Initial ACCNS-N Certification
Obtaining ACCNS-N certification demonstrates you have mastered certain skills, knowledge and abilities that distinguish you as a neonatal clinical nurse specialist.
Once you have reviewed the information outlined below and are ready to sit for the ACCNS-N exam, we recommend you submit your application online.
ACCNS-N Exam Information
The Certification Exam Policy Handbook provides detailed testing and policy information. The ACCNS-N Exam Handbook includes exam-specific information, including the application/honor statement and test plan.
- The ACCNS-N exam is a 3.5-hour test consisting of 175 multiple-choice items.
- Of the 175 items, 150 are scored and 25 are used to gather statistical data on item performance for future exams.
- The ACCNS-N exam focuses on the neonatal patient population, covering the spectrum of wellness through acute care.
- Each question on the ACCNS-N exam assesses one of the nurse characteristics identified in the Synergy Model.
- The 2011 AACN Certification Corporation Study of Practice included Synergy Validated CNS Competencies.
- Within the domain of Clinical Judgment, body systems is used as a second dimension of exam development.
Exam Eligibility Requirements
- Current unencumbered licensure as an RN or APRN in the U.S. is required.
- An unencumbered license is not currently being subjected to formal discipline by any board of nursing and has no provisions or conditions that limit the nurse's practice in any way.
- Candidates and ACCNS-N-certified nurses must notify AACN Certification Corporation within 30 days if any restriction is placed on their RN or APRN license.
- Completion of a graduate advanced practice education program meeting the following requirements:
- The education program is offered by an accredited college or university that offers a CCNE or ACEN accredited graduate degree in nursing with a concentration as a neonatal clinical nurse specialist covering the spectrum of wellness through acute care.
- The program has demonstrated compliance with the Criteria for Evaluation of CNS Graduate Educational Programs.
- Both direct and indirect clinical supervision must be congruent with current AACN and nursing accreditation guidelines.
- The curriculum includes, but is not limited to:
- Biological, behavioral, medical and nursing sciences relevant to practice as a neonatal CNS including advanced pathophysiology, pharmacology and physical assessment.
- Supervised clinical practice relevant to the specialty.
- Legal, ethical and professional responsibilities of the CNS.
- The curriculum meets the following criteria:
- Curriculum is consistent with competencies of neonatal CNS practice.
- Five hundred (500) supervised clinical hours in all roles of the neonatal CNS within the graduate program.
- All clinical hours must be focused on the care of neonatal patients. A portion of the total clinical hours must be focused on wellness and a portion on acute care, in the neonatal patient population.
- Supervised clinical experience is directly related to the knowledge and all role components of the neonatal CNS.
- Those making up clinical or didactic coursework to meet ACCNS-N exam eligibility must complete all make-up courses in a postmaster’s certificate or DNP program.
- Applicants determined to be ineligible for the ACCNS-N exam will have their application fee refunded.
Payable in U.S. Funds. Fees are subject to change without notice.