NBCRNA Focus on Research

The NBCRNA is committed to research in determining the best ways to assess knowledge as a component of competence. To focus on this, an evaluation and  research committee and two subsequent subcommittees, comprised of subject-matter experts, have been established and are working on various research projects and initiatives.

Evaluation and Research Advisory Committee (ERAC) 

In August 2017, the NBCRNA established the Evaluation and Research Advisory Committee (ERAC) to assist the NBCRNA in providing oversight for project development and design, ongoing analysis, outcomes, and reports related to the NBCRNA’s credentialing programs. The ERAC will develop an evidenced based evaluation of all recommendations related to the credentialing programs brought forward by stakeholders to help inform the NBCRNA and any potential changes to the CPC Program. As part of the ongoing work of the ERAC, two subcommittees have been formed: the Simulation-Based CPC Assessment Subcommittee, and the Methods to Assess Knowledge and Competence Subcommittee. 

simulation sqaure

The ERAC Simulation-Based CPC Assessment Subcommittee was established to develop a research study on the use of simulation as an alternative to the CPC Assessment (CPCA) 150-question, closed-book assessment. The NBCRNA is looking at alternative options for the CPCA as a knowledge-only assessment. Simulation is being examined as it is already currently used as a required component of the NBCRNA’s Reentry Program. The subcommittee will provide reports for consideration to: the ERAC for input, internal and external stakeholders, and the NBCRNA Board of Directors.


methods square

The ERAC Methods to Assess Knowledge and Competence Subcommittee was formed to explore current and innovative methods for assessment of CRNAs’ crucial clinical decision-making knowledge, judgement, and skills throughout their career. The subcommittee will develop a report on current and innovative methods that may serve as an alternative or addition to the CPC Assessment. These include: Simulation, Longitudinal assessment (e.g., MOCA Minute), and Virtual Reality – Gaming.

Recent Studies

  • Beta Research Study

    In Fall 2018, the NBCRNA completed an innovative research study on its computer-based Continued Professional Certification (CPC) Assessment, evaluating testing performance in six varied testing environments. The study provided the data necessary to establish both the testing condition and score standard for the assessment requirement of the NBCRNA’s CPC Program. The Modified Angoff method, a widely used standard-setting approach in credentialing, was used to determine the performance standard. Although testing conditions varied, the percentage of study participants that met the performance standard was 95%, indicating preparedness and mastery of the knowledge necessary for practice in nurse anesthesia. 

    _...the percentage of study participants that met the determined performance standard was 95%_ (1)

    Launched in September 2018, the research study included 1,500 randomly selected CRNAs who volunteered to take the 150-question, four-hour exam in one of the six assigned testing conditions, including with and without resources, and at a testing center or live, remote proctoring. The study evaluated the testing environments to determine how each may help achieve the goals of the CPC Program in a way that is fair and reliable for all CRNAs taking the assessment requirement which begins in 2020. 

    To assure fairness to candidates, statistical equating procedures were used to place scores from different testing conditions on the same scale. Based on the findings from this study, the final testing condition that will be used for the CPC Program assessment component for CRNAs beginning in 2020 was determined in early 2019 and will use the standard also determined from this study. Learn more about the standard setting process or read the full press release on the study.         

                                                        Press Release on the StudyAngoff Method for Standard Setting

    Results were mailed to Study participants in mid-December 2018.

    The NBCRNA thanks all CRNAs who participated in this innovative research study. 

  • Benchmarking Study

    The NBCRNA has used, and continuously evaluates, the continued certification requirements, practices and trends for nursing, and health care and physician credentialing, available in benchmarking and related reports. The information provides an environmental scan for the Evaluation and Research Advisory Committee (ERAC) and NBCRNA board in evaluation of the Continued Professional Certification (CPC) Program components.

    In 2018, the NBCRNA partnered with a credentialing consulting company to conduct a national benchmarking study focused on continuing certification. The purpose of the Benchmarking Study was to assess the practices, components, costs, and other variables of health care and allied health credentialing organizations related to continuing certification. The study included website review for 294 health care credentialing organizations’ programs accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), the American Board for Specialty Nurse Certification (ABSNC), or the ISO 17024 standards, and the data collection tool included 36 variables related to continued certification.

    A full report of the study results will be shared in spring 2019 with all stakeholders.