The Neonatal Intensive Care Nurse exam (NICNE) is a standardized test provided by the National Certification Corporation (NCC), intended to qualify those with the aptitude and knowledge necessary to practice as neonatal nurses in hospitals’ intensive care units.
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Certification through the NICNE can be a critical step in professional development and is meant to validate a candidate’s expertise and provide recognition of an ongoing commitment to their education.
As neonatal intensive care nursing is one of the most demanding and critical professions in the medical field, certification through the NICNE can be a critical step in securing and holding onto a practicing position.
How Can I Take the NICNE?
The NICNE is only available to those who qualify with the proper educational and practicing experience. To qualify for the NICNE, you must:
- Possess current nursing licensure in the U.S. or Canada
- Have at least two years of experience with at least 2,000 hours of practice time as a registered nurse in the U.S. or Canada in inpatient obstetric nursing, neonatal intensive care nursing, low-risk neonatal nursing or maternal newborn nursing
- A recorded employment history with direct clinical practice, education, research or administration experience
- Documented employment in one of the above designated exam specialty areas within the last two years
With those qualifications met, prospective participants in the NICNE will be able to register for the exam through the NCC website. They will have to provide their basic personal information, confirm eligibility, submit licensure and employment information and complete the application.
Prospective participants will have to pay a $50 application fee, which is included in a $325 fee for computer exams and a $275 Professional Education Center exams.
What Test Center Regulations Does the Exam for Neonatal Intensive Care Nursing Have?
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Participants in the NICNE have three options for taking the exam. They can take it at a computer testing site, at a Professional Education Center offering or as an Institutional Certification Program test given at an employer’s site.
For exams at computer testing sites, candidates will have to present two forms of current identification with signatures, at least one of which bears a photograph. Participants are permitted to bring non-programmable, basic calculators and wallets and keys. They are not permitted to bring personal items like cellphones, books, papers or purses or briefcases.
Neonatal Intensive Care Nurse Exam Practice Questions
What Specific Content Appears on the Neonatal Intensive Care Exam for Nursing Exam?
The content on the NICNE is developed by a group of registered nurses and other designated experts. Participants are given three hours total to complete the exam. The exam consists of 175 questions, 150 of which are scored. Every question has three alternative answers, which are alphabetized. Computer-based tests are delivered in random orders.
There are five major content categories, each of which contains different subcategories. Each major category and an example of the subcategories they cover is as follows:
- General Assessment (9% of full exam)
- Maternal risk factors and birth history
- Physical and gestational age assessment
- General Management (44% of full exam)
- Resuscitation and stabilization
- Fluids and electrolytes and glucose homeostasis
- Nutrition and feeding
- Oxygenation, ventilation and acid base homeostasis
- Thermoregulation and integumentary
- Pharmacology, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics
- Neuroprotective and neurodevelopmental care
- Infection and immunology
- Assess & Manage Pathophysiologic States (39% of full exam)
- Gastrointestinal and gastrourinate
- Neurological and neuromuscular states
- Genetic, metabolic and endocrine
- Head, eye, ear nose throat
- Psychosocial Support (5% of full exam)
- Discharge management
- Family centered care
- Grieving processes
- Palliative Care
- Mental health
- Professional Issues (3% of full exam)
- Patient safety
- Legal and ethical issues
- Evidence-based practices
- Quality improvement
How Can I Get a Great Score on the NICN Exam?
Because the NICNE is designed for professionals in the field who have already gained work experience and professional knowledge, it is recommended that those preparing for the test leverage a study guide to determine what areas of expertise they already possess and what areas they need to focus on.
Secondly, in order to refine working knowledge into applicable recall for a standardized exam like the NICNE, it is recommended that prospective participants leverage a set of study flashcards as they review.