CGRN Certification

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The Certified Gastroenterology Registered Nurse (CGRN) certification examination was first administered in 1986 by the Certifying Council for Gastroenterology Nurses (CGCN), an offshoot of the Society of Gastrointestinal Assistants (SGA). In 1985, the CCGN conducted a role delineation study to determine the competencies and skills most important to the practice of gastroenterological nursing, and the first certifying examination followed shortly after. In the following years, the administering organization changed its name to the Certification Board for Gastroenterology Nurses (CBGN) and finally to its current name, the American Board of Certification for Gastroenterology Nurses (ABCGN).[1]

In 2007, the CGRN certification program received accreditation from the Accreditation Board for Speciality Nursing Certification (ABSNC).[2] In 2012, the ABCGN implemented a new form of the CGRN examination based on the results of an updated role delineation study.[3]

Function of the Test

CGRN Study Guide

The CGRN examination is a certification examination taken by registered nurses with a few years of experience in gastroenterological nursing. Because candidates must already be registered nurses prior to taking the examination, it does not confer any additional licensure privileges; however, the certification program is beneficial because it provides candidates with additional professional development and improves candidates' future career prospects.[4]

The ABCGN reports that over 4,000 nurses are currently CGRN certified.[1] In 2011, the ABCGN reported that the CGRN had a passing rate of 86%.[5]

Test Administration

CGRN Flashcards

The CGRN examination is open to licensed Registered Nurses (RNs) who are currently or recently engaged in the fields of gastroenterology and/or endoscopy. Candidates must have been employed in GI/endoscopy in clinical, supervisory, administrative, teaching/education or research capacities for two years full-time or 4000 hours part-time within the past five years. The candidate must have been an RN for the full duration of that period of practice.[6]

The fee to take the CGRN examination is $400 for members of the SGNA and $485 for non-members.[6] There are two examination periods per year: a May Exam with registration in January and February and an October Exam with registration in June and July. After the registration period for the examination closes, all candidates will receive an email with exam scheduling instructions. Candidates have a 30-day window in which to take the examination.[6]

The CGRN exam is only administered by computer, and only at Prometric testing sites.[6] Candidates' identification is verified at the testing center through one government-issued photo ID and one signature-bearing ID.[6] The examination consists of 175 multiple choice questions, of which 150 are graded. The remaining 25 test items, which are scattered randomly throughout the examination, are new questions being assessed for inclusion on future versions of the CGRN examination.[6]

Candidates receive their score reports approximately one month after the exam date. The score report includes the total score as well as knowledge domain sub-scores.[6] Unsuccessful candidates may apply to take the exam again in the next testing cycle, but must complete the entire registration process again, including the full examination fee.[6]

Candidates who require special accommodations must submit documentation of the need for accommodation and a letter from a physician or medical specialist knowledgeable of the candidate's ability along with the application to take the CGRN examination.[6]


Sections of the CGRN Test
CGRN Test Subject Areas Percentage
General Nursing Care 31.7%
Gastroenterological Procedures 33.32%
Patient Care Interventions 34.92%
Total 100%

Test Environment

Candidates for the CGRN Exam will be taking the test at Prometric Testing Centers. For admission, test-takers are required to show up at least half an hour early, ready to present a government-issued, photo identification. Personal belongings, such as bags, electronics, snacks, drinks, study material, and watches are not allowed in Prometric Center testing areas. Test-takers will, however, be allowed lockers to store their things while the exam takes place. Results are calculated upon completion, but details will be mailed to each candidate within two weeks.[6]

Test Structure

The Certified Gastroenterology Registered Nurse Exam is made up of 175 multiple choice questions, including 25 unscored pretest questions. All 175 questions deal with three main content areas: General Nursing Care, Gastroenterological Procedures, and Patient Care Interventions. Test takers are allotted three hours to complete all 175 questions. The CGRN is only offered in the form of a computer-based test.[7]

Sample Questions


The CGRN examination has 150 graded test items. The candidate's raw score is transformed into a statistically scaled score between 200 and 800 points with a standard deviation of 100 points and a passing score of 450. Because the raw score is converted directly into the scaled score, there is no penalty for guessing on the ABCGN; incorrect answers and omitted answers both count as 0 points.[2]

The CGRN examination is a scaled, criterion-referenced examination, which means that every individual test item has its difficulty assessed. Typically, in criterion-referenced examinations, a panel of experts determines which percentage of competent candidates would answer a question correctly. These individual ratings are used to set a passing standard for the examination which only qualified, competent candidates may achieve. Every form of the examination has a slightly different passing score depending on how easy or difficult each individual question is.[2]

The ABCGN reports that each candidate's test performance is only rated based on his or her own competence with regard to the passing standard, not based on how he or she compares to other candidates.[2]

Recent/Future Developments

By the end of 2014, the ABCGN plans to complete a review of its current recertification program to ensure that recertifying nurses' competencies are being assessed. The findings of this review may affect the recertification process.[3]


  1. ^ a b ABCGN History May 20 2014
  2. ^ a b c d Frequently Asked Questions May 20 2014
  3. ^ a b ABCGN Strategic Plan: 2012-2014 May 20 2014
  4. ^ ABCGN Certification Brochure May 20 2014
  5. ^ The CERT Report May 20 2014
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j ABCGN Certification Handbook May 20 2014
  7. ^ CGRN Requirements 14 July 2014