HPCC History

In 2018, the Hospice and Palliative Credentialing Center will celebrate a very special year in its history–its 25th anniversary! Since its inception in 1993, HPCC has been responsive to the certification concerns and interest of nurses and the changing environment of hospice and palliative care. The formation of the board resulted from a 1991 survey of hospice nurses conducted by the Hospice Nurses Association (HNA) and the National Hospice Organization (NHO).

HPNA sought applications in 1992 for the to-be-created certification board. Based on answers to five essay questions, the HNA Executive Board selected and appointed the first six board members. From the beginning, selection has been based on the applicant experience and commitment to hospice and palliative nursing. The organization sought representatives from diverse geographic, cultural, educational and ethnic backgrounds, as well as different practice settings and work experience.

On Saturday, February 6 and Sunday, February 7, 1993, NBCHN (as it was originally named) held its first meeting at the Montgomery Hospice Society in Rockville, MD. Members of this first all-nurse certification Board, appointed by the Board of Directors of the Hospice Nurses Association, included Brenda E. Clarkson, Corrine Anderson, Lynn Borstelmann, Dorene J. Fankhauser, Margaret Joyce and Joan Richters. That initial meeting was energized as the Board defined hospice nursing practice, named the new credential CRNH (Certified Registered Nurse Hospice) and determined examination content, dates, fees, eligibility criteria and examination sites. Bylaws were written for the ongoing operation of the Board and a process was developed for soliciting test items.

The first certification examination was offered in 1994 and awarded the credential CRNH to those who successfully passed the exam. This credential was retired in 2002 and may no longer be used.

In 1999, the examination was expanded to include palliative care, and successful candidates are now awarded the credential CHPN® (Certified Hospice and Palliative Nurse). The organization remained NBCHPN until 2013, when the name was changed to the Hospice and Palliative Credentialing Center. 

In February 2002, the CHPN® examination was awarded accreditation by the American Board of Nursing Specialties (ABNS) through 2006. The CHPN® examination was reaccredited by ABNS in 2007, 2012, and 2017. This accreditation is valid through February 2022.

In September 2002, certification in hospice and palliative care became available for nursing assistants awarding the credential of CHPNA® (Certified Hospice and Palliative Nursing Assistant). HPCC received accreditation of the CHPNA® certification examination through the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA). This accreditation ran through January 2015.

Certification in hospice and palliative care for advanced practice nurse practitioners had its first national testing in May 2003. The test was done by HPCC in partnership with the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC).

In December 2004, HPCC acquired the hospice and palliative Advanced Practice Exam. Eligible Nurse Practitioners and Clinical Nurse Specialists can acquire the credential of ACHPN® (Advanced Certified Hospice and Palliative Nurse). In February 2007 the ACHPN® exam was awarded accreditation by the ABNS. It was reaccredited in 2012 and 2017, and this accreditation is valid through February 2022.

In 2003, HPCC initiated the development of a hospice and palliative certification examination for the LP/VN with the first national administration in September 2004. Individuals passing this exam are awarded the CHPLN® credential (Certified Hospice and Palliative Licensed Nurse). HPCC received accreditation of the CHPLN® certification examination through the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA). This accreditation ran through through January 2015.  Beginning in 2018, the CHPLN® certification will not be available by examination, but only maintained through recertification.  

HPCC initiated the development of a hospice and palliative certification exam for the hospice and palliative care administrator. The first exam for administrators was given in September 2008 and the credential awarded is CHPCA® (Certified Hospice and Palliative Care Administrator).  Beginning in 2018, the CHPCA® certification will not be available by examination, but only maintained through recertification.

HPCC initiated the development of a hospice and palliative pediatric registered nurse certification examination. The first exam for pediatric RNs was given in March 2011 and the credential awarded is CHPPN® (Certified Hospice and Palliative Pediatric Nurse).

Beginning in June 2013 HPCC initiated its first interdisciplinary certification examination for perinatal loss care professionals. These professionals work within a healthcare environment to help to facilitate care of patients experiencing a pregnancy loss or infant death. Eligible candidates include registered nurses, physicians, psychologists, counselors, child life specialists, social workers and chaplains. Individuals passing this exam are granted the CPLC® credential (Certified in Perinatal Loss Care). 

In 2014, HPCC partnered with a software developer named Learning Builder to provide an electronic means for recertification for the ACHPN® and CHPN® exams.  The process is known as Hospice and Palliative Accrual for Recertification (HPAR), where those recertifying accumulate required points through various professional develpment activities, as well as fulfulling certain practice hour requirements. In 2017, the number of points required for all recertifications were changed to 100 points.  

HPCC offers hospice and palliative certification to members of the nursing team (APRN, RN, pediatric RN, NA) as well as to perinatal loss care professionals. Each certification is valid for a four year period at which time the certificant may renew their credential.

Thank you to everyone for your support and dedication to the certification process!