PeriAnesthesia Care Nurses of Arkansas  


Why should I become certified?

Certification officially recognizes your knowledge, skills and abilities in a defined area.. Nurses achieve certification after sitting for a qualifying exam.  Eligibility varies but usually requires thousands of hours of experience in the area in which you want to certify.  It is a mark of excellence. 

How do I become certifed?

In the two years prior to applying for initial certification, you must have at least 1,800 hours of direct clinical experience in the area which you plan to certify.  Direct experience is defined as:  having bedside interaction with the patient and/or family in some capacity and participating actively in the individual patient experience. You do not need to be technically employed in a direct care position (staff nurse, for example). If your role (e.g., educator, manager, Clinical Nurse Specialist) involves bedside interaction with the patient and/or family in some capacity, those hours count towards meeting the experience requirement.  You must also have an unrestricted nursing license in the United States, or its territories.

Do I take the CAPA or the CPAN?  

Essentially, if you take care of patients in the Postanesthesia Phase l, then you should take the CPAN exam.  If your care takes place mostly in the Postanesthesia Phase ll, preanesthesia, day surgery or extended recovery, you should plan to take the CAPA.

Ready to register for the exam?  Click here

Resources available (provided through Abpanc website):

Certification Handbook

Appendix D - Study Resources

12 week study plan

Practice tests (Fee) 


Sign up for CAPA question of the week

Sign up for CPAN question of the week

I still need more information.  Is there a website?  Abpanc website


Congratulations on your certification.  It is a big step professionally.  So what do you do now?   Your certification is good for three years.  At the end of the three years, you have to recertify.  To recertify you must: 

  • have a current, unrestricted RN license in the US or any of its territories, 
  • a minimum of 1200 hours of perianesthesia nursing practice during your three year period of certification
  • successful completion of either the CPAN® or CAPA® examination (whichever credential you currently hold) OR attain 90 contact hours of continual learning as defined in the Recertification Handbook.

Resources available (provided through Abpanc website)

Recertification Handbook

To keep up with your continuing education, use the Continuing education log provided by Abpanc.  This allows you to input your education hours anytime over the three year certification period.  It saves the information for easy retrieval and makes recertifying much easier.