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.

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