HPCC Certification Newsletter * June 2015 * Volume 7, Issue 3

Thank you for reading the June 2015 issue of the HPCC Certification Newsletter and for your continued support of certification.
The Evolution of Specialty Nursing Recertification Criteria: How and Why Recertification Requirements Are Changing

Credentialing is an umbrella term used for many types of programs, including licensure, certification and accreditation.  The credential is an attestation of qualification, competence, or authority issued to an individual by a third party with a relevant, legal authority or assumed competence to do so. Nursing credentials may be awarded by State Boards of Nursing, education institutions and specialty nursing credentialing organizations. Examples include RN, CNA, MSN, DNP, ACHPN, CHPN, CPLC. 


Certification is the formal recognition of the specialized knowledge, skills and experience demonstrated by the achievement of standards identified by a nursing specialty to promote optimal health outcomes, the obligation of safe practice, quality patient care and professional development.  It is a documented outcome achieved by passing an examination in a specific body of knowledge. Unlike the credential required by the State Boards of Nursing to practice nursing, specialty nursing certification is a voluntary way to validate skills and experience. Certification is a means of testing and demonstrating attainment of knowledge in a specialized field and is recognized in healthcare as the gold standard for judging the knowledge, skills and experience within a specialty.  

In contrast, a certificate is the documented outcome of completion of an educational course, meeting educational responsibilities or validation of attendance at and evaluation of an educational event.  Completing a post-test after the educational program may be a requirement for obtaining the certificate.


Specialty nursing certification and recertification is a means of demonstrating competence and continuing competence.  In 2011, the National Board for Certification of Hospice and Palliative Nurses (NBCHPN), now the Hospice and Palliative Credentialing Center (HPCC), developed a Statement on Continuing Competence which has since been endorsed by other specialty certification organizations, State Boards of Nursing, and educational institutions.


The Statement emphasizes that to be competent, one must have the knowledge and skills to function in a given situation.  A certification examination tests the knowledge base pertinent to the specialty practice.  Competency is the actual performance in a situation.  Competency is validated every day by job performance and is evaluated by the employer, co-workers, patients and families.


It is expected that certificants gain knowledge and skills through lifelong learning activities over the course of their careers.  The Institute of Medicine reports on the Future of Nursing (2011) and Dying in America (2014) both emphasize the importance of professional education and development.  This builds upon Patricia Benner's "From Novice to Expert."  Initial nursing specialty certification tests for mastery of a defined body of knowledge that a minimally competent person in a particular role would be expected to attain. 


Taking the same initial examination and achieving a passing score does not demonstrate building upon experience or gaining more knowledge. The challenge for nursing specialty certification organizations has been to define and develop a means for assessing continuing competence.  Over the last several years, many organizations are changing their recertification criteria.


Examples of activities which have been included for recertification are a minimum number of practice hours, educational course work, continuing education activities, professional presentations, writing professional articles, chapters or books. Some organizations have defined recertification through portfolio which may also include a self-evaluation, an individual learning needs assessment, clinical narrative or answering essay questions, and professional recommendation letters. For some organizations, a skills demonstration of technical mastery is included.


HPCC has developed a Situational Judgment Exercise (SJE) for the Advanced Certified Hospice and Palliative Nurse (ACHPN) and Certified Hospice and Palliative Nurse (CHPN) programs. The SJE is a means of testing critical reasoning and clinical application beyond the level of the initial examination. It uses patient care scenarios to provide an in-depth assessment of the approach taken by the nurse to handle the complexity of real life clinical situations.  Performance on the SJE is measured through skills of information gathering and decision making.  Points are accrued and lost based upon the ability of the certificant to read questions and choose from the available information. 


Although the SJE is required in the ACHPN and CHPN recertification programs, there is no minimum passing score.  It is an assessment that helps the certificant identify learning needs. Applicants receive feedback regarding their performance on the SJE and accrue points toward recertification based upon their performance.


