What is the difference between this two certification?
In my opinion, this is not a question of one versus the other. In my opinion, the CRNI is the superior certification. Apologies to my AVA colleagues but I just do not think this exam comes up to the same standards as the CRNI. There are 9 defined content areas for the CRNI exam, with vascular access being a significant portion of the Technical and Clinical Application area. Of course the CRNI has been in existance since 1985 and has a longer track record. CRNI is recognizied by 2 boards that credential certification examination, one being the American Board of Nursing Specialities, the group that defines certification within the nursing profession. VA-BC has not achieved that yet. But the biggest problem is the passing rates. CRNI passing rates are consistently in the high 60%, meaning that between 65 to 69% of those taking the exam actually pass it each year. The passing rate for the VA-BC is in the 90% range. To me this says the VA-BC is far too simple, easy, and basic. Certification means that the people who achieve that status has mastered an advanced body of knowledge in that specialty. The CRNI passing rates are right in line with other nursing certification exams. If more than 90% of people taking the exam can pass it, then what meaning does it actually have? Once again, I apologize to those with differing opinions and know there are others that think differently than I do. But I have never felt the need to obtain the VA-BC certification. I will however, maintain my CRNI until I die along with an ANCC certification in professional staff development. Two certifications are enough for me.
Lynn Hadaway, M.Ed., RN, BC, CRNI
Lynn Hadaway Associates, Inc.
126 Main Street, PO Box 10
Milner, GA 30257
Office Phone 770-358-7861
Thank you for your response. In my 20 + years experience with IV Therapy, I will maintain my CRNI unitl.... I have heard of AVA certification but not very familiar with the material for certification. In my experience, I find that CRNI has a broader approach to the Infusion Therapy.
the VACC exam is a "is a BASIC test of BASIC knowledge that everyone who works in vascular access should be able pass" (a direct quote from an AVA leader). CRNI is MUCH broader, covering pharmacology, pediatrics, anatomy and physiology, devices, etc., the nine core areas of infusion. I found the CRNI exam to be very difficult.
My challenge is to find anyone in this area who knows what my credentials mean. They think I'm just "a good stick"
Certification is needed to validate our expertise in our field. For many years, the CRNI was the only option we had. I disagree that the CRNI is better...it is just different. CRNI focuses on all aspects of infusion therapy. Many years ago, it was common for nurses who placed PICCs and other VADs to work in the infusion department, or do both insertions and infusions. Now, this is no longer the case. Even homecare is different, in the 1990s, there were plenty of home infusion nursing agencies/pharmacies, now it is harder to find one that provides both. When I worked in homecare we placed the VAD, cared for it and did or taught the patient/caregiver to administer the infusiuon. Now, it is rare to place a VAD in the home setting.
Our practice has evolved to those who just focus on placing the correct VAD and the insertion and/or care is their entire job. These clinicians (not just nurses any longer) do not do infusions, do not hang TPN or chemo and therefore are not equiped nor should they need to be certified in managing infusions. They need to have a certification in the devices, the insertion, removal, care and maintenance, and that is what the VA-BC is, and it needs to be and is multidisciplinary.
The CRNI is more geared toward the infusion nurse, and it is a nursing only certification. It has to do with what goes through the line, with just a little piece (1/9) of knowing about the line itself. It is geared toward those nurses working in infusion suites, homecare, oncology and hospitals where infusions are a large part of their daily practice, not inserting VADs.
I carry both because I had the CRNI since 1997, and I am not about to let it lapse. I recieved my VA-BC in 2010 because it is more reflective of my current practice.
You should decide which certification better suits your current skills and practice. Good luck with becoming certified and excelling in your specialty.
Chris Cavanaugh, RN, BSN, CRNI, VA-BC
Thank you for clarifying these certifications. I have my CRNI since 1994 and had been very reflective in my practice (both acute and home care).
Thank You Chris!
Darla Tarvin RN VA-BC
Mercy Clermont Hospital
Individuals choosing to be certified select the exam that best meets their needs, employers’ requirements, or licensing agency. For example, as a nurse practitioner, I am required by the state of California to be certified in my specialty to demonstrate that I possess the basic knowledge to practice in my field. My certification is an entry-level certification, not an advanced certification. The definition of certification from the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) does not distinguish between entry level and advanced knowledge, but rather whether the certificant meets predetermined and standardized criteria.
Several years ago, professionals involved in vascular access, asked that an exam be devised specifically to meet their needs as vascular access specialists from a variety of healthcare disciplines, including nurses, pharmacists, physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, radiology technologists, respiratory therapists, etc. The Association for Vascular Access (AVA) initiated the process by appointing the first Vascular Access Certification Corporation (VACC) Board of Directors in 2009. In 2010, the VACC achieved independence from AVA, a structural element required for accreditation by the NCCA. AVA and its Board of Directors have neither input nor influence in the certification processes. The VACC exam is intended to identify individuals possessing generalist knowledge in the field. A new exam to test for advanced knowledge and practice capability is in the early phase of development at this time.
Publicly accessible passing rates for the various certifications exams are quite variable, ranging from 62.1% to 100%. Passing rates vary on the same exam over time due to frequently changing items on the exam and changing demographics of those taking the exam itself. I failed to find certification experts who suggest that the variety of passing rates correlate with credibility of the exam or who put one exam at a higher level of esteem than another. In a quick search of several major certification exams, rates for testing during 2011 and 2012 were:
The American Nurses Certification Corporation (ANCC) for 2012 demonstrated first time pass rates varying from 62.1% to 100% for its 13 specialty exams with approximately 13,000 exams administered.
