CCI Blog

Navigating Change: Sunsetting of the CNS-CP® Certification

Posted by CCI on Dec 31, 2023 3:41:44 PM



In August 2023, The Competency & Credentialing Institute (CCI®) embarked on a critical initiative. A dedicated workgroup comprised of Subject Matter Experts (SMEs), all possessing the esteemed Clinical Nurse Specialist Perioperative Certification (CNS-CP®), convened to address a concerning trend: the dwindling number of new certificants for this specialized credential. These SMEs, representing diverse backgrounds in gender, geography, and extensive certification tenure, collaborated to deliberate the future trajectory of CNS-CP®. The outcome of their comprehensive discussions has led CCI to make the consequential decision to sunset (i.e., no longer accept new applications) the CNS-CP® certification on January 1, 2029.

Understanding the Significance of CNS-CP® Credential

The CNS-CP® certification program was meticulously designed for advanced-practice registered nurses who completed graduate-level education in the Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) role. This specialized credential aimed to augment perioperative patient outcomes by bridging general APRN skills and the intricacies of specialized perioperative practice.

Interpreting the Sunsetting Process

The decision to sunset a certification program indicates a gradual phasing out and eventual retirement of relevant program. This strategic move is rooted in considerations of the industry demand, recognition, and available educational programs that prepare a candidate for the certification.

Reasons Behind the Sunset of CNS-CP®

CCI's data portrays a sobering reality: a decline in new CNS-CP® certifications since 2019. Despite receiving a limited number of applications during this period, these fell short of meeting program requirements, rendering them ineligible for certification. Thus, there has not been a single new certificant that met eligibility requirements in the past 4 years.

Factors contributing to this decline encompass shifts in nursing education programs. Reduced availability of CNS programs and the emergence of alternative pathways like the Clinical Nurse Leader track have significantly impacted the pool of prospective CNS-CP® candidates. Notably, in certain states, securing an advanced practice certification accredited by ANCC or Critical Care Nurses has become mandatory for CNS licensure, further influencing these trends.

The decision to sunset the CNS-CP® credential emerged after thoughtful deliberations by SMEs. Acknowledging the current educational landscape's limitations and financial constraints, this choice was deemed the most prudent path forward.

Implications for Nurses

For Aspiring CNS-CP® Candidates: While the CNS-CP® certification will eventually retire, aspiring candidates still have a window of opportunity. The CNS-CP® portfolio program remains open for the next five years. However, after 2029, earning the certification will no longer be possible.

For Current CNS-CP® Certified Nurses: If you are presently certified as a CNS-CP® nurse, there will be no change to your ability to use your credential and continue to recertify for the lifetime of your practice as a CNS-CP. CCI will continue to support CNS-CP active certificants and maintain a registry for employers to verify their certification. The only substantial change for current certificants is that once you become Emertus, there will be no opportunity to submit a portfolio and return to active status after January of 2029.

Navigating Change and Embracing the Future

Sunsetting the CNS-CP® certification signifies a pivotal shift, albeit accompanied by opportunities for innovation. CCI reaffirms its commitment to supporting CNS practitioners, fostering a robust professional community, and navigating this evolving landscape in the years ahead.

Topics: cns-cp