The 2015 Hospice and Palliative Credentialing Center Board of Directors has reviewed the work of previous Boards of Directors, the Statement on Continuing Competence,  and the Hospice and Palliative Accrual for Recertification (HPAR) criteria for each of our programs and the criteria and direction of other specialty nursing certification organizations.  The board also considered feedback from certificants and employers. 


Points can be accrued for recertification in many categories including the SJE, continuing education both live and through self-study, academic education, professional publications, professional presentations, precepting academic healthcare students, orienting staff and volunteer service in healthcare related organizations including your place of employment.  Follow the link below for the activities and specific points of accrual for each certification program.


The HPCC Board will continue to evaluate recertification criteria and activities. The goal is to continue to build a competent workforce which advances expert care in serious illness.



HPCC President  

Meet the Board: 
Cathy Glennon, RN, MHS, NE-BC, OCN

I have been in oncology my entire nursing career, starting as a staff nurse on night shift and over time, advancing into administration.  The oncology patients and families keep me grounded and focused on the important things in life; they inspire me daily.  I am currently at the University of Kansas (KU) Hospital in Kansas City, Kansas as Director of Nursing, cancer community practices and Director of Adult Education, Turning Point.  I also am Adjunct Assistant Professor at the KU School of Nursing and lecture frequently at other local and regional Schools of Nursing.


Prior to this, I was employed at Duke University (North Carolina), Georgetown University (Washington, DC) and St. Francis Hospital (Wichita, KS) in leadership positions.  I served as adjunct faculty at the academic medical centers and institutions of learning in each area.


I have been an active member of the national Oncology Nursing Society (ONS), my professional organization, for numerous years; serving in various national and local leadership positions such as ONS Board of Directors, Nominating Committee Chair, Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation (ONCC) Board of Directors, and Secretary Treasurer.  Locally, I have been active with our chapter and have served as Treasurer of all the ONS chapters in which I have been a member.


I completed two terms on the International Society of Nurses in Cancer Care (ISNCC) Board of Directors, and served on the Conference Management and Scientific Program Committees for the past five meetings.


My passion is nursing certification.  I received my original OCN certification the first year it was ever offered.  I was enticed to know more about the process of test development, so I volunteered in various capacities to learn.  I began as an item writer, then cut score and test development committee member and then proceeded to the Board of Directors for ONCC and American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC).  For nurses to demonstrate knowledge by obtaining certification is meaningful to ourselves, our patients, the organization that we work, our community, and the nursing profession as a whole.  I am honored to now be involved with HPCC, such a well-respected and admired group.  I will work diligently to support your certification programs and processes. 

Remaining Testing Windows For 2015

The two remaining testing windows for 2015 are in September and December, with the application window for September testing already open.  A reminder also that all applicants including APRNs may now apply online.   

Please download and/or print the appropriate

candidate handbook for the exam you plan to take, available at www.goHPCC.org. Each handbook contains information about the corresponding exam, such as how to apply, fees, schedules, detailed test content outline of the information covered on the exam, suggested references for study, and much more!


Be sure to view the 2015 certification application fee schedule. HPNA members continue to receive substantial exam discounts as a membership benefit, with most savings greater than the cost to join.  Keep your HPNA membership current or consider joining to receive this as well as many other benefits. If interested in HPNA membership, visit www.goHPNA.org.  

Employer Supporter Program
In 2001, the Hospice and Palliative Credentialing Center initiated an Employer Supporter Program, and has been committed to continuing this recognition on an annual basis for those who continue their efforts. Currently, there are 120 employers that have acknowledged that they support certification through HPCC.


The information shared with the national office staff reveals a wide range of support and recognition the organizations provide to registered nurses, licensed practical/vocational nurses, nursing assistants, advanced practice nurses, and administrators. Many agencies require certification of their nursing staff within a specified time frame. Financial support ranges from reimbursement of the certification fee for a successful candidate to coverage of lodging and travel expenses associated with the exam. Some also pay differentials and/or bonuses to credentialed individuals, and many provide continuing education opportunities, including review courses.


