LTAC nurse of 2 yrs. Am I eligible to take CCRN?

  1. Can please someone tell me if I can sit for CCRN certification exam? I have worked in LTAC unit almost 2 yrs, and have taken care of high acuity patiens. But never worked in ICU or stepdown units. I would love to get some clarification on this.

    Thank you!
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    About Sachan

    Joined: Aug '08; Posts: 14; Likes: 3


  3. by   sapphire18
    This is directly from the AACN CCRN handbook:

    [FONT=FranklinGothic-Book][FONT=FranklinGothic-Book]Practice as an RN or APRN is required for 1,750 hours in direct bedside care of acutely and/or critically ill patients during the previous 2 years, with 875 of those hours accrued in the most recent year preceding application. Eligible hours are those spent caring for the patient population (adult, pediatric or neonatal) of the exam for which you are applying.

    So it doesn't specify exactly...but I would think that LTAC would not be considered critical care. Even though you take care of very acute patients...if they were truly critical they would be in a traditional ICU. Hope that helps. However, contact the AACN directly for a more definitive answer.
  4. by   Esme12
    That is not exactly true.....LTACH's care for acutely ill and critical patients. Usually several facilities dump...I mean send their medically complex.....difficult, complicated failure to heal/wean patients and they are all under one roof. There are usually several vented, trached patients with multiple co-morbities on the general floors. The will have chest tubes, and complex care/meds/wounds. I ahev seen halo traction on the general floors. These nurses care for these patient son the general units and will have a few vents per nurse.

    There are telemetry units and ICU units where these patient have drips and lines just like any other "acute care patient" In the ICU they are monitored like any ICU patient and the hospitals send them to the LTAC when the have "run out of acute days" intubated with lines and drips. These facilities are licensed as Acute Care facilities (just like the hospitals) and can perform simple surgical procedures like PEG tube insertions and tracheotomies. Many have labs on site and they have their own x-ray departments. They do this with half the staff of a "real" hospital.

    These patients are a collection of the sickest of the sick from several contributing hospitals and they are all under one roof. Many nurses, if not a majority, have no clue what a LTACH really is.....I was one of them until I went to supervise one for a friend that became the DON......I will NEVER think about Long Term in the same light again when

    I agree with Sapphire......I would call/ the AACN and plead your case. OP......Not many in our profession know what an LTAC truly is and will be shocked to learn what exactly working in an LTAC actually means. Not all LTACHs are created equal.....I think if you work at an LTAC that has an ICU and/or telemetry your chances will be greater.

    So the answer is them or apply....then plead your case. If you need help PM me for I sure learned what an LTAC was and respect these nurse greatly that work there.

    Good luck!
  5. by   Circejane
    I have worked LTC/subacute care, M/S, and now ICU. While there are some very sick people in LTAC, it is nothing like ICU nursing. Both are very challenging in their own way, but very, very different. I would suggest trying a practice CCRN exam before contacting the AACN.
  6. by   Esme12
    Quote from Circejane
    I have worked LTC/subacute care, M/S, and now ICU. While there are some very sick people in LTAC, it is nothing like ICU nursing. Both are very challenging in their own way, but very, very different. I would suggest trying a practice CCRN exam before contacting the AACN.
    Have you worked at a LTACH or an ICU at a LTACH? As a nurse who specialized in critical care and emergency medicine, and trauma flight for 34 years.......I have been a director, and manager, for ICU/CTPACU/EMERGENCY and CATH LAB. So, when I did my friend a "favor" and supervised for her (for how hard could it be)......I was God-smacked to find out how skilled those "LTC" nurses were and how sick those patients were. I was wrong in my assumption about these "LTC" nurses and this was NO nursing home!

    The LTAC I worked for had an ICU. We received open hearts that were failure to my area these patients were usually within 7 post op days and were considered..... un-rehabable and long term. They came to that ICU intubated, some with chest tubes, fully lined with Alines and Swanz (PA catheter's) with drips! The LTACH's telemetry consisted of complicated post MI's and open hearts again with multiple co-morbities on drips. These were the patients that V-tached and SVT'd or went into PE because they had an extra sip of tea. We coded, intubated, trached, G-tubed, and lined these patients all at the bedside. These patients were dripped and cardioverted like at any other "real hospital. These patients were NOT DNR's and a majority of them went home or went on to sub acute.

    These nurses did this with a fraction of the licensed staff and more CNA's than "typical" hospitalized patients. If we needed to scan someone in the middle of the night.....that required transfer to the "hospital" or a local ED. But there was an in-house MD (24/7)and radiology for most needs.

    While I agree that the CCRN is heavy on intervention and interpretation of the typical Cardiac ICU patient, with an emphasis heavy in invasive monitoring and intervention, some expereince in a cardio/thorasic ICU is beneficial. I realize that not all LTACH's are this acute so........The question as to whether the LTAC nurse experience can qualify for the exam is a question that only the AACN can answer.
  7. by   Circejane
    The OP stated that she had not worked ICU or stepdown. I am not saying that she would not be able to take the exam. I simply suggested that she try a practice exam first before contacting the AACN, to see if her knowledge base is comparable to what the CCRN tests on.
  8. by   Esme12
    Agreed....but if she need to know her eligibility....The AACN clearly states that one does not have to work in a critical care area to meet the requirements of the exam...... page 10 and 11,

    It states 1,750 of direct bedside hours of acutely and/or critically ill patients. The AACN also states that it may at it's "sole discretion may adopt additional eligibility requirements the adequacy of the candidates knowledge and experience in caring for the acutely and critically ill."

    Experience in a critical care area is an absolute advantage in take this exam for the exam is heavily based in the care of a critical patient and the interventions necessary with invasive monitoring to care for the critically ill patient. Someone who has never cared for this patient population will find the exam challenging and will need to study care of the critical care patient in the recommended resources suggested by the AACN.....but it can be done.

    OP......I am curious why the CCRN? There are also other certifications by the AACN that may better suit your needs ....for example the PCCN.
  9. by   turnforthenurse
    Typically, those eligible for taking the CCRN exam work in an ICU or some other type of critical care unit (CCU, CTICU, SICU, etc). Your best bet would be to contact the AACN and ask them about your experience.
  10. by   Lovelymo79
    OP, please come back and tell us what the AACN says.
  11. by   OnlybyHisgraceRN
    I have worked in sub-acute LTC and it is not the same as ICU. If this were the case I would certainly apply to take the exam. I only have 5 months of ICU exp. but did LTC and LTAC for 2 years.
  12. by   Seaofclouds
    I know this is an old post, but I wanted to respond with information that I have. I work for a LTACH and we were in touch with the AACN and were told that our time does count toward the CCRN because our patients are chronically critically ill.
  13. by   delphine22
    I wanted to add my 2 cents too. I called the AACN today. I've worked two years in PCU and just finished my ECCO, as I'm starting in MICU. I asked the representative if my PCU experience fulfilled the "acute" part of "acute and/or critically ill" requirement. She said, and I quote, "We don't care where you worked. Units change all the time. As long as you can pass the test.​"
  14. by   itrust
    This is so encouraging to hear. I'm a current Stepdown nurse at a Level I Trauma Center, looking to get into the ICU in a few more months. I was going to study for the PCCN, but it seems that not too many employers care for it. I'm going to go ahead and study for the CCRN and hopefully that separates me from the pack when I start applying for ICU positions.