Response to the DNP Certification Exam
Q: What is your view of certification exams for DNP graduates?
A: Regarding certification of APRNs, AACN supports national certification for all APRNs but currently does not recognize a certification exam that distinguishes between the master’s-level competencies and advanced DNP competencies. Currently, there is no national certification standard or requirement for graduates of doctor of nursing practice (DNP) programs.
The Council for the Advancement of Comprehensive Care (CACC) and the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) have created a certifying exam that is offered to confirm advanced clinical competency. CACC, founded in 2000, is using the ABCC as its certifying body. Advanced practice registered nurses with national certification in an advanced practice nursing specialty and a doctor of nursing practice degree are eligible to take the certification exam beginning in November 2008. The exam consists of questions from a test pool of the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) Step 3 exam for MD licensure candidates. Successful DNP candidates earn the designation "Diplomate in Comprehensive Care" by the ABCC.
The American Association of Colleges of Nursing responded by stating that this exam will be voluntary and only available to DNP graduates who are APRNs and who have already received certification and licensure from the appropriate groups (above information adapted from Butler K. The DNP graduate as educator. In: Chism LA. The Doctor of Nursing Practice: A Guidebook for Role Development and Professional Issues. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett; 2009:169-193).
Personally, I support the current certification process already in place for APRNs. The intent of the DNP degree is to add competencies recommended by the Institute of Medicine, AACN, NONPF and the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists. Current certification by certifying bodies for nursing specialties more than adequately meet the need to establish competency of APRNs.
Editor's note: At the DNP Answers blog we take your questions about the DNP and answer them as best we can. This post is written by blogger Lisa Chism, NP, DNP, NCMP. Lisa was selected as the 2011 North American Menopause Society Certified Menopause Provider of the Year. Comment below to discuss this topic, or send new questions to email@example.com.
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