Commission on Nurse Certification Receives NCCA Accreditation for the Clinical Nurse Leader Certification Examination

Clinical Nurse Leader outcome data to become more available following inclusion in the American Nurses Association’s NDNQI survey

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 20, 2014 –The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) is pleased to announce that the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) has accredited the Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) certification program administered by the Commission on Nurse Certification, an autonomous arm of AACN. The CNL certification program has been accredited by the NCCA for the maximum five-year period expiring January 31, 2019.

“Achieving NCCA accreditation provides clear validation that the CNL credential is a true mark of distinction that identifies program graduates as uniquely qualified to lead outcomes-based practice and systems redesign,” said AACN President Jane Kirschling. “AACN applauds the outstanding work of our colleagues with the Commission on Nurse Certification for their dedication to serving the public good by recognizing excellence in CNL program graduates.”

Founded in 2007, the Commission on Nurse Certification (CNC) is a professional certification organization acting in the public interest by establishing and enforcing education, examination, experience, and ethics requirements for certification. Currently, more than 3,000 nurses prepared in master’s and post-master’s programs are certified to use the CNL designation.

According to Patricia L. Thomas, Chair of the CNC Board of Commissioners, CNC engaged numerous CNL content experts in the development of the exam as well as in the development of policies and procedures. “CNC’s Board of Commissioners acknowledges the commitment and dedication of CNLs across the country who have served as item writers and reviewers as well as those leaders who have served in the past on CNC’s Board of Commissioners and committees to make this possible.” said Dr. Thomas.

CNC received NCCA accreditation of its CNL certification program by demonstrating compliance with the NCCA’s Standards for the Accreditation of Certification Programs. In keeping with the standards, the program offers valid and reliable processes for the development, implementation, assessment, governance, and maintenance required for certification. NCCA is the accrediting body of the Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE), formerly known as the National Organization for Competency Assurance. Since 1977, NCCA has been accrediting certifying programs based on the highest quality standards in professional certification to ensure the programs adhere to modern standards of practice in the certification industry.

NCCA’s mission is to help ensure the health, welfare, and safety of the public through the accreditation of a variety of certification programs that assess professional competence. The commission uses a peer review process to establish accreditation standards; evaluate compliance with these standards; recognize programs which demonstrate compliance; and serve as a resource on quality certification. More than 270 NCCA-accredited programs certify individuals in a wide range of professions and occupations, including nurses, financial professionals, respiratory therapists, counselors, emergency technicians, crane operators and more. Of ICE’s more than 330 organizational members, over 120 of them have accredited programs.

CNL Certification Now Included in NDNQI Survey

AACN is also pleased to announce that the CNL certification is now included on the specialty certification list in the National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators® (NDNQI). Administered by the American Nurses Association, the NDNQI collects and evaluates unit-specific, nurse-sensitive data from acute care hospitals. Participating facilities receive unit-level comparative data reports to use for quality improvement purposes.

“AACN is hopeful that inclusion in the NDNQI will help to better showcase the positive impact CNLs are having in acute care settings, including Magnet Hospitals,” said Dr. Kirschling. “By systematically collecting data on certified CNLs through the NDNQI, we expect to see a more robust body of evidence connecting certified CNLs to quality patient outcomes.”

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) is the national voice for university and four-year college education programs in nursing. Representing more than 740 member schools of nursing at public and private institutions nationwide, AACN's educational, research, governmental advocacy, data collection, publications, and other programs work to establish quality standards for bachelor's- and graduate-degree nursing education, assist deans and directors to implement those standards, influence the nursing profession to improve health care, and promote public support of baccalaureate and graduate nursing education, research, and practice.