The National Board for Certification of Hospice and Palliative Nurses (NBCHPN) oversees the certification in nursing for hospice and palliative care nurses. Certification is a voluntary process undertaken by the individual to demonstrate knowledge, skills, and expertise in a relevant area of nursing. The CHPN provides a public acknowledgement of the commitment and dedication that the individual nurse has made to enhance the quality of care in hospice and palliative care nursing. Certification usually does’t take place until well after graduating from a nursing program.

Qualifying for CHPN Certification

In order to qualify to take the CHPN exam the candidates must meet the following requirements by the application deadline. The nurse must hold a valid and unrestricted license to practice nursing in the United States or Canada.While not a requirement, it is recommended that the applicant have at least two years of practice experience in hospice or palliative care. This recommendation is made because the level of testing is geared toward a nurse with at least two years of experience in patient care. The nurse, who has not yet attained two years of practice, may not have acquired the knowledge base necessary for passage of the exam and thus may experience difficulty passing the exam. However, in recognition of the varying levels and rates of learning, any nurse who believes they are qualified, is allowed to take the exam.

The CHPN exam is a three-hour multiple-choice exam, which consists of 150 test questions. One hundred thirty-five of the questions count toward your score; the other fifteen questions are test questions which are being validated for possible inclusion in future versions of the CHPN exam.Seventy-five scaled scored units are needed to pass the examination. The scores are mailed to the applicant after the exam. The score report will indicate either a pass or fail.

Each CHPN certification is good for a four-year cycle, at which time recertification must take place either by retaking the CHPN exam, or alternative method (continuing education). It is mandated that every other renewal of the CHPN be by the examination method. The Registered Nurse Hospice and Palliative Alternative Recertification (RN HPAR) method for the next renewal cycle allows recertification by the accumulation of points from continuing education and professional enrichment opportunities.

The CHPN certification process enhances the quality of care to hospice and palliative care patients by encouraging growth and professional development among nurses. The certification is an outward recognition awarded to the nurse for attaining the required knowledge and competencies that certification requires.

Certifications Available to Nurses – Back