Advanced Certified Hospice and Palliative Nurse (ACHPN) Exam

The Hospice and Palliative Credentialing Center (HPCC) offers the Advanced Certified Hospice and Palliative Nurse (ACHPN) credential to experienced hospice and palliative advanced practice registered nurses. The certification evaluates and validates the experience and knowledge of hospice and palliative registered nurses.

Eligibility

Candidates must meet the following eligibility requirements by the application deadline:

  • A current, unrestricted active Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) or APRN certification in the U.S. and its territories, or the equivalent license/certification in Canada.
  • Graduation from a graduate, postgraduate, or doctoral Nurse Practitioner (NP) or Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) accredited educational program in the U.S. or an educational program approved by the Canadian Council of Registered Nurse Regulators (CCRNR).
  • An official academic record or transcript showing the graduate degree and date of conferral. The record/transcript needs to show graduate-level courses in advanced pathophysiology, advanced health assessment, advanced pharmacology, and a clinical practicum of at least 500 hours.
  • Five hundred practice hours in the most recent 12 months or 1,000 hours in the most recent 24 months functioning as an NP or CNS with hospice and palliative advanced nursing practice.

Before completing your application, review the eligibility requirements. Do not submit your application until all of the testing criteria are met.

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Test Design

The ACHPN exam consists of 175 multiple-choice questions, of which 25 are non-scored multiple-choice pretest questions. The pretest questions are dispersed throughout the exam; you will not know which is a pretest question. You can take the exam by a live remote proctor at your home or office or a testing center near you. You have 3.5 hours to complete the exam. The exam is the same regardless of the testing delivery method.

Exam Outline Review

The ACHPN exam is divided into four content areas.

Assessment and Data Collection – 44 questions

Topics include medical history and systems, physical, functional, psychosocial, and spiritual assessment, physical examination, serious illness, advance care planning, disease progression and prognostication, signs of imminent death, and the unique needs of specific populations.

Intervention and Management – 32 questions

Your expertise is assessed in diagnostics and procedures, pharmacologic therapies, non-pharmacologic, complementary, and alternative interventions, disease process and plan of care, hospice and palliative care emergencies, palliative sedation, and life support devices.

Education and Communication – 36 questions

Topics include teaching methods, communication theory and principles, communication strategies, cultural and spiritual competence, and the grief process.

Professionalism and practice – 38 questions

Content includes the principles of biomedical ethics, professional boundaries, the scope of practice, opioid stewardship, hospice criteria, standards and guidelines of hospice and palliative care, self-care, clinical decision-making, quality improvement, and professional development.

ACHPN exam outline, noting that the exam is 2 hours in length and there are 175 questions in total

Exam Cost

Financial assistance may be available to those experiencing financial hardship, and scholarships may be available to eligible individuals. The application fee for the ACHPN is $320.00 for Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association (HPNA) members and $465.00 for non-members. ACHPN certification renewal is $285.00 for HPNA members and $430.00 for non-members.

Application and Scheduling

There are four testing months—March, June, September, and December—and four application processing windows. The application deadlines vary for a paper application or an online application, and any applications received before the application start date or after the application deadline will not be processed.

Online Application and Scheduling

You can apply online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You are guided through the application and payment process, and your eligibility is determined. If your application is approved, you are sent to schedule your exam at either a test center or from home. Test centers are located nationwide.

If your application is not accepted, you will be directed to additional information needed.

Paper Application and Scheduling

Complete the paper application, attach the required documents, and mail your payment to PSI. Your application must be received by the paper application deadline, and it must be complete and legible, or it will not be processed. Within two weeks of PSI receiving your application, it is processed, and you are notified if you are eligible to sit for the exam. If you qualify, use the information in your confirmation letter to schedule your appointment at a test center or by a remote proctor. If PSI cannot determine your eligibility, you will receive notification on why your application is incomplete.

Live Remote Proctoring

Live Remote Proctoring (LRP) is available to those candidates who prefer to test at home and meet the system requirements for the exam delivery. Requirements include computer compatibility, operating system, the latest Google Chrome web browser, a functional camera and microphone, a high-resolution display screen, and a fast and reliable internet connection (at least 300 Kbits per second).

Before selecting LRP, complete a system check to ensure your computer system meets the requirements for test delivery. If your system does not meet the minimum requirements, you must register to take the exam at a testing center.

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Test Day

Test delivery differs slightly depending on the method of test delivery.

Testing Center

Report to the center 15 minutes before your appointment time. Present two forms of identification, one of which is government issued. You are given a pencil and a piece of paper and escorted to your testing station. Calculators are not allowed. Enter your unique identification number to begin your exam.

Live Remote Proctoring

At your scheduled appointment time, log in from your computer and complete a 360-degree room scan of your testing area. One clean piece of paper and one pencil can remain on your desk. The proctor will ask to see both sides of the paper, and you will tear the paper up in view of the proctor when you have completed the test. Calculators are not allowed. Show your government-issued identification to begin your exam. Please note that no one is allowed in the testing area while taking the exam. Let others know you will take an exam and cannot have them present during your appointment.

ACHPN Scores

At the testing center, the proctor provides your score report at the end of your exam. Testing center score reports are available only in printed form at the center or by U.S. mail. LRP testing candidates receive their score reports by email.

Your score report indicates either “pass” or “fail.” Additional information is provided in raw scores, and your test score is reported in raw scores and a scaled score. A raw score is the number of correctly answered questions, and the scaled score is derived from the raw scores. Your score is reported on a scale of 0 to 99, with 75 the minimum score needed to pass the certification examination.

Retaking the ACHPN

If you did not pass the exam, you can retake the exam utilizing the reTEST Assured Program within the following three test windows for $125.00. Before registering for the retesting program, you must wait for the next testing window. If you do not pass the exam the second time, you must restart the application process and pay the full fee.

How to Prepare for the ACHPN Exam

Adding the ACHPN certification allows you to continue with the hospice and palliative care work. Studying for such a vital credential can be overwhelming. But that’s where we come in. Our study guide and flashcards present a study methodology that makes the most of your valuable time while covering all the essential skills you need to do well on the exam.

FAQs

What is the ACHPN exam pass rate?

The pass rate for the ACHPN exam is 65.4%.

How much does the ACHPN exam cost?

The ACHPN exam costs $320.00 for HPNA members and $465.00 for non-members. For those experiencing financial hardship, financial assistance may be available, and scholarships may also be available to eligible individuals.

How long is the ACHPN exam?

You will have 210 minutes (3.5 hours) to complete the ACHPN exam.

How many questions are on the ACHPN exam?

There are 175 questions on the ACHPN exam, 25 of which are not scored.


By Kate Nockunas

Kate has been Mometrix’s Nursing and Medical Editor for over four years. She has a bachelor’s degree in Communications from Vanderbilt University, a bachelor’s degree in Nursing from Marymount University, and a master’s degree in Education from Johns Hopkins. Kate is a critical care registered nurse who still works occasionally in the ICU and PACU.

 

by Mometrix Test Preparation | This Page Last Updated: September 5, 2022