing staff are now CCRNs, with seven attaining certification within the past year. Two CCRN plaques with the names of nurses who have received certification are displayed on the unit wall. The CVICU staff acknowledges that an important way to achieve clinical excellence is through certification.



Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit at Holy Cross Hospital in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.



Connie Weininger, Adrienne Wolfson and Beverly Nowlan display CCRN plaques from the CVICU at Holy Cross Hospital.

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Creating a Certification Culture: Roundtable on Best Practices

Here are a few best practices submitted to the NTI 2008 session on Creating a Certification Culture. The popular session provided a chance for participants to share their challenges and successes in promoting certification.

Mary Kay Jiricka

“My organization does a variety of practices to encourage and reward certification. We use the organization’s Web site and have a site dedicated to certification issues. When certification is achieved there is reimbursement for the certification exam fee and preparation classes. Certified nurses wear a hospital-designed certification pin. At the annual Nurses Week celebration there are special drawings for prizes that only certified nurses are eligible to win. In some units there is a certification plaque that lists the names of CCRNs. When the hospital was visited by the Magnet surveyors there was a special meeting with the surveyors and certified nurses to offer recognition and discuss how the organization supported/recognized
certification. The organization also offers certification prep classes.”

Marthe Moseley

“Our AACN chapter promoted a CCRN roundup for the purpose of encouraging potential candidates to take the CCRN certification exam. Our hospital was very active in promoting this certification effort, as well. We had a national speaker kick off the event and then followed up with other speakers every two weeks following the main event. About 80 people attended the two-day kickoff. The evening courses (every two weeks) were successful with about 25 people in attendance for the dinner/speaker events. We had drawings for attendees to receive reimbursement for the cost of the exam at the events.”

Norm Taylor

“Our CC managers decided to be role models for certification. We became certified and then also encourage and recognize newly certified nurses on staff. We have a wall of honor for our certified nurses and publish their names in our hospital newsletter.”


University Medical Center in Las Vegas established a Wall of Honor to recognize its CCRNs. Certified nurses pictured, left to right, are Rebecca Palone, Jane Ringor, Amando Nera, Grace Samson, Maricel Olan-Cabrera, Nenita
Rattanopas, Lydia Galez and Veronica Ignacio. Not pictured: Marlene Tinio, Imelda Anonuevo, Greggy King, Fenina Encabo and Cindy Warner.


Members of the 2008 PCCN Exam Development Committee are (left row, front to back) Karen Harvey (staff), Dawn Brooks, Kathleen Stacy, Crecy DeLaina, Barbara Stone, Larry Fabrey (AMP), (right row, front to back) Chelsea Gragg (AMP), Gerard Hannibal, Ellen Peller; Julia Garrison and JoEllen Craghead.

Trends Certification Exam Application Deadline

Paper and pencil exams for the CCRN, PCCN, CCNS and ACNPC specialties, and the CMC (Cardiac Medicine) and CSC (Cardiac Surgery) subspecialties will be offered on-site at the fall Trends in Critical Care Nursing conference in Philadelphia (King of Prussia), Pa. on Friday, Oct. 31, 2008.

Preregistration using a special Trends exam application is required for all exams. Payment of exam fees must accompany the Trends exam application, due at AACN by Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2008.
For more information, visit www.aacn.org > Certification > Certification News > Trends Paper and Pencil Exam in October 2008.

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