What is the CPNE?


The CPNE is the Clinical Performance in Nursing Examination. Excelsior College has stringent standards for its prospective and current nursing students.  All students enrolled in the associate degree in nursing must complete the CPNE. The CPNE is a “skill-based assessment designed to measure a student’s ability to demonstrate the expected behaviors and skills of a beginning-level associate-prepared nurse.”  It is the final step in Excelsior’s registered nursing ASN program. The actual examination provides the following:

  • One on one evaluation by a master’s or doctorate prepared clinical examiner who has been trained to administer the examination.
  • Actual or simulated clinical situations that serve as the basis for the examination.
  • A carefully controlled and monitored examination experience that allows for a fair and objective assessment of your knowledge and skill no matter where or when you choose to complete the examination.

There are eight hours given for the three-day clinical test which is done at several teaching hospitals in the nation.
  • The first day is a laboratory skills test including Intravenous push medications, IVPB rate and setup, IM/SQ, injections and wound packing, etc. .
  • The next two days are patient care situations. You are assigned two adults and one pediatric patient and are responsible for the assigned areas of care, such as: neurological assessment, peripheral vascular assessment, respiratory management, post-operative care, medications, etc.
  • A care plan must be approved and submitted prior to implementation of patient care. You are also responsible for a follow-up evaluation and subsequent narrative charting.

According to Excelsior College 61% of students pass the first time. If you fail, you will have two additional opportunities to take the CPNE.  It is advised that students take a hands-on workshop to prepare for the CPNE.

Get free tips on the CPNE and read more about a hands-on CPNE workshop.