2020 National Practice Analysis of Cardiac Medicine Nurses

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Executive Summary

AACN Certification Corporation regularly conducts national studies of practice, also known as practice analyses, as the basis for developing certification test plans, which are based on current clinical practice. The purpose of the CMC study of practice is to describe the job activities of the adult cardiac medicine nurse in sufficient detail to provide a basis for the development of a professional, job-related subspecialty certification exam.

A Practice Analysis Task Force (PATF) was appointed by AACN Certification Corporation. The selected subject matter experts represent a wide variety of work-related characteristics such as years of experience, work setting, geographic location and area of specialty. This diversity helps the PATF develop a scope of practice reflecting the roles and responsibilities of the cardiac medicine nurse that is relatively free of bias.

The PATF met in February 2019 to identify the responsibilities of a nurse caring for adult cardiac medicine patients and develop a web-based survey tool. The task force developed and piloted a survey that included 42 task statements and 79 knowledge statements across four content domains.

The final web survey was sent to individuals identified by AACN Certification Corporation as currently practicing in cardiac nursing. The survey yielded 115 usable responses, with respondents' ratings displaying an acceptable level of interrater reliability for the patient care problems and nursing actions. Reviewing the results of the survey, the PATF identified the task and knowledge areas that would comprise the new CMC Test Plan and finalized the weighting for each area with content distribution at the competency area level as well as the topic level.

Continuing with the exam development, the CMC Item Writing Committee and the CMC Item Review Committee drafted and fine-tuned exam items for pretesting based on the new test plan.

The CMC Exam Review Committee then reviewed the complete pool of exam items for relevance, accuracy and fairness, validating each item in at least one reference on the exam bibliography.

Finally, the CMC Score Evaluation Committee analyzed the difficulty of the items in the final item pool to determine the passing standard, also known as the cut score. The multiple-choice subspecialty CMC exam will be composed of 75 scored items plus 15 unscored pre-test items.

The CMC Test Plan is available to exam candidates, review course instructors and other interested individuals and organizations.

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