Certified Ambulatory Perianesthesia Nurse (CAPA) Exam Review

The Certified Ambulatory Perianesthesia Nurse has received extra training and completed the exam to be certified in the care of patients both before and after the administration of anesthesia, sedation, or analgesia. This includes all aspects of care for the patient, such as physiological needs, behavioral and cognitive needs, safety needs, and advocacy needs.

To become eligible to sit for the CAPA exam, the applicant must be a licensed Registered Nurse. The applicant must also have completed at least 1,800 hours of direct care involving patients who have or will be undergoing the administration of anesthesia within the 2-years prior to application.

The Certified Ambulatory Perianesthesia Nurse exam is offered only during specified times of the year. The American Society of Perianesthesia Nurses (ASPAN) has an annual conference and the CAPA exam is offered on the Sunday before the conference begins. It is also offered during a 6-week window in the spring and fall at multiple testing sites throughout the country. The CAPA exam fee is $285 for ASPAN members and $385 for non-members who wish to take the pencil/paper exam. Fees for computer-based testing are $260 for ASPAN members and $360 for non-members.

The CAPA exam contains 165 questions, 25 of which are used as control questions being tested for future use in CAPA tests. The Registered Nurse is allowed up to 3 hours to complete the CAPA exam.

The CAPA exam contains questions that focus on four major areas of care of the perianesthesia patient. These include the basic physiological needs and physical changes the patient may experience due to anesthesia, the behavioral changes that the patient may experience, issues of patient safety that may arise during administration of anesthesia, and the role of the Certified Ambulatory Perianesthesia Nurse as an advocate for the anesthesia patient.

CAPA certification is valid for 3 years, at which time the RN must renew their certification. In order to renew credentials, the RN must have 1200 hours of experience during the 3 years of certification, as well as a current and unrestricted RN license. The RN must also complete the exam or earn 90 contact hours of continual learning and submit an application for renewal with fees.

Nursing Certification Central

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Last Updated: 07/05/2018


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