Critical Care Registered Nurse Test
The Critical Care Registered Nurse (CCRN) test is a certification for nurses who have experience caring for ill pediatric, adult, or neonatal patients. Although not a requirement, certification has many benefits. In addition to increased pay and employment opportunities, you will also gain the respect of your co-workers. Having a certification is a confidence builder. It shows that you are dedicated to the field, since you have invested time and money to prove that you hold the requirements needed to care for ill patients.
To apply for the CCRN test, you must meet several requirements.
- You must hold a current nursing license with no restrictions. You must have spent 1,750 hours caring for critically or acutely ill patients in the past two years, with 875 of these hours occurring in the past year.
- You must have also worked with patients in one of the following settings: cardiac care unit, intensive care unit, trauma unit, surgical or medical care unit, critical care flight transport, neonatal intensive care unit, or pediatric intensive care unit.
- Those who have the experience but do not work in one of these settings (for example, in an emergency room) can still apply for the CCRN test. They simply need to sign an honor statement verifying that they have worked with critically and acutely ill patients for the minimum required hours. Individuals with felony convictions and license restrictions are ineligible to take the CCRN test. In addition, any past instances of lying or cheating in regards to work history or the CCRN test will automatically disqualify an applicant.
To register for the CCRN test, you will need to submit an application and honor statement, along with the appropriate fee. If you are a member of the American Association of Critical Nurses (AACN), you will payless, $225 as opposed to $330, for the computer-based test. The pencil-and-paper format ranges from $225-$240 for members and $330-$345 for non-members. The price depends on the number of students taking a pencil-and-paper test. Most choose the computer-based format, but not all candidates live near a computer testing center. The application process can take up to three weeks, but is much shorter if you apply online.
If you are approved to take the CCRN test, you must schedule it within a 90-day period. Test dates are first-come, first-served, so the sooner you schedule the test, the more likely you will have a choice of dates and times. You are allowed to reschedule your test once within the 90-day period without incurring any additional charges. If you fail the exam, you will need to wait two weeks and go through the application process again, which includes paying another fee.
The CCRN test contains 150 multiple-choice questions that must be completed in three hours. It has two types of questions. Most of the questions (80 percent) are age-specific and will test your knowledge about nursing. The topics include cardiovascular, pulmonary, neurology, gastrointestinal, multi-system, renal, endocrine, behavioral/psychosocial, and hematology/immunology topics. The remaining 20 percent will assess your knowledge of ethics and professionalism and includes topics such as advocacy, diversity, clinical inquiry, collaboration, caring practices, and facilitation of learning.
A passing score will earn you certification, which is good for three years. After that time, you may renew your certification either by retaking the exam or by taking continuing education classes.
Last Updated: 04/24/2012