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The Continued Professional Certification (CPC) Program replaces the former "recertification" program. It focuses on lifelong learning and was developed in response to changing accreditation requirements, changing needs within the health care environment, the increasing role of CRNAs in the health care scene, as well as technology changes.
The CPC Program is based on 8-year periods comprised of two 4-year cycles. In addition to earning Class A (assessed CE) and Class B credits (professional development), and taking optional Core Modules (optional in this first 4-year cycle; required thereafter/beginning in 2020/2021), the next step in the CPC Program is the 2-year Check-in. The Check-in window for most CRNAs that recertified or originally certified in 2017 opened on April 2, 2019. The deadline for this same group of CRNAs will be July 31, 2019. Find out more on the 2-year Check-In page including a deadline chart. Additional information and resources for the CPC Program can be found throughout this CPC Program section of the website.
Learn more about the value of the CRNA credential here.
The CPC Program consists of 8-year periods, and each period is comprised of two 4-year cycles. Every two years CRNAs will check in through a simple, online process known as the 2-year Check-In.
In addition to practice and license requirements, the CPC Program includes these main components:
CPC Program Requirements
Class A Credits - Requirement: 60 per 4-year cycle.
These are most similar to the CE credits you've been accumulating in the past. Class A credits are activities that are 1) prior approved (e.g. by the AANA), 2) include an assessment of some type, and 3) are related to nurse anesthesia practice. The CE provider determines the cost of the courses they produce, but they are similar to current CE credit pricing. CE Vendors promote the courses as Class A-eligible. Note: You can use "extra" Class A credits (anything over the 60 required per 4-year cycle) to meet Class B requirements.
Regarding the assessment component: The CE activity must include an assessment. An assessment can take many forms, such as multiple choice questions, simulation demonstrations, case studies, or self-assessment.
Regarding prior approval: Just like current CE activities, an appropriate approval entity, such as the AANA, evaluates the activity and provides prior approval.
Regarding the activity being directly related to anesthesia: The CE activity must be directly related to nurse anesthesia practice and the delivery of, or the improvement of, anesthesia care for patients.
Class B Credits - Requirement: 40 per 4-year cycle.
Class B credits are the most flexible component of the CPC Program. Class B credits include a wide range of professional activities that enhance knowledge of anesthesia practice, support patient safety, or foster an understanding of the health care environment. A few examples include: Grand rounds, morbidity and mortality conferences, precepting, teaching, infection prevention courses, data collection, mission trips, public education, journal reviewing, and more.
TIP: Prior approval and assessment are not required for Class B activities. If you obtain more than 60 Class A credits in the 4-year cycle, they can be applied to fulfill your Class B requirement.
Watch the CPC Class B videos!
See the Class B Table for more ideas and credit values. The relationship between hours spent and Class B values is not one-to-one, with the exception of Class A assessed CE. The Class B Activities Reference Table provides the values for Class B activities and the documentation that will be needed if audited by the NBCRNA.
How to document/track Class B credits? The NBCRNA has developed a Class B Activities Table that details what information needs to be collected and retained for Class B credits. To assist you in your record-keeping, documentation templates are provided for each type of activity on the Table. Alternately, AANA members can access an online portal to record Class B credit participation and upload all supporting documentation to evidence involvement in that Class B activity. You can submit a Class B credit through AANALearn by logging in at www.aanalearn.com. There you'll click on the tab at the top of the page, “Class B Self Reporting.” On the left hand side of the page is a menu that says “Class B Learning” and there will be a link titled “Submit new learning;" click on this link. Follow the steps and click "submit." A video tutorial of this process can be found here.
If you are not an AANA member, you will maintain your Class B credit records on your own and report them to the NBCRNA every 4 years, much like you have managed your CE credits in the past.
Core Modules - Requirement: 4 per 4-year cycle.
The Core Modules provide a means for nurse anesthetists to stay informed about current literature and evidence-based knowledge. Each module is linked with the content outline of the CPC Assessment and includes a formal assessment, such as multiple choice questions.
Core Modules are voluntary for the first 4-year cycle: cycles ending in 2020 or 2021. Core Module credits also cross-count as Class A credits, as they are both prior-approved and include an assessment. Beginning in 2020/2021--or a CRNA's second 4-year CPC cycle--the Core Modules (4) will become a required component of the CPC Program.
Using a common set of objectives, continuing education (CE) providers will develop CE programs that address the four areas of anesthesia practice which apply to all CRNAs, regardless of practice focus: Airway Management; Applied Clinical Pharmacology; Human Physiology and Pathophysiology; and Anesthesia Equipment and Technology. The CE provider determines the length and cost of the Modules they produce. The AANA determines the Class A credit value of each Module. View the CPC Program Core Module Providers page for a list of current providers.
TIP: 60 Class A credits are required per 4-year cycle. Class A credits exceeding 60 can be applied towards the Class B requirement.
CPC Assessment - Requirement: Taken every 8 years.
The CPC Assessment (CPCA), is a performance standard assessment, and will not impact a CRNA’s credential will be taken between 2020-2024 and will include 150 questions, be closed book, and have a three-hour time limit. There will be no impact on certification, no matter how one performs on this assessment, with the completion of additional targeted continuing education in any area where the performance standard is not met. It is not a pass/fail assessment.
It is also not like the National Certification Examination (NCE). We know that the knowledge required of an experienced CRNA is different from the knowledge that is required of a new practitioner to enter the profession. The NBCRNA conducted a nationwide professional practice analysis of practicing nurse anesthetists to identify what they did in the course of practice. That data was used to develop the content outline (blueprint) for the CPC Assessment. The goal is to make sure that the knowledge tested is common to all CRNAs, regardless of practice focus.
The assessment will assess knowledge in the four core domains of nurse anesthesia practice, which are:
- Airway Management;
- Applied Clinical Pharmacology;
- Physiology and Pathophysiology; and
- Anesthesia Equipment and Technology.
The CPC Assessment content outline is available for review, and the NBCRNA will be offering practice questions.
CPC Assessment: Performance Standard -- No Pass/Fail
The CPC Assessment will be a performance standard assessment: no pass/fail. It will have no impact on certification, regardless of performance on the CPCA, with successful completion of additional targeted continuing education in any area where the performance standard is not met. Learn about new changes to the CPC Assessment.
This performance standard assessment will identify any areas in need of additional study without impacting your certification. Additional continuing education will be required in any area of weakness. The first CPC Assessment will be taken between 2020-2025 and the second between 2028-2033 and will again be a performance standard assessment -- no pass/fail.
2-year Check-In - Requirement: Every 2 years during the CPC cycle.
In the CPC Program, CRNAs will check back in every two years--the same timing as in the former "recertification" program. But this check-in will be a brief, online process. Though the continuing education periods in the CPC Program are divided into two 4-year cycles, you will check in every two years to continue the timing that has worked for CRNAs in the past.
For more information and FAQs, view the 2-year Check-in page.
NBCRNA Evaluating Alternatives to the CPC Assessment
In fall 2018, the NBCRNA conducted a Beta Research Study on the CPC Assessment (CPCA). The study evaluated performance in six different testing environments to determine how these different environments could help achieve the goals of the CPC program in a way that is fair and reliable for all certificants. The percentage of examinees in the study that met the performance standard was 95%. Find out more about the study and results.
Credential Verification for your SBON
Visit the SBON Credential Verification page to view the steps on how to obtain credential verification for your State Board of Nursing. The credential verification request must be made after receiving the recertification confirmation of approval email from the NBCRNA.