Whats on the Nurse Executive Certification

What’s on the Nurse Executive Certification?

– The fee to take the Nurse Executive Certification exam is $270 for American Nurses Association members and $395 for non-members.

– Test score results are simply “pass” or “fail”.

A  Nurse Executive is a senior nurse in a healthcare organization. They handle the administrative side of healthcare and ensure that the organization’s mission is being carried out as well as the nursing department is delivering the best care possible to patients. Nurse Executives can work in a variety of healthcare settings such as hospitals, home health agencies, healthcare clinics, and rehabilitation centers.

Free Nurse Executive Exam Practice Questions
Nurse Executive Online Course

How to Become a Nurse Executive

  • Hold a current and active RN license
  • Hold a bachelor’s degree or a higher degree in nursing
  • Have held a mid-level administrative or higher positions such as a nurse manager, supervisor, director, or assistant director OR have held a faculty position teaching graduate students nursing administration OR have held nursing management or executive consultation position full-time for at least 24 months in the last 5 years.
  • Have completed 30 hours of continuing education in nursing administration within the last 3 years. If you have completed a master’s degree in nursing administration, this requirement is waived.

What’s on the Nurse Executive Certification Exam?

The Nurse Executive Certification exam contains 175 questions, 25 of which are pretest questions that are not scored. You are given a total of 4 hours to complete the exam which includes time set aside for check-in, instructions, and a practice session on the computer.

The Nurse Executive Certification exam includes 4 domains of practice:

• Structure and Processes
• Professional Practice
• Leadership
• Knowledge Management

Nurse Executive Certification

Structures and Processes

  1. Human Capital Management
    1. Knowledge of:
      1. Federal and state laws
      2. Labor relations
      3. Resource utilization
      4. Principles associated with human resources
      5. Organizational culture
      6. Organizational structure
    2. Skills in:
      1. Participating in developing and modifying administrative policies and procedures
      2. Implementing and enforcing administrative policies and procedures
      3. Providing feedback on the effectiveness of administrative policies and procedures
      4. Evaluating the effectiveness of roles based on changing needs in the health care environment
  2. Financial Management
    1. Knowledge of:
      1. Basic financial and budgeting principles
      2. Reimbursement methods
      3. Contractual agreements
      4. Principles of staffing workload
    2. Skills in:
      1. Developing a budget
      2. Analyzing variances and managing a budget
      3. Efficient resource utilization
      4. Determining appropriate staffing workload
  3. Health and Public Policy
    1. Knowledge of:
      1. Legal issues
      2. Consumer-driven health care
      3. Emergency planning and response
    2. Skills in:
      1. Planning and responding to internal and external disasters
      2. Planning and responding to health and public policy issues
      3. Assessing, addressing, and preventing legal issues

Professional Practice

  1. ONCC Exam Secrets Study Guide
    ONCC Exam Secrets Study Guide

    Care Management/Delivery

    1. Knowledge of:
      1. Health care delivery models and settings
      2. Laws, regulations, and accrediting bodies
      3. Standards of nursing practices
    2. Skills in:
      1. Establishing staffing models
      2. Designing workflows based on care delivery model and population served
      3. Developing policies and procedures that ensure regulatory compliance with professional standards and organizational integrity
  2. Professional Practice Environment and Models
    1. Knowledge of:
      1. Professional practice models
      2. Role delineation
      3. Professional practice standards
      4. Employee performance feedback
    2. Skills in:
      1. Developing clinical staff
      2. Creating a professional environment for empowered decisions making
      3. Recruiting, recognizing, and retaining staff
      4. Providing internal and external customer service
      5. Creating a vision for professional nursing practice that promotes patient and family-centered care
  3. Communication
    1. Knowledge of:
      1. Communication principles
      2. Communication styles
      3. Negotiation concepts and strategies
      4. Communication processes that support safe patient care
    2. Skills in:
      1. Communication using verbal and nonverbal methods
      2. Facilitating collaboration to achieve optimal outcomes
      3. Selecting the appropriate communication method for the audience and situation
      4. Conflict management


