PNCB Continuing Competence

PNCB Continuing Competence


Starting in 2013, PNCB's Board of Directors convened a task force to examine the current state of the relationship between a certification board and the competence of professionals holding its certifications. During this period, we concluded that PNCB should refine our definition of continuing competence and subsequently evaluate our processes of recertification. See February 2020 updates.

The process we will follow is based on the experiences of other organizations. Our program will be tailored to the unique needs of our practice area.


In re-examining and re-defining PNCB's recertification program, we will be guided by these objectives:

  • Evaluate the recertification program to determine the extent to which current practices effectively promote and measure the ongoing competence of credential holders
  • Determine if there are elements of the program that are unnecessarily burdensome to certificants that do not contribute to an assessment of their competence
  • Explore the possibility of incorporating new components into the program that more effectively assess continuing competence for pediatric nursing professionals.

We know change is hard. We also know that change is inevitable. While we don't know exactly what might change in the program, we are committed to offering a program that reflects our mission to promote optimal outcomes in global pediatric health by providing certification services that validate specialized knowledge and continuing competence in pediatric nursing. This means that any changes we make will be in the context of strengthening our ability to assess the alignment of certificant competencies with established standards.

It is possible that the evaluation process will prescribe no changes. It may be that the cost of change will exceed its benefits. It is also possible that the program will make significant changes to the way you recertify. Based on our preliminary analysis, we believe the most likely outcome is that there will be changes that result from clarification of PNCB's definition of continuing competence and how that impacts the requirements or components of recertification.

Following our Core Values

As the Board undertakes this initiative, we will follow our core values:

  • Integrity: Evaluation results will be published. The rationale behind any changes as well as impact, time, and cost will be made clear. We will solicit the input of certificants, industry stakeholders, parents, and educators to ensure that the program addresses the values and expectations of each constituent.
  • Quality: We are committed to managing a program that adjusts to reach the optimal balance between practical and financial necessities. We commit to using empirical evidence to ensure requirements and components of the program align with practices to keep patients safe.
  • Innovation: Our reflection will examine not only the current practices but look to the future. We will explore new ideas and new tools for their ability to promote our core values.
  • Advocacy: Changes made to the program will promote pediatric nursing as a profession by improving our ability to advocate for the capabilities of our certified nurses.
  • Respect: We cannot be successful in our mission if certified nurses bear undue burdens related to the cost and time commitments required to maintain certification. We will strive for the recertification process to be relevant and meaningful to our nurses and nurse practitioners.

Timeline & Objectives

Starting in 2015 and for the next five years, the Board will conduct extensive analysis. We expect to achieve a clear definition of competence that factors the full range of competencies in pediatric nursing as well as the dynamics of specialization and advancement. Based on this definition, we will then examine each of our recertification requirements to determine whether they serve that definition. See February 2020 updates.

At the end of the process, we expect to have clear requirements that align each component with the competencies they serve. Any changes to requirements will be introduced through a process that respects the commitments nurses have already made in conjunction with our interest in achieving greater alignment. The process of change will become an institutional component of the way we manage the recertification program to ensure it remains faithful to our core values as the healthcare landscape continues to advance.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is continuing competence?

PNCB embraces the definition of continuing competence from the American Board of Nursing Specialties, as "the ongoing commitment of a registered nurse to integrate and apply the knowledge, skills and judgment with attitudes, values and beliefs required to practice safely, effectively and ethically in a designated role and setting." (Di Leonardi, BC & Biel, M., 2012)

Why are you re-examining recertification?

We want to ensure that recertification provides an opportunity to demonstrate competence throughout one's career.

How are you going to decide on changes to the recertification process?

We have undertaken a deliberate process to define the essential competencies of our credentials and will use this information to evaluate each requirement and component in the recertification program. We recognize that many individuals advance and/or specialize in narrower practice settings.

  • We expect to draw from the lessons learned from other certifiers and other relevant research to create programs that reflect the best measures of continuing competence.
  • We will also reach out to our certificants and stakeholders for their input.
How will the recertification program change?

There is no certainty that the recertification program will change. The most important change is that we will have a solid rationale for each requirement and component in the recertification program.

How will you let us know about any changes?

There are many steps in our process, and throughout this exploration, we are involving various stakeholder groups to provide feedback. As we reach tangible conclusions, we will present them to the community through electronic and paper communications and presentations at conferences.

When would any changes take effect?

The project time line is three to four years, which started in 2015. Any changes that result from research and stakeholder input will be carefully planned and announced.

Thank you

Thank you for choosing PNCB certification and reading this important update. We look forward to involving you in this process as we move forward. Please contact PNCB at for any questions about this initiative.



Faces of Certification

PNCB-certified nursing professionals work in a variety of roles and settings throughout the US and beyond. Share your photo today!

Karen Capusan, CPNP-PC Northwell Health New Hyde Park, NY
Jesse Kay, CPN, CPNP-AC Children's Hospital Los Angeles Los Angeles, CA
Tyler Simpson, CPNP-PC, CPN Arkansas Children's Hospital Little Rock, AR
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