RN Overview

Certification for Hospice and Palliative

The National Board for Certification of Hospice and Palliative Nurses (NBCHPN®) is a competence-based Board comprised of a minimum of seven voting Directors and a maximum of two nonvoting ex officio Directors.  Board members represent a wide variety of geographic areas, practice settings, and educational backgrounds.  The NBCHPN® is responsible for the development and oversight of certification for the specialty of nursing in hospice and palliative care.

How is hospice and palliative nursing practice defined?
Hospice and palliative nursing practice is the provision of nursing care for the patient and family, with emphasis on their physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual needs when experiencing a life-limiting illness and through bereavement. This is accomplished in collaboration with an interdisciplinary team in any setting.

Who is eligible for certification? 
To be eligible for the NBCHPN® hospice and palliative examination, an applicant must hold a current, unrestricted registered nurse license in the United States, its territories, or the equivalent in Canada.  NBCHPN® recommends that candidates have at least 2 years of experience in hospice and palliative nursing practice to consider themselves eligible for certification as a Certified Hospice and Palliative Nurse (CHPN®).

What credential is granted for certification? Candidates that sit for and pass the RN certification exam are granted the CHPN® credential (Certified Hospice and Palliative Nurse).

Why seek certification? 
Certification validates an individual nurse’s competence and knowledge in the specialized area of hospice and palliative care.  Certification in nursing is highly valued and provides formal recognition of having achieved a standard of knowledge in the specialty. The certification examination for hospice and palliative nurses is accredited by the American Board of Nursing Specialties.

What content is covered in the exam? 
The exam consists of 150 items (questions) distributed across 7 domains of practice for the care of an adult patient and family as shown in the detailed content outline located in the Candidate Handbook.

What is the cost of certification?
Persons applying for the certification exam who are current HPNA members PRIOR to applying for the examination are entitled to the HPNA member discounted exam fee as a membership benefit

Click here for a list of certification fees

How often must I renew my certification? 
Certification is valid for a four-year period.  Renewal of certification can be accomplished by exam or by
CHPN® Hospice and Palliative Accrual for Recertification (HPAR), a process that confers points for continuing education and other professional activities. 

How do I apply? 
A candidate can apply for the RN certification exam online, through www.nbchpn.org (the link is in the "What's Happening at NBCHPN" Announcement box on the right hand side of the home page) or by mailing their application to the testing company, AMP.  The certification examination for hospice and palliative nurses is offered at approximately 200 AMP test center locations. 

The NBCHPN® Candidate Handbook and application for the RN exam are available on line by clicking here.

More information on certification in hospice and palliative nursing can be obtained by contacting the National Board for Certification of Hospice and Palliative Nurses by email at nbchpn@nbchpn.org or by phoning the National Office at 412-787-1057.