2020 National Practice Analysis of Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioners

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AACN Certification Corporation conducts regular national studies of practice, also known as practice analyses, as the basis for development of certification test plans, which are based on current clinical practice. The purpose of the ACNPC-AG study of practice is to describe the job activities of the adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner (ACNP) in sufficient detail to provide a basis for the development of a professional, job-related advanced practice certification exam.

A Practice Analysis Task Force (PATF) was appointed by AACN Certification Corporation. The diversity of this group of subject matter experts reflected the job of the adult-gerontology ACNP, and all members of the PATF demonstrated expertise in the duties and activities associated with the role.

The PATF met in February 2020 to identify the responsibilities of an adult-gerontology ACNP and develop a web-based survey tool. The task force developed 83 task statements and 155 knowledge statements across seven content domains. A pilot survey was then conducted with the PATF.

In June 2020, invitations for the final web survey were sent to 8,622 individuals identified by AACN Certification Corporation as being currently certified as an adult-gerontology ACNP. The survey yielded 151 usable responses, with usable defined as individuals who completed at least 95% of the task and knowledge statements.

The PATF met again in August 2020 to review the results of the survey, identify the task and knowledge areas that would comprise the new ACNPC-AG Test Plan, and finalize the weighting for each area with content distribution at the competency area level as well as the topic level.

Over the next several months, the ACNPC-AG Item Writer Committee and Item Review Committee worked diligently to draft and fine-tune a comprehensive pool of exam items based on the new test plan, with each item validated in at least one reference on the exam bibliography.

The ACNPC-AG Exam Review Committee then validated and linked each item to the new test plan, unanimously agreeing on each item and developing the new exam forms.

Finally, the ACNPC-AG Score Evaluation Committee analyzed the difficulty of the items within the final item pool to determine the passing standard (also known as the cut score) for the exam. The multiple-choice exam will be composed of 150 scored items, plus 25 unscored pre-test items.

The ACNPC-AG Test Plan is available to exam candidates, program directors, review course instructors and other interested individuals and organizations.