Letters to the President

Linda Lakdawala, DNP, RN, CPAN, ABPANC President, answers your questions about ABPANC and the CPAN® and CAPA® programs. Read the latest questions below. Email your questions to abpanc@proexam.org.

Dear Linda,
I am currently CPAN certified, having taken the examination when I worked in PACU, but now I work in the Ambulatory Surgery Center. Can I renew as a CPAN or do I need to become CAPA certified?

Thank you for asking this question — one we receive often. Determining whether or not you meet the clinical practice eligibility for CPAN recertification is based on perianesthesia patient needs and the amount of time patients spend in the specific phases described by the Perianesthesia Continuum of Care (as defined in ASPAN’s Scope of Practice, Perianesthesia Nursing). Regardless of the setting in which you practice, if you have spent a minimum of 1200 hours during the 3 year certification period caring for patients in Phase I, then recertifying your CPAN credential is appropriate. If most of your time is now spent caring for patients in Phase II and/or Phase III, the CAPA certification credential is most relevant and you will need to seek CAPA certification.

Dear Linda,
My hospital recognizes other certification credentials, like the CCRN or CNOR credential, but not the CPAN or CAPA credentials. Can you help me explain to my supervisor that perianesthesia certification is as valuable as others?

Thank you for your letter. While we do receive this question on occasion, I am pleased it is less common as the reliability and validity of the CPAN and CAPA credentials become more well known. The CPAN and CAPA certification programs, nationally recognized in scope, validate specialized knowledge and experience of perianesthesia nurses caring for patients with specific needs — needs documented in the most recent Study of Practice.

Both examinations, like other nationally recognized specialty nursing certification examinations, are a test of one’s knowledge of the perianesthesia specialty. The process ABPANC uses to develop, administer, and score our examinations is the same that all credible and responsible certifying organizations use. There are, in fact, legal, regulatory and psychometric standards to which we must adhere. Both the CPAN and CAPA certification programs abide by theses rigorous standards as do other programs you are probably familiar with — i.e., the CCRN program, the CNOR program, etc. In fact, the CPAN and CAPA Certification programs were accredited by the American Board of Nursing Specialties in April, 2004. Our examinations are on the same level playing field as the CNOR and CCRN examinations are.

The article, “A Study of Perianesthesia Nursing Practice: The Foundation for the Newly Revised CPAN and CAPA Certification Examinations,” published in the Journal of PeriAnesthesia Nursing, Vol. 16, No. 3 (June) 2001: pp. 163 – 173, is an excellent resource for information about our two programs. ABPANC is more than willing to send a letter to your manager or administrator describing the CPAN and CAPA programs. Informational materials would be provided that demonstrate the reliability and validity of both certification examinations. Contact ABPANC by emailing abpanc@proexam.org, or calling 800-6ABPANC to request that a letter be sent to your manager.

Dear Linda,
Why is a BSN degree required in order to become CPAN and/or CAPA certified?

A BSN degree is NOT required for CPAN and CAPA certification! Unfortunately this is a common misperception. The confusion lies in the fact that some other nursing specialty certification organizations require a BSN — but ABPANC has never had that requirement.