The progressive care nurse practice analysis (also known as a study of practice) was performed in 2017. The purpose of the practice analysis was to describe the job activities of the progressive care nurse in sufficient detail to provide a basis for the development of a professional, job-related certification exam.
A Practice Analysis Task Force (PATF) was appointed by AACN Certification Corporation to identify the responsibilities of a progressive care nurse and develop the certification test specifications. The diversity of this group reflected the diverse aspects of the progressive care nurse's job. All PATF members demonstrated expertise in the duties and activities associated with this profession.
The study involved development of a practice analysis survey, distribution of the survey to professionals involved in progressive care nursing, and analysis of the responses. Test specifications for the progressive care nurse were developed on the basis of these data. The PATF was responsible for the following six tasks:
- Developing a definition of the progressive care nurse,
- developing a sampling plan for the survey,
- identifying patient care problems and nursing actions,
- determining rating scales,
- determining the relevant demographic variables of interest, and
- integrating the definition, patient care problems, nursing actions, rating scale and demographics into a survey instrument.
A total of 44,641 invitations for the online survey were emailed to individuals identified by AACN Certification Corporation, and 1,909 usable responses were identified. The respondents' ratings displayed an acceptable level of interrater reliability for the patient care problems and nursing actions.
After the survey data were analyzed, the results were reviewed by the PATF and decision rules were established. These rules were used to determine which patient care problems and nursing actions were appropriate for assessment and, therefore, inclusion in the final test content outline. Application of the decision rules resulted in the retention of 84 patient care problems and 64 nursing actions. Each multiple-choice exam will be composed of 100 scored items plus 25 unscored pre-test items. The resulting test plans for PCCN and PCCN-K will be used by AACN Certification Corporation’s exam development committees to assemble the exams.
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