The National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA) was recognized with the Research Award by the Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE) at their annual conference, the ICE Exchange, held Nov. 18-21, 2019, in San Diego.

The Research Award, the Institute’s newest award, recognizes an individual or organization that conducted credentialing-related research of particular significance to the ICE community. This award also seeks to recognize best practice in research, as well as the impact on the credentialing community.

The NBCRNA conducted a rigorous study to determine if use of resources and method of test administration for its Continued Professional Certification Program Assessment (CPCA) impacts performance, testing experience, and fidelity of the exam. Accepting the award on behalf of the NBCRNA was Dennis Spence, PhD, CRNA, first author of the study, member of the NBCRNA Board of Directors, and chair of the NBCRNA Evaluation and Research Advisory Committee.

 “The NBCRNA made a commitment in 2017 to focus on research and on evaluating our credentialing programs to achieve our vision as the leader in advanced practice nurse credentialing,“ said NBCRNA CEO Karen Plaus, PhD, CRNA, FAAN, CAE. “This unique study was pivotal in determining the future direction of our assessment, while offering unique data for other organizations facing similar situations and challenges.”

“I’m both humbled and proud of the NBCRNA recognition for our research project.” Dr. Spence shared as he accepted the award. “We have a visionary evidence-based evaluation and research plan for the NBCRNA credentialing programs that will continue to contribute to the credentialing community. I want to thank the NBCRNA Board, staff and the many volunteers for their contributions.

For the study, a total of 1,500 CRNAs were randomized into one of six groups based on method of proctoring (in-person or live online remote) and use of resources (closed book, open book with NBCRNA-provided resources [eBooks], or open book with use of a choice of two of eight approved hard copy resources). Subjects completed a pre-assessment survey, the CPCA, and a post-assessment survey.

Scores in the resource groups were five points higher (p < .05) and exam times were twice as long (p < .05). Performance standard rates were similar (p > .05). Resources were used by 84.2% to confirm an answer, and 40% indicated problems with eBooks. Remote proctoring ratings were lower than expected; however, 55-73% indicated remote proctoring would reduce their anxiety on future exams.

Following review of the results, NBCRNA will offer future CPCA exams as closed book assessments with the choice of in-person or remote proctoring that does not require live, online proctors.