So, you’re thinking about a career as a hospice and palliative nurse (HPN).

Well, that’s awesome!

Let us cover the initial steps on this exciting career path together so you can get a better understanding of what you’re getting into.

We are talking here about your career for possibly the next 10 years, at the very least, and even the rest of your life. That is exciting and nerve-racking at the same time.

Let’s get to it then.

How do you become an HPN?

You typically need to be a practicing registered nurse (RN) to become an HPN. You are also required to obtain work experience in hospice and palliative care. So, to become an HPN, you should earn a nursing degree or diploma, gain the required work experience, and pass the licensure examination.

For more information, read How to Become a Hospice and Palliative Nurse.

What type of schooling does an HPN need?

To work as an HPN, you need to first obtain your RN credentials, for which you have to earn the appropriate diploma or degree (associate’s or bachelor’s) and then pass the NCLEX-RN.

What are the types of certifications and requirements needed to become an HPN?

To become an HPN, you need to be a registered nurse, for which you need to pass the NCLEX-RN exam. The most widely accepted certification for HPNs is the Certified Hospice and Palliative Nurse (CHPN) test, which fulfills all the accreditation requirements of the Accreditation Board for Specialty Nursing Certification (ABSNC). The certification has to be renewed every four years.

How long does it take to become a certified HPN?

Once you have completed your nursing education and obtained the RN credentials and obtained the required work experience in hospice and palliative care (500 hours in the most recent 12 months or 1000 hours in the most recent 24 months), you can take the CHPN Test.

How much does it cost to become a certified HPN?

The costs associated with the CHPN Test are as follows:

  • Initial test – $295 for members of the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association (HPNA) and $415 for non-members
  • Recertification – $260 for HPNA members and $380 for non-members

What is the CHPN Test?

The CHPN Test is an exam developed by the Hospice and Palliative Credentialing Center (HPCC) for registered nurses in the U.S. who wish to validate their competency in hospice and palliative care.

Passing the CHPN Test has the following benefits:

  • It demonstrates your commitment to the specialized practice of hospice and palliative care.
  • It improves the quality of care you can provide to your patients.
  • It helps you professionally in regard to compensation and opportunities.
  • It makes you eligible for grants, awards, and scholarships offered by the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Foundation and the HPCC.

What are the eligibility requirements to take the CHPN Test?

To be eligible for the CHPN Test, an applicant must fulfill the following requirements:

  • Hold a current, unrestricted active registered nurse license in the United States and its territories or the equivalent in Canada.
  • Hospice and palliative registered nursing practice of 500 hours in the most recent 12 months or 1000 hours in the most recent 24 months prior to applying for the examination.

How many questions are on the CHPN Test?

The CHPN test consists of 150 multiple choice items, 135 of which are scored questions and 15 are unscored pretest items.

What are the Categories on the CHPN Test?

The CHPN Test outline is as follows:

  • Patient care: Life-limiting conditions in adult patients – 18%
  • Patient care: Pain management – 22%
  • Patient care: Symptom management – 24%
  • Patient and family care, education, and advocacy – 24%
  • Practice issues – 12%

How long does the CHPN Test typically last?

The total time allotted for the 150 questions in the CHPN Test is 3 hours.

What is the passing grade needed for the CHPN Test?

Your total score determines whether you pass or fail the CHPN Test; it is reported as a scaled score ranging between 0 and 99. The minimum scaled score needed to pass the examinations has been set at 75 scaled score units.

How many times can you take the CHPN Test?

There is no limit on the number of times you can take the CHPN Test. Candidates who do not pass the certification examination may reapply for the next testing window or any subsequent window by filing a new application and submitting the fee.