The Oncology Nurses Certification Corporation (ONCC) has 5 exams with a first time pass rate of 75-88% with approximately 4,500 exams administered.
The National Certification Corporation (NCC) administers 8 exams to approximately 10,000 people with passing rates of 67-90%.
The Infusion Nurses Certification Corporation (INCC) administers 1 exam with a passing rate of 66% with 156 registered nurses passing the September 2012 exam
The Vascular Access Certification Corporation (VACC) administers 1 exam with a passing rate of 87.1% for the December 2012 with 325 vascular access professionals passing.
As you can see from the spread of exam passing scores, the VACC exam is well within normal limits for other professional certification exams. Of interest, the Vanderbilt School of Nursing touts the excellence of their educational programs due to the high passing rate their graduates achieve on certification exams. Vanderbilt graduates achieved a 93-100% pass rate on 5 specialty exams offered by AACN vs. a national pass rate of 82 – 93.6% for the same exams. So, preparation for the exam is potentially one factor that defines success.
Certification organizations may elect to achieve “recognition” or professional accreditation. The purpose of accreditation is to evaluate the certification program against defined industry standards; when in compliance with these standards, the program is granted recognition (accreditation) by an independent third party. The VACC certification program is designed to meet the highest national standards for private certification set by the NCCA, a national authority on accreditation standards, who developed the first standards for professional certification programs, and accredits medical and non-medical certification exams. Since VACC offers certification beyond the nursing discipline, accreditation by an organization that recognizes multiple disciplines is imperative. At this time, the VACC leadership does not identify a need for accreditation from a nursing specific agency. Both the ANCC Magnet Recognition Program and the Veterans Administration also recognize the VACC exam. The organization granting my nurse practitioner certification, the National Certification Corporation (NCC), has certified more than100,000 licensed healthcare personnel since its inception in 1975 and is only accredited by NCCA since it also offers certification to healthcare professionals other than nurses only.
Anyone wanting more information related to the field of certification can obtain this at the Institute for Credentialing Excellence (http://www.credentialingexcellence.org/ncca).
Janet Pettit, DNP, NNP-BC, VA-BC™, CNS
President, Board of Directors
Vascular Access Certification Corporation (VACC)
Email: [email protected]
Thank you for taking the time to respond to the "chatter" that is posted here. I am really disgusted with the comments made by Ms. Hadaway, especially given that it is no secret that she is heavily involved at the national level with the Infusion Nurses Society, and has a beef with colleagues at AVA. How can someone even speculate about a professional certification exam that has not taken it? She is not certified! She is only a CRNI, and from what I can see has never even attempted the VA-BC examination, so how dare she discourage others from taking what is the industry's only vascular access exam. I am sitting for the exam this June, and I am thriled to have the opportunity. As a matter of a fact, at our hospital, we are no longer encouraging nurses to take the CRNI because we are not "infusion nurses" but rather vascular access specialist. The CRNI is not an exam reflective of vascular access process, and therefore does not carry the weight for what our team does.
Before people make defamatory comments regarding an exam, perhaps a) they should take it themselves first, and b) they should disclose the numerous conflicts of interest they have before sharing their "opinion". Go back to the bedside and take the VA-BC certification, and then you can comment on the exam, but not before then. I value constructive feedback but this has gone too far and is truly unprofessional, and not what our profession needs. I comment the Vascular Access Certitication Corporation and its Board of Directors for bringing this certification exam to fruition. It is much needed and I look forward to putting VA-BC on my business card as it represents my practice!
First, I do not have a "beef" with AVA. Second, I consider Janet Pettit to be a friend and professional colleague. I give her all the credit for getting the AVA certification program to the point where it is now, given the rough start it had. Yes, I am heavily involved with INS and have been since I attended the first INS conference in 1973. Did you also realize that I am a past director at large and president of AVA? Although I was not involved with AVA from its inception, I became involved very early in its development. From 1997 to 2002, I spent many long hard hours doing work with AVA, then NAVAN. In fact, the year I was president, I served as president and executive director at the same time, investing at least 30 hours per week on AVA business. I am on record as saying many times that there is room for both organizations. My career started as an infusion nurse and that is what I will always be. Therefore INS will always be my primary professional organization. I do have issues and concerns with the approach chosen by AVA for this certification. I subscribed to the processes and practices for certification within nursing. If you are interested, you can learn all about this at ABNS - American Board of Nursing Specialties. My primary concern is that a basic certification is contrary to the ABNS approach. Also, I do not see how a certification can be written for multiple disciplines, with all taking the same test. Physicians, nurses, pharmacists, researchers, sales, marketing, regulatory, etc. all have vastly different educational processes. So one exam for all seems like it would not be fair for some of those. As Janet said, each person must make their own decision about what is right for them. We can all have a difference of opinion. For me and my practice, the CRNI is more appropirate for many reasons. I do not consider my comments to be defamatory and I am sorry that you interpreted them that way. Lynn
Thank you for taking the time to respond to the "chatter" that is posted here.
I'm so sorry you find our discussion to be "chatter". Respectful commentary is interesting and I learn so much here. This site is a gold mine for me and it will be heartbreaking if it turns into a bicker board.
How can someone even speculate about a professional certification exam that has not taken it?
You just did.
I have found that as long as I feel the teacher really wants me to succeed, I enjoy them pushing me to think things completely through and prefer them to be hard on me. I will then push to be the best.