Feb 16 2019

Excelsior College

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School of Nursing: CPNE

What you need to know about the
Clinical Performance in Nursing Examination (CPNE )

The CPNE is an 8 credit criterion-referenced performance examination administered over 2½ (two and a half) days in an acute care hospital. Students must pass this capstone examination to graduate from the associate degree nursing program at Excelsior College. CPNE administration and scoring processes follow standards established by the American Educational Research Association, American Psychological Association, and the National Council of Measurement in Education. The CPNE validates students’ competencies regarding the application of nursing knowledge, making patient-centered judgments and performing technical skills when providing authentic and simulated patient care.

Students demonstrate competency to practice as a graduate nurse by performing critical elements, consistent with professional nursing practice, when providing care in simulated and authentic patient situations with 100% accuracy. Critical elements are single, discrete, observable performance behaviors. Students are randomly assigned to a Clinical Examiner (CE) who prepares the patient assignment and evaluates performance of patient-centered care. Any critical element addressing an assessment that requires interpretation of sounds will be evaluated with a double stethoscope and used simultaneously by the student and the CE. Accuracy of assessment is determined by comparison to CE findings.

Required for: All students enrolled in the Excelsior College associate degree in nursing program.

Components of the 22nd Edition CPNE

Essential Competency Professional Behaviors

Nursing Simulation Laboratory (NSL)

  • Application of Sterile Technique for Common Procedures
  • Medication Administration NSL Station

Patient Care Scenarios (PCS)

Overriding Areas of Competency (AOC)

  • Plan of Care
  • Safe Patient Care
  • Abdominal assessment
  • Comfort management
  • Fluid management
  • Medications
  • Musculoskeletal management
  • Neurological assessment
  • Oxygen management
  • Peripheral neurovascular management
  • Respiratory management
  • Skin management
  • Vital signs
  • Wound Management

Test Preparation Advisory

Preparation for Excelsior College Examinations, though based on independent study, is supported by Excelsior College with a comprehensive set of exam learning resources and services designed to help you succeed.

These learning resources are prepared by Excelsior College so you can be assured that they are current and cover the content you are expected to master for the exams. These resources, and your desire to learn, are usually all that you will need to succeed.

There are test-preparation companies that will offer to help you study for our examinations. Some may imply a relationship with Excelsior College and/or make claims that their products and services are all that you need to prepare for our examinations.

Excelsior College is not affiliated with any test preparation firm and does not endorse the products or services of these companies. No test preparation vendor is authorized to provide admissions counseling or academic advising services, or to collect any payments, on behalf of Excelsior College. Excelsior College does not send authorized representatives to a student’s home.

Depending upon your individual learning style and needs, you may consider using the services and products of a test preparation vendor to help you prepare for an Excelsior College Examination. Some students have found such materials beneficial while others have not. The decision to purchase the services and products of any of these vendors is entirely up to you.

Excelsior College does not review the materials provided by test preparation companies for content or compatibility with Excelsior College Examinations.

To help you become a well-informed consumer we suggest that you consider the following before making any purchase decision regarding study materials provided by organizations other than Excelsior College.

Does the company:

  • Clearly articulate that it is an independent business enterprise, separate from Excelsior College, and that it is not a degree granting institution?
  • Clearly inform you that the products and services it provides have not been reviewed, nor are they endorsed, by Excelsior College?
  • Openly indicate that it is not an agent of Excelsior College, that it is not authorized to provide admissions counseling or academic advising regarding Excelsior’s degree requirements, and that all its costs and fees are separate from those you will pay to the College?
  • Have a record of unresolved complaints/disputes with consumer protection agencies, nursing boards, attorneys general offices, or other similar organizations?
  • Require clients to commit to long-term, binding contracts to access its products and services?
  • Provide data to substantiate the satisfaction of its clients with its products and services?

We have been made aware of several recent incidents in which a test-preparation firm has contacted an Excelsior College student requesting access to their Excelsior College Examinations preparatory materials, including practice exams. Sharing learning resources with a test-preparation firm is a clear violation of the academic honesty code. Students found to have engaged in academic dishonesty at Excelsior College will be subject to disciplinary action.

If you are approached by any individual or third-party about sharing any Excelsior College provided study materials, please contact us at PR (at)

Written by AUTO

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