Determining which Examination to Take

YOU decide which examination is most relevant to your practice, based on what your patients’ needs are and the amount of time patients spend in the specific phases described by the Perianesthesia Continuum of Care (as defined in ASPAN’s 2017–2018 Perianesthesia Nursing Standards, Practice Recommendations and Interpretive Statements. So, regardless of the setting in which you practice, if most of your time is spent caring for patients in Postanesthesia Phase I, the CPAN® examination is most relevant. If most of your time is spent caring for patients in the Preanesthesia phase, Day of Surgery/Procedure, Postanesthesia Phase II, and/or Extended Care, the CAPA® examination is most relevant.

It is possible that candidates may meet the clinical experience requirement to sit for both the CPAN and CAPA examinations.

Difference between the CPAN and CAPA Certification Examinations

The CPAN and CAPA examinations are organized around the following three domains of perianesthesia patient needs:

  1. Physiological Needs
  2. Behavioral Health and Cognitive Needs
  3. Safety Needs

Specific patient needs are listed under each domain in the Test Blueprint. An example of a Physiological Need is Stability of Respiratory System.

The specific knowledge required of perianesthesia nurses in order to meet these patient needs is also identified for each of the three domains. For example, knowledge of physical assessment and anatomy and physiology is required to meet the aforementioned physiological need.

The number of questions for each domain of patient need varies, depending on whether you are taking the CPAN or CAPA examination.

Percentage of Examination Questions

The percentage of questions found in each patient needs domain is as follows:

Patient Needs Domain CPAN Examination CAPA Examination
Physiological Needs 57% 50%
Behavioral Health and Cognitive Needs 18% 21%
Safety Needs 25% 29%