ANCC clarifies specialty criteria for CM credential

More tests may be necessary to meet requirement

As promised, the Washington, DC-based American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) has revised its controversial eligibility criteria for the nursing case management credential.

As reported in Hospital Case Management (December 1997, pp. 209-213), the controversy centered on the ANCC's requirement that applicants wanting to sit for the nursing case management examination must already hold a core specialty credential from the ANCC. Holding the American Association of Critical Care Nurses' CCRN credential or "any other nursing specialty certification" could also satisfy the criteria.

Critics responded that case management should itself be regarded as a core specialty and that the requirement was unnecessarily exclusionary. Indeed, Carolyn Lewis, PhD, RN, executive director of the ANCC, has since acknowledged to HCM that most case managers do not have a core clinical specialty that would make them eligible for the case management credential.

That fact was borne out by the small number of case managers actually deemed eligible to take the nursing case management examination in October. While the ANCC won't release the number of case managers who applied, only 115 were actually allowed to take it. The pass rate was 76%.

Following the confusion and acrimony surrounding the fall exam, Lewis issued a blanket apology to anyone who encountered problems during the October test cycle and announced that the center's Test Development Committee would re-evaluate the eligibility criteria before the publication of ANCC's 1998 catalog, of which HCM received an advance copy.

While the other requirements remain in place, the ANCC has given ground on the core specialty requirement. For nurses who already hold a core specialty credential, the requirements include:

· holding an active RN license in the United States or its territories;

· holding a baccalaureate or higher degree in nursing (transcript showing conferral of degree must be submitted);

· having functioned within the scope of a registered nurse case manager a minimum of 2,000 hours within the past two years.

Under the new requirements, nurses who do not hold a core specialty credential have the additional requirement of having functioned as a registered nurse for 4,000 hours, with at least 2,000 of those hours as a nurse case manager within the past two years. Nurses without core specialty credentials who meet those criteria will be allowed to take the standard 100-question nursing case management exam, as well as an additional exam consisting of 50 questions related to the American Nurses Association's Standards of Clinical Practice Nursing.

The two tests will be scored separately, and candidates must past both to fulfill the core specialty requirement and become certified. If you fail either test, you have to retake both during the next testing period.