Agencies report many different ways they recognize certified staff, including:


  • Annual ceremony often in conjunction with National Certified Nurses Day or National Nurses Week
  • Presentation of engraved desk clock with name and credentials
  • Awarded monogrammed gift presented by CEO
  • Letter from the board chairman to each person who passes exam
  • Certification pins for all who pass

Certification is one way to help validate the competence and knowledge of the nursing staff, and the Employer Supporter Program is a way to help focus greater attention on the importance of nursing in the delivery of hospice and palliative care services.


Organizations in the Employer Supporter Program have their name and location posted on our website. Other benefits of the program include a wall certificate for display indicating participation in this program, receiving the bi-monthly Certification Newsletter, and eligibility to receive the annual Employer of the Year Award.


For information on becoming a part of this program, please look under Certification and Employers at www.goHPCC.org

2016 HPCC Award Nominations Are Due!

It is time once again to nominate a deserving HPCC certified colleague, or perhaps even yourself, for a 2016 Certificant of the Year award!  The seven awards that are given out annually recognize the work of all nurses and team members in each category from across the country. 


More information about the seven HPCC Certificant of the Year Awards and specific application details for each are available online.  All 2016 award nominations must be received by July 1, 2015.


For questions or more information, please contact the HPCC national office at hpcc@goHPCC.org or by phone at 412-787-1057.
Certification Pins 
Be recognized by your colleagues and patients as being certified in your specialty with a certification pin.  These pins showcase your credential and dedication to your profession.  Certification pins are available for each credential: ACHPN, CHPN, CHPPN, CHPLN, CHPNA, CHPCA, and CPLC.




Pin Description:

Size:  1.5 inch

Base: 1.2mm thick solid metal

Type: die struck gold plating with 8mm post with

butterfly clutch and acrylic case


Order a pin today and display your credential with pride! Order online at our website www.goHPCC.org. 

Volunteer Opportunities

CALL FOR 2016 HPCC BOARD OF DIRECTORS: The board of directors is responsible for the affairs of the Hospice and Palliative Credentialing Center, including supervision of business and financial affairs and oversight of the organization's strategic planning component. We are seeking experienced, energetic, and passionate professionals who will lead the provision of certification in hospice and palliative care into the future. Applicants will be asked to provide evidence of key competencies that are relevant to governance on a national board. Full details of the HPCC Board Call for Applications process and board competencies are available at www.goHPCC.org. The application deadline is July 1, 2015.  


CALL FOR EXAMINATION DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE (EDC) POSITIONS: If you or someone you know is certified, a current HPNA member, and interested in serving your profession, you may want to consider applying for a position on one of the HPCC Examination Development Committees (EDC). Great care is taken to select candidates from both hospice and palliative care backgrounds, representing various geographic areas of the country and with clinical expertise, management and academic expertise. It is very important that a sufficient number of qualified individuals apply to ensure the ongoing leadership for the certification process and accomplishment of the goals of the organization. Completed application packets are due to the National Office by July 1, 2015.

Keep Up With Us On Facebook! 

Be sure to check out the Hospice and Palliative Credentialing Center Facebook page, and join our growing group at www.facebook.com



News from
Hospice & Palliative Nurses Association

 2015 ELNEC Train-the-Trainer Courses


"This was an excellent program!"

"The updated materials, textbook, binder, flash drives, and all the resources are so valuable!"

- Testimonials from recent ELNEC Core attendees

ELNEC Core Train-the-Trainer Course

July 28-29, 2015 - Atlanta, GA

October 14-15, 2015 - Houston, TX


ELNEC Pediatric Palliative Care Train-The-Trainer Course

July 28-29, 2015 - Atlanta, GA


The End-of-Life Nursing Education Consortium (ELNEC) project is a national educational initiative to improve palliative care.  The course provides nurses with education in palliative care preparing them to teach the information to practicing nurses and other healthcare professionals.  ELNEC Trainers are given tools to provide this specialized care and to positively impact the lives of patients and families facing serious illness or the end of life. 

