Understanding and Embracing the Certification Examination
Originally published in Energy Magazine: The official Publication of the Healing Touch Program December/January Issue Understanding and Embracing the Certification Examination by Cathy McJannet, RN, MN, CEN, HTCP/I
We are sure that there are some of you may be feeling some angst as we approach finalization of the certification exam for HTP. Fear not! We are here to help you prepare and want to reassure you that all of this is worth the effort! “Why do we have to have this exam?” some of you are asking. I believe that this is an opportunity for HTP to raise the bar to demonstrate to the public that a Healing Touch Certified Practitioner meets similar certification standards as other Healing Arts Programs. Those of us that are HTP certified know how rigorous our current process is, but this certification is not in a format that meets the higher caliber professional standard that agencies such as Magnet Status hospitals are requested to meet. Expectations of the level of knowledge, ability, and professionalism that the HTCP must have, need to be demonstrated at this higher level in order to qualify for national accreditation. HTP’s certification exam process will facilitate HTP meeting those requirements, maintain our position as a leader in the field of energy medicine, and will make your credential more valuable and more versatile.
The new HTP certification exam is being developed “by the people for the people.” This means that HTCPs, current professionals in the field, have volunteered to be Subject Matter Experts (SME). The SMEs are writing the questions, reviewing the questions to ensure appropriateness and accuracy, and are directly involved in structuring the exam. In fact, the SMEs are directly involved in the entire process of creating the test to ensure that it is an evaluation that shows that the applicant has the level of knowledge, understanding, and expertise required of an entry level HTCP. The SMEs are choosing the exam questions for the actual examination that is coming soon to a neighborhood near you! We are anticipating the multiple-choice, proctored exam to be approximately 100 questions that can be taken in a variety of proctored settings. Having a proctored exam means that it will be strictly supervised (no taking it at home in your PJ’s!) and it is our plan that this test will be offered at such places as community colleges, or libraries.
There are many levels of preparation that fellow practitioners are going through to help us move forward with this new component of the certification process. I will address just the actual testing components, as that is the process that I am involved with.
Phase 1 of this test question development is almost complete. Over 80 of our fellow HTCPs (SMEs) have written almost 250 questions. Strict guidelines were followed regarding question development, matching learning objectives to the questions, the writing format and which resources were used (such as the cur-rent curriculum materials for each level of HT). Detailed instructions have helped our SMEs place all of the questions into the correct format that allows for tracking of the questions, as well as for easy organization and retrieval. A committee led by our consultants in the spring created a detailed HTCP job analysis from which a list of program objectives was identified for each level of Healing Touch. The SMEs then followed these as they developed the questions.
Phase 2 of the test question development is starting in mid December. A select group of approximately ten experienced SMEs will now look at all 250 questions. They will be responsible for the preliminary review of the content validity for each question. These dedicated practitioners will closely scrutinize approximately 25 questions each. They will then follow detailed guidelines and complete documentation on the validity of each question. They will address such issues as, “Are the questions written appropriately?” and, “Is the question written at a basic entry level to reflect the knowledge base of a new HTCP?”
Phase 3 utilizes a selected group of five SMEs that are tasked with providing final content validity for all of the questions. This group will be comprised of five SMEs from various geographical areas and occupations, including male and female HTCPs. Each of these SMEs will answer all 250 questions and make recommendations regarding the questions for the pilot exam.
This brings us to a concern that some may have, test anxiety. The best solution for this is knowledge. Test anxiety comes from the unexpected whether it is the format of the test, the presentation of the material, or a question what material is covered specifically. The more familiar a person becomes with the process presentation and the material, the more their anxiety dissipates. We want to make sure that you know you have no need for concern. We are here for you! There will soon be a certification booklet that includes a test blueprint which outlines the test categories, a study guide, practice test questions, and information on how to increase performance on multiple-choice questions. These are all effective test anxiety reduction tools.
In the near future we expect to also have a review course specifically to help you prepare for the certification exam. Remember, the test will not ask for anything that you have not already learned in one of your HTP courses. We all have some level of test anxiety (me too!), but you can have confidence that we are working to make sure your experience is as easy and stress free as possible.
We are working towards making the pilot test available to HTCPs in the spring of 2011. The pilot test is the ultimate validation of the questions on the test. It is a test taken by a mixture of practitioners and lay people, and the results show whether each question is likely to be answered correctly by the candidates and incorrectly by lay people. This helps to eliminate “bad” questions, and establishes a reasonable level to measure performance of HTCPs. The finalized certification exam may be offered as early as summer 2011. The accreditation agency states that all people within the organization must meet the same standard, in this case pass the criterion-referenced test, to hold our certification. This is why all certified practitioners will be required to pass the test. The HTP Leadership is working closely with the accreditation agency to supply answers to all of our questions as they arise, so keep watching for updates and articles!
Embrace this spectacular new opportunity to demonstrate your basic knowledge of Healing Touch curriculum and practice. Wear your certification pin proudly knowing that we will have met the same standards as those recognized by national accreditation agencies. Change is often difficult, but having a positive attitude certainly goes a long way toward making this whole process all about celebration and achievement! I hope to see you taking the pilot test!
About the author:
Cathy McJannet is a Director of Nursing Pro-grams at a local college as well as a practicing emergency dept. nurse. She became involved in Healing Touch in 1997 when her patients and peers introduced her to the wonders of Healing Touch. Cathy works in the ER as an Advanced Clinician and practices Healing Touch in the hospital setting on a regular basis. Her ‘Planetree’ hospital strongly sup-ports complimentary therapies and has a paid CHTP on staff to provide treatments for staff and patients. Cathy teaches Heal-ing Touch in the hospital setting and at the community college where she teaches. Cathy is blessed to live in San Diego which has many very experienced Healing Touch practitioners and instructors who are wonderful mentors and role-models for her.