The Certified Foundational Perioperative Nurse (CFPN) credentialing exam by the Competency & Credentialing Institute (CCI) is a crucial milestone for early-career perioperative nurses. With less than 24 months of experience, obtaining the CFPN credential allows you to take an active, reflective role in developing your perioperative career. In this ultimate guide, we'll cover everything you need to know about the exam, eligibility, components, and how to prepare effectively using test prep materials, practice questions, and exam strategies. Let's dive in!
Before registering for the exam, it's essential to verify your eligibility. The four eligibility requirements include:
- A current RN license
- Completion of a perioperative orientation program including didactic and clinical components
- Up to 23 months of experience in an OR
- A full- or part-time position in perioperative nursing (including nursing education, administration, research, or clinical practice)
Components of the CFPN Credential
The CFPN consists of four parts: a knowledge-based test, a self-assessment of competency, a competency report, and a reflective learning exercise. After completion of each component, you receive a digital badge. The final digital badge, signifying attainment of the CFPN credential, is issued once all four elements are complete.
1. Knowledge-Based Test (KBT)
When you begin the credentialing process, you will take the KBT first. The KBT is an online exam proctored by PSI Services at a location of your choice. Your 3-month testing window begins the calendar month after your application is approved. To continue to the other three components, you must pass the KBT.
The KBT contains 120 multiple-choice questions, and you have two and a half hours to complete the exam. The computer keeps track of your time. The multiple-choice questions on the CFPN KBT come from seven subject areas:
|Subject Area||Percentage of Exam|
|Pre/postoperative patient assessment and diagnosis||15%|
|Individualized plan of care development and expected outcome identification||8%|
|Management of intraoperative activities including patient care and safety, and management of personnel, services, and materials||34%|
|Communication and documentation||11%|
|Infection prevention and control of environment, instrumentation, and supplies||16%|
Your score is shown immediately after the KBT. You either pass or fail the exam. Your pass or fail score is determined by converting the number of correct answers to a scaled score. The scaled score ranges between 200 and 800, with a minimum of 620 required to receive a passing score. It is best to answer all questions on the KBT because unanswered questions can affect your final score.
If you need to retake the exam, you can re-apply the month after your exam. You can take the exam as many times as needed, or until you become eligible to sit for the Certified Perioperative Nurse (CNOR) exam, the Certified Ambulatory Surgery Nurse (CNAMB) exam, or your eligibility for CFPN ends (after 24 months of experience).
2. Self-Assessment of Competency Activity
This component uses the Perceived Perioperative Competence Scale-Revised (PPCS-R) instrument. To continue to the next component, you must complete this activity.
There are 40 items in this component that serve as the initial competency assessment. Access the PPCS-R through an invitation sent to your email or through your CCI account. This component is not graded, and at the conclusion, you are sent a report that includes context for your scores in relation to other perioperative nurses.
3. 16pf® Competency Report
This portion of the credentialing process assesses 16 personality factors (16pf®) and five global factors to measure the skills and traits you need to succeed in your nursing career. To continue to the final component, you must complete this activity.
There are 40 items in this component designed to increase your self-awareness through a personality factor assessment. The 16pf® is intended to provide insight into the individual to predict continued professional development and success. Characteristics of 16pf® include:
- Identify key personality characteristics that contribute to on-the-job success
- Recognize the potential for leadership and preferred leadership style
- Identify essential soft skills for competency
The 16pf® is delivered online, in the comfort of your home. There are 155 attitude/behavior statements and a computer-adaptive reasoning section. There is no time limit, but it is estimated that it will take between 30 and 40 minutes to complete. When you complete this component, you receive a competency report with interpretive information and professional development tips.
4. Reflective Learning Exercise
The final component of the CFPN credential is a reflective learning exercise to develop a personal career development plan for the duration of the CFPN credential. The reflective exercise allows you to envision your path to your next CCI credential – CNOR or CNAMB. Your exercise is graded with a scoring rubric, and the results are pass or fail. Access this final portion of your certification process through your CCI account.
Registration and Costs
After determining that you are eligible to sit for the CFPN credential, create an account using the CCI website and follow the directions to apply for the CFPN. You are eligible to take the KBT the calendar month after your application is approved. The certification fee is $195.00, payable by a major credit card.
What is the recertification process for the CFPN credential?
Recertification for the CFPN credential is required every five years. You can recertify by either retaking the examination or by completing professional development activities and accruing points in various categories, such as continuing education, presentations, publications, and volunteer service. A detailed explanation of the recertification process can be found in the CCI Recertification Guide.
Can I request special accommodations for the exam if I have a disability?
Yes, CCI provides special accommodations for candidates with disabilities in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). To request special accommodations, you need to submit an Accommodations Request Form along with supporting documentation.
Are there any resources available to help me gauge my readiness for the exam?
Yes, CCI offers a self-assessment exam that can help you evaluate your strengths and weaknesses in the content areas of the CFPN exam. The self-assessment exam consists of 100 multiple-choice questions and provides feedback on your performance in each domain. You can access the self-assessment exam on the CCI website.
What should I do if I don't pass the CFPN exam on my first attempt?
If you do not pass the exam on your first attempt, you can retake it after waiting for 90 days from your previous test date. Candidates are allowed a maximum of three attempts within a 12-month period. It is essential to use this waiting period to review the content areas in which you did not perform well and develop a targeted study plan to improve your chances of success on the next attempt.
How do I maintain the validity of my CFPN credential?
To maintain the validity of your CFPN credential, you must adhere to the recertification requirements, which include fulfilling the necessary professional development activities and submitting the recertification application within the required timeframe. Additionally, you must also maintain an active RN license and adhere to the CCI's Code of Ethics for Certified Perioperative Nurses.
Is there a CFPN exam content outline available?
Yes, CCI provides a detailed content outline for the CFPN exam, which can be a valuable resource in your exam preparation. The content outline includes the exam domains, subdomains, and the percentage of questions allocated to each domain. You can access the content outline on the CCI website.
How can I stay updated on changes to the CFPN exam and related resources?
To stay updated on any changes to the CFPN exam, recertification requirements, and other resources, you can subscribe to the CCI newsletter, follow CCI on social media platforms, and visit the CCI website regularly for announcements and updates. Additionally, you can join professional nursing organizations and online forums to connect with fellow perioperative nurses and exchange information about the CFPN exam.