The CAPA (Certified Ambulatory Perianesthesia Nurse) certification process gives evidence to the knowledge and professional skill of nurses involved in the care of patients receiving sedation and anesthesia. CAPA nursing certification is a testimony to your willingness to go beyond what you learned in your nursing program, as well as professional commitment in the care of patients, family, your colleagues and the nursing profession.
Qualifying for CAPA Certification
The CAPA candidate must hold a current, valid, and unrestricted license to practice nursing in the United States at the time of his/her application. The applicant must have also acquired a defined number of hours in direct patient care in a hands-on capacity, regardless of whether their position is staff nurse, researcher, manager, or educator, although technically you do not have to be employed in a position of direct patient care. The direct patient care hours must have been in caring for Perianesthesia patients. If one's position involves direct interaction with the patient or family at the bedside, then those hours count as patient care hours. It is not required that the candidate possess a BSN degree to be eligible for CAPA certification.
The CAPA certification exam contains 165 test questions, 150 of which are scored. The other 15 test questions are being validated for possible use on future versions of the exams. The candidate is allowed a total of three hours for completion of the exam. The test validates the candidate's ability to recall facts and to apply principles of care, to relate a set of facts to a given situation and to choose appropriate actions based on those facts.
CAPA certifications are valid for a period of three years and then must be renewed. The certification board feels that the three-year-certification cycle ensures that the nurse maintains the most up-to-date knowledge and facts. In order to renew certification, 1200 practice hours must have been accumulated during the renewal period. The nurse must also hold a valid nursing license, free of any restrictions. In addition, the nurse must have earned 90 continued education credits or retake and pass the CAPA examination.
A candidate handbook is available for download free of charge from the certification board website. The handbook contains application, information on testing and renewal, as well as suggested reading references and a test content outline. The candidate would be well advised to consult the handbook frequently throughout the certification process as well as use it to develop a plan of study.
CAPA certification validates your dedication to excellence, your knowledge, and your highly specialized professional skills. This achievement testifies to your commitment to quality patient care and to lifelong learning.