  1. Nurse Executive Exam Flashcards Study System
    Nurse Executive Exam Flashcards Study System

    Leadership Effectiveness

    1. Knowledge of:
      1. Key elements of a healthy work environment
      2. Leadership concepts, principles, and styles
      3. Coaching, mentoring, and precepting
      4. Emotional intelligence
      5. Sources of influence and power
    2. Skills in:
      1. Self-reflection and personal leadership evaluation
      2. Integrating diversity and sensitivity into the work environment
      3. Change management
      4. Building effective relationships through listening, reflecting, presence, communication, and networking
      5. Succession planning
      6. Creating an environment to engage and empower employees
  2. Strategic Visioning and Planning
    1. Knowledge of:
      1. Strategic planning principles
      2. New program development
      3. Trends that effect nursing practice and the healthcare environment
    2. Skills in:
      1. Communicating and building consensus and support for the strategic plan
      2. Establishing baselines for process
      3. Evaluating processes and outcome measures over time
      4. Project management to support/achieve the strategic plan
  3. Ethics and Advocacy
    1. Knowledge of:
      1. Ethical principles
      2. Business ethics
      3. ANA’s Code of Ethics
      4. Patients’ Bill of Rights
    2. Skills in:
      1. Advocating for patients
      2. Advocating for staff
      3. Advocating for the nursing profession

Knowledge Management

  1. Quality Monitoring and Improvement
    1. Knowledge of:
      1. Systems theory
      2. Continuous performance improvement
      3. Process and outcome measures
      4. Culture of safety
    2. Skills in:
      1. Creating a culture of continuous performance improvement
      2. Translating data into information and disseminating it at various levels within the organization
      3. Evaluating and prioritizing outcomes of care delivery
      4. Selecting the appropriate continuous performance improvement technique
      5. Action planning to address identified quality issues
  2. Evidence-based Practice and Research
    1. Knowledge of:
      1. Institutional Review Board (IRB) requirements
      2. Research and evidence-based practice techniques
      3. Distinguish between performance improvement, evidence-based practice, and research
    2. Skills in:
      1. Creating a culture and advocating for resources that support research and scholarly inquiry
      2. Communication research and evidence-based findings to internal and external stakeholders
      3. Incorporating evidence into policies, standards, procedures, and guidelines
      4. Evaluating and incorporating new knowledge and published research findings into practice
  3. Innovation
    1. Knowledge of:
      1. Clinical practice innovation
      2. Leadership practice innovation
    2. Skills in:
      1. Creating a culture that values, encourages, and recognizes new and innovative ideas that benefit the patient, family, organization, or community
      2. Developing a framework for implementing innovations
      3. Leveraging diversity to encourage new and innovative ideas or new patterns of thinking
      4. Evaluating and applying technology to support innovation

Nursing Certifications Study Options

Nurse Executive Certification FAQ

What is the Nurse Executive Certification?

The Nurse Executive Certification is a certification exam that allows nurses who have experience in administration to become a member of a senior leadership team. This is a competency-based exam to ensure that the test taker has the clinical knowledge and skills that are needed with managing the daily operations of a unit.

How many questions are on the exam?

There are 175 questions on the Nurse Executive exam. Out of the 175 questions, 25 questions are pretest questions that do not count towards your score.

How long is the exam?

The Nurse Executive Certification exam is 3.5 hours.

Can I retake the certification exam?

Yes. If you do not pass the Nurse Executive Certification exam, you are allowed to retest after 60 days.

How many times can you retest?

You are not allowed to retest more than 3 times in a 12 month period.

Published by

Jay Willis

Jay Willis joined Mometrix as Vice President of Sales in 2009, and has developed several key strategic relationships that have enhanced the distribution of Mometrix products. With nearly 20 years of sales experience in the publishing industry, his dedication to providing the highest quality experience for customers, coupled with his sales and marketing expertise, has resulted in significant growth of the Institutional Sales division. Learn more