CEs - 12.75 / designated pharmacology hours - 2.25.


HPNA members receive a $50 registration discount 


NEW FOR 2015!

ELNEC scholarships available for tuition and travel through HPNF 


Register Now!

ELNEC Core Train-The-Trainer in Atlanta, GA 

ELNEC Pediatric Palliative Care Train-The-Trainer in Atlanta, GA  





 CHPN Certification Review Course


There are two options for our upcoming courses: 

  • One day (live) course - October 22, 2015, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Self-paced online course - With 3 months of access to course materials

Find out more about our CHPN Certification Review Course   





                  Ninth Annual HPNA Clinical Practice Forum


Sheraton Station Square Hotel, Pittsburgh, PA

October 23-24, 2015  


Registration Is Open!


We are delighted to announce as our keynote speaker Diana J. Mason, PhD, RN, FAAN, whose topic is Nurses Improving the Health of a Nation: On the Sidelines or Leading?  This session will focus on opportunities for hospice and palliative nurses to influence the direction of health care reform, and will discuss strategies for hospice and palliative nurses to use as leaders in reforming health care and promoting the health of the nation.


New This Year!

Identified sessions for advanced practice nurses, clinical topics, and sessions that are hospice specific.


Discounts available for HPNA members, groups, and early registration. 


Conference scholarships are available through HPNF 


Register Today!

Reserve your hotel room early for special event pricing  





Nursing Assistant Educational Resources


Do your nursing assistants have the tools they need?  The care provided by nursing assistants (i.e., hospice aides, home health aides, etc.) for the patient and family is a vital component of palliative care, which includes hospice. In providing palliative care to patients with serious or life threatening illness and their families, nursing assistants are on their journey with them. In many settings, nursing assistants spend more time with patients than any other healthcare worker, which gives them the opportunity to get to know patients and families better than other healthcare workers do.


HPNA has the resources!  Books, online courses, teaching sheets!  Check out the most popular tools for the nursing assistant: 


Core Curriculum for the Hospice and Palliative Nursing Assistant, third edition, newly revised (book)


Hospice and Palliative Nursing Assistant Competencies (book)


Scope and Standards of Hospice and Palliative Nursing Assistant Practice (book) 


Conversations in Palliative Care: Questions and Answers with the Experts, third edition 


Nursing Assistant End-of-Life Care Computerized Education Program (CD) 


Palliative Care Nursing Assistant Training Modules (CD) 


HPNA E-learning 15-30 minute modules (online) - No cost for HPNA members


Teaching Sheets - Patient/Family Teaching Sheets, TIPS sheet (designed for the nursing assistant), Quick Information Sheets - No cost for HPNA Members  

News from
Hospice & Palliative Nurses Foundation

The HPNF Scholarships, Grants, and Awards for 2015 have been increased to 108!  That's an increase to 153 total opportunities, for this year only, due to our Advancing Expert Care campaign.  HPNF is transitioning to a rolling application deadline for many of the offerings.


Please note, the application deadline is July 1 for the following:


Certification Research Grant


PDIA Nursing Leadership Award


Conference Scholarship - Virtual Program of Clinical Advances in the Art and Science of Care


Certification Scholarships


Conference Scholarship - ELNEC in Atlanta, GA


For the HPNF Certification Scholarships, the first of each month through the year is a rolling deadline, with the last one being December 1, 2015.  HPNF will be offering over 80 scholarships for new and renewal certification for all seven HPCC programs.  Certificants who have earned or renewed certification since December 1, 2014 are eligible to apply.  Applicants will be selected from the applicant pool of the month for which they apply.  Those who are not selected in one month may reapply for another month.


Learn more about each opportunity through the links above, or contact us at info@hpnf.org or at 412-787-9301 with any questions.


HPNF depends on your generous spirit to fund its program of scholarships, grants, and awards.  We hope that we can count on your support!  Make your donation today at www.gohpnf.org or click on Give Today!