Preparing For The National Certification Exam

Before becoming a practicing CRNA, all graduates of a Nurse Anesthesia Master’s or Doctoral program will be required to take and pass, The National Certification Exam (NCE), administered by the National Board of Certification & Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA).

The NBCRNA credentialing provides assurances to the public that certified individuals have met objective, predetermined qualifications for providing nurse anesthesia services. While state licensure provides the legal credential for the practice of professional nursing, private voluntary certification indicates compliance with the professional standards for practice in this clinical nursing specialty.

About The Exam

The purpose of the National Certification Examination (NCE) is to assess the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary for entry-level nurse anesthesia practitioners. In order to enhance the ability of the NCE to assess entry-level competency in the field of nurse anesthesia, the National Board on Certification and Recertification of Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA) has been adding alternative question formats to the NCE.

The Exam Layout and Content

The National Certification Examination (NCE) is a variable length, computerized adaptive test. The NCE consists of the following question types: traditional multiple-choice, multi-select, short answer, drag-and-drop, and hotspot. Some or all of the following entry-level nurse anesthesia topics may be covered on the exam.

1. The Professional And Legal Aspects Of Nurse Anesthesia.

2. Anatomy, Physiology And Pathophysiology.
Including questions on the following topics: Respiratory, Cardiovascular, Nervous System, Central and Peripheral, Autonomic, Hepatic, Renal, Gastrointestinal, Genitourinary, and Endocrine.

3. Pharmacology.
Including questions on the following topics: General Principles, Pharmacokinetics, and Pharmacodynamics. Inhalation Agents. Intravenous Agents And Reversal Agents. Local Anesthetics. Muscle Relaxants And Reversal Agents. Cardiac, Vasoactive And Antihypertensive Drugs. Drugs Acting On The CNS/ANS. Adjunct Drugs.

4. The Basic Principles Of Anesthesia Practice.
Including questions on the following topics: Preoperative Assessment and Anesthetic Plans. Monitoring. Fluid Therapy. Perioperative Complications: Assessment and Management. Positioning and Airway Management

5. The Advanced Principles Of Anesthesia Practice.
Including questions on the following topics: Regional Anesthesia, Lower Extremity, and Upper Extremity.

6. The Anatomy, Physiology, Pathophysiology, and Anesthetic Management of: Pediatric Anesthesia, Obstetrical Anesthesia, and Geriatric Anesthesia.

7. The Anesthetic Management Of Surgical Specialty Procedures.
Including: Thoracic, Cardiac, Vascular, Neurosurgical, ENT, Oromaxillofacial, Ophthalmologic, Genitourinary, Orthopedic, Abdominal, GYN, Burns, Trauma, Plastic, Reconstructive, Transplant, Outpatient, Pain Management, ECT, MRI, X-Ray, Cardioversion, MAC, and Conscious Sedation.

Help Passing The National Certification Examination

The are a variety of different study guides, study courses, and practice exam softwares to help prepare nurse anesthesia graduates for The National Certification Examination.

The NBCRNA also provides the Self-Evaluation Examination (or SEE), which is taken by current SRNA’s in preparation for The National Certification Examination.

The Self-Evaluation Examination (SEE)

The Self-Evaluation Examination (SEE) helps current nurse anesthesia students determine the level of progress they have made in their study, and helps to prepare them for the National Certification Examination (NCE) experience. The Self-Evaluation Examination (SEE) has specifications similar to those of the actual NCE.

The SEE is a computerized adaptive test, which includes multiple-choice questions and alternative question formats such as multiple correct response, calculations, hotspot, and drag and drop. The questions are presented one at a time on a computer screen. Each question can be viewed for as long as you wish, but you are not allowed to go back to previous questions once an answer has been submitted.

All students must answer a total of 160 questions during the three-hour testing period. The examination will stop when all of the questions have been presented OR once the three-hour time limit is reached.

The five content areas tested on the SEE are:

1. Professional and Legal Aspects of Nurse Anesthesia
2. Anatomy, Physiology and Pathophysiology
3. Pharmacology
4. Basic Principles of Anesthesia Practice
5. Advanced Principles of Anesthesia Practice

All students currently enrolled in an accredited nurse anesthesia educational program are eligible to be registered for the
SEE. Once registered, a student will receive an official NBCRNA eligibility notification by email which indicates the eligibility
expiration date to take the SEE. The student must test prior to that date.

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