How to Obtain Orthopedic Nurse Certification

The Orthopaedic Nurses Certification Board (ONCB) has a certification for those experienced in orthopedic nursing. Candidates must also pass an orthopedic nursing certification exam before obtaining this professional ONCB credential.

To get certified by ONCB, all applicants must at least have a license to work as a registered nurse. Foreign nurses also qualify if their license status is deemed to be the equivalent of a US RN license.

Two full years of general work as an RN are also required to become a certified orthopedic nurse. In addition, an applicant must have 1000 hours of work in orthopedic nursing over the last 3 years. This may include work in a variety of settings, including adult care, clinic, administration, emergency room, critical care, education, home health care, medical-surgical nursing, long-term care, oncology, office practice, pediatrics, and operating room.

The ONCB has released what it calls a detailed orthopaedic nurse certification exam outline. That characterization is rather odd because it only includes the basic categories of degenerative disease, trauma, sports injuries, inflammatory disorders, operative orthopaedics, oncology, metabolic bone diseases, and neuromuscular/pediatric/congenital. Degenerative disease is the most common question area on the orthopedic nursing exam, as it is 30% of the test. Trauma and sports injuries are 21% and 15%, respectively. The others are only 7 or 8 percent except oncology, which is only 3% of the certification test.

The Candidate Handbook has some orthopaedic nursing practice test questions, as well. More importantly, the one thing very valuable that ONCB does provide is a specific set of exam references. You should purchase all of these exam references and study them cover to cover to get ready for the ONCB orthopaedic nurse certification test.

The fee for the exam is $390. However, members of the National Association of Orthopaedic Nurses can take the test for $275. Because general membership is $110, the savings are worth it if you are not currently an NAON member. However, the membership expires on December 31st of each year.


Orthopaedic Nurses Certification Board: Candidate Certification and Exam Handbook

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