AACN News—January 2009—Certification

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Vol. 26, No. 1, JANUARY 2009


New PCCN Test Plan Slated for June

AACN Certification Corporation conducted a Progressive Care Study of Practice in 2008. Test specifications for progressive care nurses were developed as a result of this Web-based practice analysis survey sent to more than 3,000 progressive care nurses, which resulted in a remarkable 15.8 percent response rate.

An analysis by the PCCN Practice Analysis Task Force determined that 100 scored items would be sufficient to assess patient care problems. Decision rules resulted in retention of 48 patient care problems and 53 nursing actions. The nursing actions will not be tested specifically, but will provide guidance to future item writers.

Exam forms based on the new PCCN Test Plan will start via computer-based testing in June 2009. The NTI paper and pencil exam will be based on the current test plan, not the new one. However, the new PCCN Test Plan will be available online in a few weeks so review course instructors may see where changes in their curriculum would be appropriate and exam candidates planning to test in June 2009 can study from the new test plan.

The PCCN SAE and the PCCN Print Practice Exam are being revised based on the new test plan information and will be available within the next few months.

Although the test plan did not change dramatically, one of the main changes is the addition of a behavioral content area under Clinical Judgment. This new area will include patient problems such as delirium and dementia, mood disorder and depression, and substance abuse.

The exam is still based on the AACN Synergy Model for Patient Care framework and continues to have 100 scored items and 25 pre-test items. The weights of the content areas are still 80 percent Clinical Judgment and 20 percent Professional Caring and Ethical Practice.

The new test plan and additional information about the changes are now available on the Certification Web site: www.certcorp.org > Certification News. To the right is a quick reference to the changes in the test plan, showing the patient problems that have been removed and those that have been added. It does not list changes in either patient problem names or more specific percentage weights on the test plan. See the Web site for additional information.

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Additional States Approve ACNPC Exam


The Virginia and Kansas boards of nursing approved the ACNPC exam for APRN designation! That brings the total to 12 states that have approved our ACNPC exam, with 8 states that do not require ACNP certification.

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 be able to in the future, explore Inactive status prior to the expiration date of your certification.

Review your CERPs and determine how many 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 Jan. 1, 2010. If you haven’t looked at the requirements for this new program, now is the time to learn about it, ask questions and start planning for the new Category A, B and C requirements. At www.certcorp.org, there is 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 AACN members) to meet your learning needs; you can also search for CE programs by CERP category designation.

Visit www.certcorp.org, click CCRN or PCCN> Certification Renewal >Renewal by Synergy CERPs. Update your AACN contact information
in your online Customer Profile. Be sure to include your e-mail address. Not receiving renewal notices is not acceptable as a reason for not renewing on time.

If you are a nurse manager, find out about our new Certified Nurse Manager and Leader (CNML) certification offered in partnership with AONE.

Find out more about subspecialty certification (CMC or CSC) to determine whether pursuing one of these credentials will help advance your career path.


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