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Continuing competency specialty assessment

Taking the assessment

Getting acquainted with the process

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Taking the Continuing competency Assessment

  • Sign in with your name and password to access the Assessment.
  • Print out the computer technical solutions page so you will have a copy if you encounter a problem when you are taking the assessment.
  • View the list of Continuing Competency Assessments you are qualified to take. You will find this at the bottom of the instruction page if you click on "Take Assessment"
  • Select the Continuing Competency Assessment you wish to take. You must take the assessment at the start of each maintenance cycle.
  • Overview instructions of the Continuing Competency Program will appear, please read them. Again at the bottom of the page will be the link to the assessment.
  • The begin button for the Assessment is at the end of page. When you are ready to start, click it.

    A Continuing Competency Agreement will appear. You must agree by checking the agreement box in order to proceed. Agreement stipulates the following:

    By participating in the continuing competency initiative specialty assessment evaluation, I understand no communication of any kind about the assessment, its content or my responses to any questions can be shared with others during or after taking the assessment. I agree I will not consult with any person, virtual or hard copy resource while taking the assessment and understand that any such actions can subject me or others to certification revocation. I further agree to abide by all policies and rules of the Continuing Competency Initiative program and understand continuing education credit earned by taking the Specialty assessment can only be used for the purpose of maintaining my NCC certification.

  • Once you accept the agreement, it will take you to the launching station.
  • When you are ready to start, select Launch assessment.
  • The timing of the exam will begin at this point. You will have 2 hours and 15 minutes to complete it.  You must do this in one sitting.  Once you exit, you cannot reaccess the assessment.
  • Each question will appear by itself on the screen. The options you will have is Next Question, Previous Question or Review Questions.  There are 125 questions to answer.
  • Select the answer by clicking on the radio button stipulated as A, B or C. Once you select it, going to the next question records your answer.
  • If the system will not accept your answer, go to the review mode to enter in your answer. Then you can resume taking it in one question per page format.
  • The Review question button can be selected at anytime and will show you all the questions on the assessment and the answers to the questions you have answered to that point.
  • You can go back and forth in the assessment by using your previous and next question buttons or by going to the review questions button and scrolling to the question you wish to re-review.
  • At the end of the exam, select Review Answers and you can review all of your answers. You will have the opportunity to change any answers at that time.
  • Once you select submit answers, that will end the session. You then need to click on the "Close" button in the upper right hand corner. This will send you back to the website.
  • In any event, the assessment will submit once the maximum time has expired.
  • You will immediately receive your Education Plan which is based on the specialty index report for each core area. You can print this and it will stay in your account on the NCC website under "Education Plans".  
  • No CE certificate is given. The 5 hours for taking the assessment will automatically appear in your online maintenance application. This credit is not transferable.
  • Please note the Educational plan in your account does not update when you add CE.  the Educational plan inside your maintenance application does update when you add CE and is a great place to track what you still need.

Continuing competency agreement

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You must agree to abide by the agreement in order to proceed to take the assessment. You will be asked to agree by a check off box just prior to your accessing the assessment. The agreement stipulates the following:

By participating in the continuing competency initiative specialty assessment evaluation, I understand no communication of any kind about the assessment, its content or my responses to any questions can be shared with others during or after taking the assessment. I agree I will not consult with any person, virtual or hard copy resource while taking the assessment and understand that any such actions can subject me or others to certification revocation. I further agree to abide by all policies and rules of the Continuing Competency Initiative program and understand continuing education credit earned by taking the Specialty assessment can only be used for the purpose of maintaining my NCC certification.


Your 5 CE hours – where it's documented

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You will earn 5 CE hours for your participation in the Continuing Competency Initiative.

The five hours are automatically assigned to your education plan.  To see the 5 hours recorded, sign in to the NCC website with your password and select add, track or submit your CE link  to go to your online maintenance application. 

You will see the 5 hours is deducted in your education plan.  To assign these 5 hours to a core competency area you want, leave the last 5 hours you need to complete the education plan open to the core competency (specialty code) you want and the 5 credit hours are automatically applied to this open slot.  If not designated to a core competency area, these hours will apply to baseline hours if you have them.  Once your application shows fulfillment of the plan, a notice at the bottom of the application page will advise you to proceed to application submission and fee payment.

