The Certified Occupational Health Nurse (COHN) exam has been developed as part of a voluntary certification process for occupational health nurses through the American Board for Occupational Health Nurses, Inc. (ABOHN). The COHN examination is a computer-based examination, and the certification is good for five years.
To be able to apply to take the COHN exam, there are several professional requirements that must first be met. An applicant must have a valid RN license, as well as have 3,000 hours of work experience in occupational health nursing within the last five years. Up to 2,000 hours of time spent in a degree program related to occupational health can be applied to the work hours requirement.
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Once these requirements have been met, one can apply for the COHN exam by filling out the online form on the ABOHN website, or by downloading the application form from the ABOHN website and mailing it to ABOHN directly. The application fee of $150 must be paid at the time of application. Once the application has been received and approved by ABOHN, applicants will be notified by ABOHN.
The application will be valid for 90 days from the date of approval by ABOHN. During the 90 days, applicants must pay the examination fee to take the COHN exam. This examination fee is $400, and can be paid by filling out an online payment form on the ABOHN website. Once the examination fee has been paid and received, the applicant then has 120 days to schedule their examination date and time.
The COHN exam is a computer-based exam given by Applied Measurement Professionals (AMP) at over 150 locations in the United States. The exam is given Monday-Saturday during the year, and there are morning and afternoon appointments. To schedule the examination, applicants can contact AMP directly. Further details about AMP testing locations and testing times can be found on the AMP website. It is recommended to schedule exams as soon as possible in order to receive preferred testing dates and times.
The COHN exam is a computer-based exam that consists of 160 multiple choice questions, which includes 25 pretest questions that are not scored. The categories of questions on the COHN exam are based on two factors of occupational health nursing. The four roles of occupational health nurses (clinician, coordinator, advisor, and case manager) form the four major question categories on the COHN exam. In addition, each of the four major categories is divided into subdivisions based on the four nursing process steps: assessment, planning, implementation, and evaluation.
Questions dealing with the clinician role comprise 42% of the COHN exam. Of this 42%, 15% of the questions deal with assessment, 7% deal with planning, 14% deal with implementation, and 6% deal with evaluation. The coordinator role comprises 27% of the COHN examination. Of these questions, 5% deal with assessment, 5% deal with planning, 11% deal with implementation, and 6% deal with evaluation. The third major category on the COHN exam, the advisor role, comprises 13% of the total examination. Of this 13%, 3% of the questions deal with assessment, 3% deal with planning, 5% deal with implementation, and 3% deal with evaluation.
The final major category on the COHN exam deals with the role as case manager. This category comprises 18% of the exam. Of this 18%, 4% of the questions deal with assessment, 4% deal with planning, 7% deal with implementation, and 3% deal with evaluation. Further details on the breakdown of questions on the COHN exam can be found online on the ABOHN website. Test-takers have three hours to complete the COHN exam.
In addition to the four roles of occupational health nurses and the four nursing process steps, ABOHN identifies several core content areas of the COHN exam. These core content areas are: chemical hazards, biologic hazards, physical hazards/ergonomics, psychophysiological hazards/stress, safety and industrial hygiene issues, standards and regulations, emergency response, disease management, health education/promotion, management principles, information management/record keeping, and clinical practice.
The COHN exam is scored by counting the number of questions answered correctly. There is no penalty for incorrect answers, however, answers that are left blank are counted as incorrect answers. Therefore, it is recommended to answer all questions on the exam. The minimum passing score on the exam is then set using the Angoff method. Exam judges estimate the probability of passing each question on the exam.
These probability ratings are then averaged to determine the minimum passing score. The minimum passing score is the minimum number of correctly answered questions that is required to pass the exam. This minimum passing score will vary from exam form to exam form. After taking the examination, test-takers are sent score reports in the mail. These reports indicate whether the test-taker failed or passed the examination, as well as the overall score, and a score report of performance in each core content area on the exam.
Prior to taking the COHN exam, knowing the exam structure and the core content areas covered on the exam is imperative. This information can then guide pre-exam review and studies. Usually establishing a set study schedule is recommended. This study schedule can include taking sample questions and practice tests, performing a self assessment test, reading materials from ABOHN’s suggested reference list, and taking review courses. During the exam, it is important to answer all questions that are presented, therefore, pacing oneself during the three hour exam is important. If a particular answer is not known, making an educated guess is preferred over leaving the test item blank.
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