The CPAN certification is the certification in nursing that verifies the knowledge and expertise of the Post Anesthesia Nurse. The CPAN measures a predefined body of comprehension and skill that nurses caring for patients during the process of sedation and anesthesia must possess. This level of knowledge and skills cannot be obtained during nursing school, but requires much additional training and experience.
Qualifying for CPAN Certification
Qualifications to take the CPAN exam include having a current unrestricted license to practice nursing in the United States or its territories. All candidates must meet the required number of direct patient care hours in care of post anesthesia patients. Direct patient care hours mean that the applicant must have hands-on experience in post anesthesia care. If the candidate is not technically employed in bedside nursing, but is an educator, clinical nurse specialist, or manager, and has direct interaction with the patient and family at the bedside, then he/she is qualified to take the exam as long as he/she has accumulated the needed hours. The candidate is NOT required to have a BSN to qualify to take the CPAN examination.
The CPAN examination contains 165 test questions. One hundred fifty of the questions are used in calculating the candidate's score; the other fifteen questions are test questions being validated for possible inclusion in future versions of the CPAN exam. The candidate has a total of three hours in which to finish the exam. The exam involves the candidate's ability to remember facts, apply those facts to clinical situations and arrive at the best course of action.
CPAN credentials are awarded for a period of three years, at the end of which time they must be renewed. This three-year renewal cycle was developed to ensure that CPAN nurses retain the most current and up-to-date knowledge through earning 90 continuing education units or retaking and passing the CPAN exam. The nurse must also have 1,200 practice hours during the three-year renewal cycle and have a current unrestricted nursing license in order to qualify to renew the CPAN credential.
The candidate handbook, which may be downloaded free of charge from the credentialing board website, contains detailed information about the credentialing process, as well as a list of suggested study resources and a test content outline. The handbook should be consulted throughout the credentialing process and the study resources used in order for the candidate to have the best chance of passing the exam.
The CPAN credentials convey to the public and the candidate's professional peers the candidate's knowledge, skill, and dedication to quality patient care as well as to lifelong learning.