The Certified Post Anesthesia Nurse certification provides the healthcare professional with the credentials indicating specialization in caring for patients who are receiving 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.
In order to take the Certified Post Anesthesia Nurse 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 during the 2-years prior to application.
The Certified Post Anesthesia Nurse Exam is offered only during specified times of the year. The American Society of Perianesthesia Nurses (ASPAN) has an annual conference and the 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 CPAN test fee for computer-based testing is $260 for ASPAN members and $360 for non-members. For a paper-and-pencil version of the exam the fees are $285 for ASPAN members and $385 for non-members.
The CPAN exam contains 165 questions, 25 of which are used as control questions being tested for use in future CPAN exams. The Registered Nurse is allowed up to 3 hours to complete the exam.
The CPAN 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 Post Anesthesia Nurse as an advocate for the anesthesia patient.
CPAN 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.
by Enoch Morrison | Last Updated: January 8, 2019