Development of Advance Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) Program Completion Standardized Exams

Tuesday, 13 July 2010: 4:05 PM

Pamela Willson, RN, PhD, FNP, BC
Elsevier Review and Testing, Elsevier Publishing, Houston, TX

Learning Objective 1: Describe the development of an APRN program completion didactic assessment exam for use in graduate nursing education globally.

Learning Objective 2: Apply evidence-based techniques for benchmarking, remediation, and focused clinical-based learning to your population of graduate students.

Purpose: There is new and resurgence interest for the APRN generalist and specialty roles globally. When society recognizes a need for health care cost containment and there is a shortage of care providers the outcome is social/political change and educational growth of APRN programs. To assure a match between education and clinical competencies, certification is a commonly legislated practice eligibility mandate. Graduate nursing faculty are implementing standardize certification predictive testing, exit exam benchmarking, and remediation strategies to facilitate student success on national certification exams.

Evidence-based Implementation: An APRN standardized test development process and psychometrics was undertaken to match content with the American Nurses Credentialing Center and the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners certification test blueprints.  Outcomes of a 3-year validation project (N= 118) will be reviewed and compared with an ongoing test validation process of a new specialty exam. Benchmark scores of 800 were substantiated for a family nurse practitioner exam. The steps in developing APRN test items will be reviewed. Several graduate nursing program’s implementation policies, program evaluations, and faculty teaching/learning strategies will offer a comparative description of educational implementation options. 

Outcomes: Standardize APRN predictive exams provided valuable student competency data that allow faculty to address student knowledge gaps with remediation and clinical experiences.  In addition, standardize testing provided outcomes for curriculum evaluation, program accreditation, and program policy development.Implications: Program completion standardized exams provide data for evidence-based decision making by students, faculty and nursing administration.  This project supports development of additional APRN specialty exams.