Ambulatory Care Nurse Exam Review

The Ambulatory Care certification indicates specialization in providing nursing care to those patients who are seen in the ambulatory setting. This can be in a community-based clinic, hospital clinic, private doctor's office, or school setting. This nurse will provide a wide range of nursing interventions for patients because of the diverse range of medical problems that are encountered in these settings.

In order to take the Ambulatory Care certification exam, the applicant must be a licensed Registered Nurse with an Associate Degree or diploma from an accredited 2-year RN program. The RN must have worked at least 2 years in a full-time capacity as an ambulatory care nurse, with at least 2,000 hours within the past 3 years. In addition, at least 30 hours of continuing education hours should have been completed in ambulatory care nursing over the past 3years.

The Ambulatory Care certification exam is offered throughout the year at testing centers across the United States. The RN has 90 days in which to take the exam after receiving the test admission ticket. The fee to take the exam is $230 for members of the American Nurses Association (ANA) and $370 for non-members.

The exam consists of 175 multiple-choice questions with 25 of those questions used for pretesting purposes for possible use on future exams. The Ambulatory Care certification exam tests the RN's knowledge on specific disease processes that may be seen in the ambulatory care setting, as well as potential complications of these conditions. The remainder of the exam contains questions regarding the nursing interventions used to treat ambulatory care patients as well as ethical issues, patient and caregiver education, and health wellness promotion and maintenance.

Ambulatory Care certification is valid for 3 years. At the end of that time period, the licensed RN must have completed at least 1,000 hours of employment as an ambulatory care nurse. In addition, at least 75 continuing education hours should have been completed or other educational activities should have been completed as outlined by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. The fee for renewal is $160 for ANA members and $290 for non-members as long as the practice hour and continuing education hour requirements are met. For those who wish to retake the exam in order to recertify, the fee is $230 for ANA members and $370 for non-members.
For more information regarding the Ambulatory Care certification for the Associate Degree or diploma RN, go to or, or visit the American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nursing.

Ambulatory Care Nurse Certification Practice Test

Nursing Certification Central

Ambulatory Care Nurse Practice Questions

1. In what order would the nurse prioritize the care of the following patients presenting to the clinic at the same time: a parent carrying a smiling infant with a fever, a pale and sweaty male with flank pain for two days, a carpenter with a nail in his thumb, and a three-year-old with vomiting.

  1. flank pain, infant with fever, three-year-old with vomiting, and man with the nail
  2. flank pain, three-year-old with vomiting, infant with a fever, and man with the nail
  3. three-year-old with vomiting, infant with fever, flank pain, and man with the nail
  4. three-year-old with vomiting, flank pain, man with the nail, and infant with fever

2. A female client presents to the ambulatory care clinic with shortness of breath for the past six months. She states that she smokes one pack of cigarettes a day. Which statement best describes the patient advocacy role the nurse would assume in this situation?

  1. providing patient education
  2. providing mechanisms to measure patient satisfaction
  3. providing access to care
  4. providing continuity of care

3. A mother bringing her teenager into the ambulatory clinic is concerned that the child has a fruity odor to her breath and is sleepy more than usual. The child seems to skip meals and become nauseated frequently. What on-site, quick laboratory test may give an initial idea about what might be causing the fruity breath and sleepiness?

  1. urine dipstick
  2. urine dipstick and glucometer
  3. glucometer
  4. rapid strep test

4. Mom has described her child's symptoms as fever for three days and vomiting for the last 24 hours. She states the child has been very sleepy for the last two to three hours. What subtle symptom alerts the nurse that this child needs to be seen as soon as possible?

  1. three days of fever
  2. three days of fever, one day of vomiting
  3. one day of vomiting,
  4. very sleepy for two to three hours with a fever for three days

5. An adult male presents to the ambulatory care setting with a 24-hour history of wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath. What would be the most appropriate invasive procedure that he may require from the nurse in this setting?

  1. blood glucose monitoring
  2. urine dipstick
  3. blood pressure monitoring
  4. a nebulizer treatment

Ambulatory Care Nurse Answer Key

1. Answer: B

A patient with flank pain, even though it has been two days, may have a blockage from a kidney stone, which requires immediate pain relief and workup. The three-year-old with vomiting should be next due to the concern for dehydration and to rule out causes for the vomiting. The infant with a fever, even though smiling, should be seen next for possible medications to control the fever, followed by the man with the nail.

2. Answer: A

Although the nurse may provide mechanisms to measure patient satisfaction and access to care as well as continuity of care, with the information given, patient education would be the most appropriate answer. Education regarding the cessation of smoking should be given regardless of the treatment or outcome for the shortness of breath.

3. Answer: B

B would be the most appropriate for a teenager with fruity breath and sleepiness. The urine dipstick may show whether ketones are being spilled into the urine, and the glucometer will give an immediate blood glucose level. The clinician can then use this information to determine if diabetes is suspected or if another avenue of diagnosis should be pursued. Positive ketones and high blood glucose levels would indicate that the teen should be further evaluated for diabetes. Rapid strep tests are appropriate for the ambulatory care setting but would not be the first, quick, on-site laboratory test ordered for this teen.

4. Answer: D

D is the most appropriate subtle symptom, which should alert the nurse that this is a change in condition and a signal that the child has been compensating due to some illness and now is worse. This child should be seen to rule out head injury, meningitis, and a variety of other possible illnesses.

5. Answer: D

D is the most appropriate. A respiratory nebulizer treatment would be the invasive treatment of choice to assist this patient with wheezing and shortness of breath. Blood pressure monitoring is noninvasive and would be part of the assessment, but a urine dipstick and blood glucose monitoring are not immediately needed with a complaint of wheezing.

Ambulatory Care Nurse Exam Blueprint and Breakdown


Last Updated: 04/18/2018

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