There is no CE certificate issued as the credit is given in recognition of your participation and for NCC maintenance purposes only.  The 5 hours are not transferable for other purposes.  Therefore, no CE documentation (certificate) will be recorded in your account.


Do I get a certificate?

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There is no CE certificate issued as the credit is given in recognition of your participation Stage 1 or Stage 2 of the Continuing Competency program and is not transferable for any other purpose.


Education Plan and Performance Feedback

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After you complete the assessment, you will immediately receive your specialty index report and Education Plan. This plan will identify your strengths and knowledge gaps. It will also specify the amount and nature of the continuing education that needs to be completed for maintenance. This education plan will be posted to in your NCC website account on the NCC website under "Education Plans".  This is a copy of the plan only.

The plan is also recorded in your online maintenance  application.  This plan is dynamic, meaning it shows how the plan is being met as you add CE activities manually or CE is posted from NCC if you take NCC CE modules.  Using the online maintenance plan is a great way to track your CE and how your plan is being met.

Specialty Index Report - BASELINE AND SPECIFIED EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS FOR MAINTENANCE

Each continuing competency specialty assessment results in an education plan  with 50 total hours of CE content weighted and distributed to reflect the specific specialty’s current core certification examination content. The specialty index report provides the tabulated results of your assessment in a non-grade format. The ratings in the report are based upon the type and amount of content within each specialty’s competency content areas (test outline for the certification exam).  For purposes of establishing the need for additional CE in a content area, ratings of 7.5 or higher have been determined to “meet the standard” so that an individual does not need to focus continuing education in that content area for purposes of NCC certification.  Both total hours of the plan and hours in each core competency area (specialty code) less than 7.5 must be met.

The Education Plan starts with a baseline of 15 hours of CE in any competency areas related to the specialty. If an individual had specialty index ratings of at least 7.5 in all categories of their specialty, their Education Plan requirement would designate a minimum of 15 hours of CE in any specialty competency areas. Individuals with no 7.5 or higher ratings in core content categories would need to complete all 45 hours of CE using defined categories and amounts as outlined by the education plan that supersedes  baseline requirement. In other words, if the baseline hours plus the designated CE required in the specific competency exceed 45 hours, the baseline requirements are substituted  with the specified competency hours.  This make sure no one has more than 45 hours CE to earn for any given maintenance cycle.    Under the Professional Development Maintenance Program model, no individual completing a specialty assessment will be required to earn more than 45 hours of CE to meet maintenance requirements.  In addition, the 5 hours of CE that NCC awards for completion of the specialty assessment can be applied to the Education Plan need of the individual constituent’s choosing.

The sole purpose of  continuing competency specialty assessment  is to provide an education plan.  The assessment has no pass/fail and does not affect an individual's ability to maintain their certification.   The Specialty Assessment is not intended to judge the actual clinical practice of an individual since practice is a matter of local regulations and employer-mandated skills and procedures. An individual's current clinical role may be limited or expanded beyond the competencies associated with the original core specialty examination. For this reason, the Specialty Assessment was developed to provide a means to support continued professional development addressing those knowledge competencies that were validated when an individual originally took and passed a NCC core certification examination. It allows NCC to re-validate those knowledge competencies by tailoring continuing education for certification maintenance on an individual basis versus a "one size fits all" approach.  This approach provides the constituent a foundation for demonstrating that professional development is ongoing toward the overall knowledge competencies associated with their specific certification specialty regardless of the practice role in which they are actively engaged.  

As learning is not static, the purpose of the specialty index report is to guide certified individuals in development an education to meet their ongoing education needs which based on objective data.

Can I see my answers to the assessment? Since the specialty assessment is a secure evaluation tool, it is not possible to provide the correct responses to individual items. In fact, NCC developed this assessment to focus on groupings of items that make up a core competency area within each specialty. These groupings are the basis for the weighting and calculations used for the specialty index ratings rather than the individual correct or incorrect item responses and the overall focus is intended to be on areas of content versus specific items.

NON-CE ACTIVTIES - HOW TO APPLY THEM

NCC does recognized non-CE activities for maintenance namely presentation of CE programs, writing professional literature and preceptoring.  These hours can only be applied if the certificant has baseline hours that are applicable to any competency.

If  the specialty index report does not show a baseline requirement and requires all 45 hours of CE in the specific competencies, these alternate mechanisms cannot be used.