Detail Content Outline

The current vascular access certification examination is based on a content outline developed from the practice analysis completed in 2015. The exam consists of 150 questions, of those you are scored on 125. The format uses a four-option, multiple-choice question written at three different cognitive levels:

  1. Recall: The ability to recall or recognize specific information.
  2. Application: The ability to comprehend, relate, or apply knowledge to new or changing situations.
  3. Analysis: The ability to analyze and synthesize information, to determine solutions, and/or to evaluate the usefulness of a solution.
Category Domains of Practice Percentage # of questions
I Vascular Access Devices 20% 25
II Vascular Access Device Maintenance 21% 26
III Complications and Interventions 17% 21
IV Critical Thinking and Clinical Application 19% 24
V Communication/Patient Advocacy 8% 10
VI Research/Quality Management 8% 10
VII Ethical and Legal Considerations of Vascular Access 7% 9

These categories represent an organized way to identify the performance that clinicians will use on the job.  The content outline is presented here in its entirety.

I. Vascular Access Devices 20%

A. Short peripheral catheters
1. Indications / Contraindications
2. Site and vessel selection, evaluation
3. Insertion procedures and supplies
B. Midline catheters
1. Indications / Contraindications
2. Site and vessel selection, evaluation
3. Insertion procedures and supplies
4. Optimal tip location
C. Non-tunnelled catheters
1. Indications / Contraindications
2. Site and vessel selection, evaluation
3. Insertion procedures and supplies
4. Optimal tip location
D. Peripherally inserted central catheters (PICC)
1. Indications / Contraindications
2. Site and vessel selection, evaluation
3. Insertion procedures and supplies
4. Optimal tip location
E. Tunnelled catheters
1. Indications / Contraindications
2. Site and vessel selection, evaluation
3. Insertion procedures and supplies
4. Optimal tip location
F. Implanted vascular access devices (ports)
1. Indications / Contraindications
2. Site and vessel selection, evaluation
3. Insertion procedures and supplies
4. Optimal tip location
G. Intraosseous devices
1. Indications / Contraindications
2. Site selection, evaluation
3. Insertion procedures and supplies
H. Dialysis / apheresis catheters
1. Indications / Contraindications
2. Site and vessel selection, evaluation
3. Insertion procedures and supplies
4. Optimal tip location
I. Arterial catheters
1. Indications / Contraindications
2. Site and vessel selection, evaluation
3. Insertion procedures and supplies
J. Pulmonary artery catheters
1. Indications / Contraindications
2. Site and vessel selection, evaluation
3. Insertion procedures and supplies
K. Aquapheresis catheters
1. Indications / Contraindications
2. Site and vessel selection, evaluation
3. Insertion procedures and supplies

II. Vascular Access Device Maintenance 21%

A. Flushing and locking solutions, procedures
B. Patency assessment ( e.g., verifying blood return, flushing)
C. Site assessment
D. Dressing change, frequency, product selection
E. Supplies required (e.g., needleless connectors, filters, IV tubing, securement devices)
F. Catheter removal techniques

III. Complications and Interventions 17%

A. Insertion related (e.g., arterial puncture, pneumothorax, hemothorax, hematoma)
B. Post insertion related (e.g., extravasation, infiltritation, thrombosis, malposition, infection)
C. Additional medical interventions (e.g., catheter clearance, antibiotic locks)

IV. Critical Thinking and Clinical Application 19%

A. Integration of infection prevention concepts into clinical practice
B. Anatomy and physiology
C. Growth and development
D. Age related vascular changes
E. Vascular pathology (e.g., disease process and impact on vascular access)
F. Laboratory values relevant to device placement and maintenance
G. Medical imaging technology (e.g., ultrasound, infra-red, transillumination)
H. Tip location systems
I. General knowledge of drug properties and therapies

V. Communication / Patient Advocacy 8%

A. Patient, caregiver resources (e.g., healthcare coverage, patient assistance programs, education materials, community programs)
B. Psychosocial issues related to cultural diversity (e.g., translator for informed consent, family involvement in medical decisions)
C. Interdisciplinary collaboration
D. Mentoring techniques

VI. Research / Quality Management 8%

A. Research methodologies (e.g., quantitative, qualitative, IRB)
B. Evidence based practice implementation, compliance
C. Critical analysis of published research
D. Process improvement initiatives

VII. Ethical and Legal Considerations of Vascular Access 7%

A. Patient rights
B. Informed consent (e.g., risks, benefits and alternatives)
C. Professional code of ethics
D. Documentation (including time-out)
E. Incident reporting process to institution, manufacturer, regulatory agencies
F. Legal implications associated with product use (e.g., IFUs, expiration dates, off-label use)
G. Legal liability associated with vascular access practice (including challenging patients, situations)

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