AACN News—January 2008—Certification

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Vol. 25, No. 1, JANUARY 2008

Age Is No Barrier to Tackling the CCRN Exam


By Karen M. Conover, RN, BSN, CCRN

When nursing became my second career, critical care became my first love and certification my immediate goal. In 1990, after an eight-week CCRN review sponsored by the Broward County Chapter of AACN, I took the CCRN exam. At that time, the exam was 200 questions to be completed in four hours. It took several weeks to receive the results, and the wait was certainly anxiety provoking. When the letter came advising me that I had indeed passed the exam, I promised myself I would never allow my certification to lapse. For 17 years I had kept that promise.

As with most nurses, my energies are directed toward nursing professionalism. This year I am serving as chapter president for the Palm Beach County Chapter, slowly pursuing a Masters in Nursing and actively involved in forming a Nursing Alumni Society at Florida Atlantic University. Unfortunately, I totally overlooked the renewal date for my CCRN certification. When I recovered from the sick feeling in the pit of my stomach, I called National AACN for assistance only to find I would be required to retest. Of course this news did not thrill me. However, after some thought and deliberation, I decided to retake the exam. Being CCRN certified was very important to me. I felt great pride in that accomplishment, believing certification to be a symbol of my experience and knowledge. It signified that I belonged to an ever-growing group of acute and critical care nurses who were not only committed to improving patient outcomes through education and research, but to elevating professionalism in the acute and critical care setting.

Although I am 62 years old and retirement is around the corner, I am still a bedside critical care nurse and I still love patient care. I saw retaking the exam as an opportunity to encourage and challenge my younger colleagues to follow my example. The Palm Beach County Chapter offers a CCRN review in June at Florida Atlantic University. We offered any nurse who took our review and passed the CCRN exam free National and local AACN membership. So what other choice did I, as president of the chapter, have but to take the exam? So on Oct. 23, I retested. Although the exam was still very challenging, it was certainly an easier task to retest than it had been to sit for initially. After registration, a phone call set the date, time and place for testing. The accommodations were accessible and comfortable and the best part was that the results were available immediately. Thankfully, I passed and again I have made the promise to never let my certification lapse. I encourage all critical care nurses to attain certification. You will experience tremendous satisfaction and pride when you receive your card and certificate and add the CCRN initials after your name.

Q & A: Renewal by Synergy CERPs

Q In order to meet Category A CERP requirements do I have to have both Clinical Judgment and Clinical Inquiry CERPs?

A No, your CERPs in Category A may come from either Clinical Judgment or Clinical Inquiry CERPs or a combination of both. You must have a minimum of 60 CERPs in Category A. Similarly, there are four nurse characteristics/competencies in Category B and two in Category C. You don’t need to have CERPs in all areas, but in at least one of them for a minimum of 10 CERPs each for Category B and C. For more information on Renewal by Synergy CERPs, visit www.certcorp.org > AACN Synergy Model for Patient Care > Renewal by Synergy CERPs.

ACNPC Certification Exam Update

A few firsts after AACN launched the ACNPC exam in November 2007:
• The first Certification by Endorsement application has been accepted.
• Utah, New Hampshire, North Dakota and Maryland are the first states to officially approve the ACNPC exam. ACNPC exam approval is on upcoming agendas for state boards of nursing in several other states.
• New product available - ACNPC Lapel Pin (Item #402900)
The pin is a symbol of excellence for those who hold ACNPC certification. It features the ACNPC logo on a hunter green background.
Price: $4.75 member, $5.75 nonmember.

Paper and Pencil Exam Application Deadlines Quickly Approaching

Paper and pencil exams for the CCRN, PCCN, CCNS, ACNPC, CMC and CSC will be given at the following events this spring:
• Spring Trends in Trauma and Cardiovascular Nursing
conference in Philadelphia on Thursday, April 10, 2008. The deadline to
submit Trends exam applications to AACN is Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2008.
• National Teaching Institute (NTI) in Chicago, on Monday, May 5, 2008.
• NTI exam applications are due to AACN by Tuesday, March 18, 2008.

Handbooks and special applications for these exams are posted at
www.certcorp.org > What’s New. If you cannot access the online materials, please call 800-899-2226 and request that a copy be sent to you via e-mail.

New Year’s Certification Tune-up:

• Be sure you know when your renewal period expires; don’t let your certification lapse. If you don’t meet the current practice requirements but think you will in the future, explore Inactive status prior to the expiration date of your certification.
• Review your CERPs and determine how many CERPs you will need to add during the year. Keep CERP documentation as you obtain it; save it even after successful renewal for an entire renewal period in case of audit.
• Read the new Renewal by Synergy CERPs requirements if you are a CCRN or PCCN. You will have an option to renew under the current CERP program requirements until Dec. 31, 2009. If you haven’t looked at the requirements for this new program, this is the time to learn about it, ask questions and start planning for new Category A, B and C requirements. At www.certcorp.org, you will find a PowerPoint slide presentation with narration that describes the new program. Check out the AACN Web site to see what CE programs are available (free for members) to meet your learning needs; you can also search for CE programs by CERP category designation.
• Update your AACN contact information in your online Customer Profile. Be sure to include your e-mail address.
• Find out more about subspecialty certification (CMC or CSC) to determine whether pursuing either of these credentials will help advance your career path.
• Make sure you know when your RN or APRN license is due for renewal. e

Online Renewal for CMC and CSC Subspecialty Exams Available

Online renewal is available for CCRN and PCCN specialty certificants, and for CMC and CSC subspecialty certificants. The CMC/CSC renewal handbook is available online at www.certcorp.org > What’s New.

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