1. Davis, Jack MSN, RN, ONC

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The Orthopaedic Nurses Certification Board (ONCB) is grateful to use this guest editorial to tap into NAON's 2011 theme, Deeply Rooted, Bending With Change and Growing in the Future, to provide an ONCB update. Deeply rooted... The ONCB was founded by NAON in 1986 in response to a request from the membership for a certification program to further establish orthopaedic nursing as a specialty and to recognize expertise in the field. The mission of the ONCB has been to provide certifications that promote professional development and enhance the practice of orthopaedic nursing. In 2010, the 22nd year of testing, ONCB proudly reports that more than 5,000 nurses currently hold orthopaedic certification credentials. In 2010, more than 900 candidates tested the highest annual total recorded. Bending with change... ONCB continues to uphold the goal to maintain valid examinations that evaluate orthopaedic nursing practice and contribute to healthcare consumer safety. Changes to examinations include using current evidence-based practice guidelines to promote positive patient outcomes. ONCB certification is based on empirical research (i.e., role delineation studies) conducted on a regular basis to link content of the certification examination (test blueprint) directly to practice. A 2011 strategic initiative is to partner with our test vendor Applied Measurement Professionals, Inc. (AMP), to conduct a role delineation study, also known as a job analysis, to review current test specifications, and to guide test item development and test construction activities. Since our transition to computer-based testing (CBT) in 2007, the ONCB has seen a 73% growth in candidate volume. To meet this growing demand and protect examination security, the ONCB has decided to forego the paper-and-pencil examinations provided at NAON Congress and the AAOS annual meeting. Instead, the ONCB will provide more frequent CBT opportunities by offering quarterly test cycles. AMP assessment centers are available for CBT 6 days per week throughout the year at more than 170 sites geographically distributed across the United States.


Growing in the future... The ONCB is continuing to strengthen alliances and collaborations while exploring opportunities for future growth, visibility, and development. As a member of the American Board of Nursing Specialties (ABNS), the ONCB pledged unanimous acceptance to the ABNS Research Agenda and supported an upcoming 18-month study of NDNQI data and potential outcomes related to certification. Marketing strategies and efforts are under way to promote and accredit the advanced practice examinations, and enhance ONCB communications through social networking.


The ONCB is an organization with roots that are deeply embedded in the orthopaedic nursing and certification communities. Our strategic plan is guided by our mission and adapts to changes in our complex environment to meet various challenges that will allow for future growth and success. Please visit the ONCB Web site ( for any certification information.