GI Nurse Certification Information

The PNWSGNA Board recognizes the importance of nursing certification.  As a part of our commitment to the membership of the Pacific Northwest Regional we will be dedicating a special section of our newsletter and web site to address certification issues.

My name is Marianne Houlne RN, CGRN. As a Director on the Regional Board and a Chairperson on the CBGNA Item Writers Committee I am very committed to the professionalism of GI nursing practice and the education of GI nurses.  I would like to offer each of you a hand as you prepare to take the CBGNA Certification exam. I realize as many of you face the prospect of taking the exam in May you are probably already overwhelmed but if we can work together and take it one step at a time you may find that you are well prepared to face exam day. Please feel free to Email me at with your questions or concerns.

Let’s use this column as an opportunity to look at ways to prepare for the exam and to recommend valuable references that are available to guide your way. Let’s get started!

Begin by visiting three websites I refer to daily. Go to the Homepage of each site to see what they have to offer.

First visit the site. You do not have to be certified to visit this site. Highlights include:

  1. Why Certify? – Substantive information relating to the importance of certification and your profession.
  2. Applications and exams - Dates and locations of future exams.
  3. Handbooks - Contains examination and recertification packets.
  4. Marketplace - Look for a certification study guide and study modules here.
  5. E-Mail - Use this to write the CBGNA Board with questions or comments.
  6. Scholarship information - Did you know that the CBGNA offers scholarships to exam candidates to help defray the costs of travel and testing?
  7. RN and LPN Classification Systems - Contains Role Delineation information as well as exam blueprint information. At the end of the Classification System there is a section that outlines the types of questions that are on the exam and the percentages of questions from each category that will be on the exam.

Next visit the site. This is the national website for the SGNA. This site has a wealth of information too great for me to list but some of the highlights important to certification include: 

  1. Scholarships- Details of SGNA offerings to help with exam fees and travel expenses.
  2. Education - SGNA offers a Certification Preparation Course. Locations and dates as well as course content can be found here.
  3. Resources - The Policies & Procedures and Standards of GI nursing practice are available here. Print them and include them in your study materials.
  4. Marketplace - Other references can be purchased from the SGNA such as the Core Curriculum and Procedures manual.
  5. Events - SGNA events are listed here with Dates and locations. Many people take the Certification exam at the Annual SGNA course.
  6. Certification - this section offers information about the Certification Preparation Course and an opportunity to purchase the SGNA Core Curriculum.

Last but certainly not least, frequently visit the site and explore all of the information that it has to offer. The regional Board is very active and interested in helping members remain current and informed as well as supporting members who are preparing to take the Certification exam.  Highlights include:

  1. Board members – A listing of regional board members and contact information that you can use to write or call with questions.  We are happy to help you and enjoy working with our GI nursing peers.
  2. Events – A listing of regional and national events of interests.
  3. Fall Conference – We are working to offer a regional test site every year at the PNWSGNA Fall Conference site.
  4. Scholarship fund – Scholarships are available to active members of the region for test related expenses and educational activities.  By the way, did you know that as a regional member you can apply to have ½ of the exam fee returned to you if you successfully pass the exam?

Don’t forget that the national SGNA and CBGNA Headquarters are a phone call away. Call 1-800-245-SGNA to speak to the association’s representatives directly.  They will have the answers to any additional questions that you may have. The SGNA Headquarters will answer the phone and give you options to select. Option#1 is the main SGNA office and option #3 will transfer you to the CBGNA Headquarters.

Preparing to take the Certification exam is a lengthy process but well worth the time and energy. We will be here to help you along the way. Website information is available to members and non-members of the SGNA and the PNWSGNA. Many of the discounts and offerings are for members only. Join the SGNA and the PNWSGNA today!!

Marianne Houlne RN, CGRN