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Revising the Blueprint for the Oncology Certified Nurse (OCN®) Examination: A Role Delineation Study

Susan C. McMillan
Karen Heusinkveld
Sally Chai
Cynthia Miller-Murphy
Chi-Yu Huang
ONF 2002, 29(9), E110-E117 DOI: 10.1188/02.ONF.E110-E117

Purpose/Objectives: To conduct a role delineation study of basic oncology nursing practice as a basis for revision of the blueprint for the Oncology Certified Nurse (OCN®) examination.

Design: Three-phase study of oncology nurses' practice.

Sample: 735 oncology nurses randomly chosen from all nurses who are OCN® certified.

Methods: A pilot survey was mailed to a small group to allow refinement of the survey instrument. The revised survey then was e-mailed to a total sample of 3,000 OCNs®. The results and input from experts on the subject matter were used to revise the test blueprint.

Main Research Variables: Frequency and importance of 223 oncology nursing activities previously identified by the group of experts in oncology nursing.

Findings: The highest ranked items for the combined frequency and importance scales pertained to the subscales Professional Performance, Patient/Family Education, Comfort, Protective Mechanisms, and Coping. The lowest ranked activities pertained to subscales Research, Detection, Sexuality, and Prevention.

Conclusions: The blueprint for the OCN® examination reflects entry-level oncology nursing practice and includes eight domains of practice: Quality of Life (36%), Protective Mechanisms (13%), Gastrointestinal and Urinary Function (10%), Cardiopulmonary Function (8%), Oncologic Emergencies (7%), Scientific Basis for Practice (12%), Health Promotion (3%), and Professional Performance (11%).

Implications for Nursing: Because oncology nursing is changing, reconfirming and updating the blueprint for the certification examination is necessary. Certification examinations beginning in April 2003 will be based on the revised blueprint.

References 

McMillan, S.C., Heusinkveld, K., & Spray, J. (1997). A study of the role of the generalist oncology nurse as a basis for revision of the blueprint for certification. <i>Oncology Nursing Forum</i>, <i>24</i>, 1371-1379.

Nielsen, B.B., Laszlo, J., Miaskowski, C., Heusinkveld, K., Hogan, C., Jenkins, J., et al. (1990). Certification for oncology nurses: Maturing of a discipline. <i>Journal of Cancer Education</i>, <i>5</i>, 99-102.

Ropka, M.E., Norback, J., Rosenfeld, M., Miller, C., & Nielsen, B. (1992). Evolving a blueprint for certification: The responsibilities and knowledge comprising American professional oncology nursing practice. <i>Oncology Nursing Forum</i>, <i>19</i>, 745-759.