Maternal Newborn Nursing Certification

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Maternal Newborn Nursing


The Maternal Newborn Nursing certification examination is developed and administered by the National Certification Center (NCC), an independent, nonprofit credentialing organization that was formed in 1975 to provide certification services for a variety of health care professionals. As of 2013, the NCC had credentialed over 9,000 maternal newborn nursing specialists.[1] Exam content is reviewed every 3-5 years and updated as needed to reflect changes in professional maternal and neonatal nursing care responsibilities and practices. This assures that candidates’ competencies are assessed against the most relevant, current standards of practice. The last content validation study (task analysis) was performed in 2014.[2]

Function of the Test

Maternal Newborn Nursing Study Guide

The Maternal Newborn Nursing exam is a specialty certification exam open to currently licensed registered nurses (RNs) in the US and Canada with a minimum of 2 years and 2,000 hours of employment in maternal newborn nursing. At least some of the experience requirement must be satisfied by employment in the specialty within 2 years (24 months) of the date of application.[3] Those who take and pass the Maternal Newborn Nursing certification exam receive the designation RNC-MNN (Registered Nurse Certified in Maternal Newborn Nursing). This credential provides patients and their families, colleagues, and current and potential employers with assurance that the maternal-newborn nurse specialist has achieved a level of competence in their field and is capable of delivering expert care to parents before, during and after delivery.[4] Approximately 1,000 candidates take the exam each year. The pass rate is about 78%.[5] According to a recent survey, about 90% of certified maternal newborn nurses work full time in a hospital setting, the majority as staff nurses with key, higher-level responsibilities. Seventy-two percent of RNC-MNN certified nurses had a bachelor’s degree in nursing or higher. The survey found that employers either required (8%) or highly encouraged (75%) nurses in these critical roles to obtain specialty certification, and some provided financial incentives to do so. [6]

Test Administration

Maternal Newborn Nursing Flashcards

The computer-based examination is offered at over 175 Applied Measurement Professionals (AMP) testing centers across the US.[7] The NCC accepts applications on a rolling basis, and issues eligibility letters twice monthly. The cost to take the exam is $325. Once accepted, candidates are responsible for scheduling their exams directly with AMP within the 90-day window specified in their eligibility letter. Exam slots are available Monday-Saturday.[8] There is no limit to the total number of times a candidate may sit for the exam; however, candidates who do not pass on a given attempt must wait 90 days before reapplying for the exam, and may only make two attempts in a single calendar year. A complete application along with the full application fee must be submitted for each attempt, and the candidate must meet all eligibility criteria in place at the time of each individual application.[9] The NCC is committed to making its certification examinations accessible to persons with disabilities. Candidates with disabilities as defined under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) can request special accommodations by completing a “Request for Special Examination Accommodations” form (which includes attestation by a medical professional) and submitting it along with their exam application and fees.[10]

Test Format

Sections of the MNN Test
MNN Test Subject Areas  %
Maternal/Neonatal Outcomes 5-10%
Postpartum Asst & Mgmt 40-45%
Newborn Asst & Mgmt 40-45%
Professional Practice 1-5%
Total 100%

Test Structure

The Maternal Newborn Nursing exam contains 175 multiple choice questions, 25 of which are unscored, pretest questions. All 175 questions have to do with four main topics: Factors Affecting Maternal/Neonatal Outcomes; Maternal Assessment and Management in the Postpartum Period; Newborn Assessment and Management; and Aspects of Professional Practice. The exam allows three hours to complete all 175 questions.[11]

Test Environment

The Maternal Newborn Nursing exam takes place at AMP Assessment Centers. Candidates are expected to arrive at least 15 minutes before the test is scheduled to begin. Anyone who arrives late may not be allowed into the exam. For admission into the test, two forms of identification are required, one of which must contain a photograph. The test takes place on a computer. No papers, electronics, bags, or other personal items are allowed in the testing center. A locker will be provided to store all personal items.[12]

Sample Questions

More free Maternal Newborn practice test questions.


Candidates have the option of skipping over questions they are unsure of during the course of the exam, and returning to answer those questions before ending their exam session. Because all unanswered questions are counted as incorrect answers, the NCC advises candidates to attempt to answer all questions on the exam if time permits – there is no guessing penalty. Individual exams are scored against an established standard scaled score, which takes into account variations in difficulty among questions on different versions of the exam. Pass/fail scores are issued based on a comparison to the scaled standard rather than a certain percentage of correct answers. Results reports show pass/fail status and general level of performance ranging from very weak to very strong.[13] Exam results do not include information on the percentage of questions answered correctly, or comparison of individual to scaled scores. This is because each item is separately scaled according to difficulty, and a correct answer on a more difficult question achieves a higher scaled score than a correct answer on a question that requires less expertise to answer correctly. The mix of questions is unique for each instance of the exam form, and so comparisons among different forms or candidates’ overall scores are not relevant.[14]


  1. ^ About NCC February 13, 2015
  2. ^ General Information About Certification February 9, 2015
  3. ^ Registration Catalog: Certification Examination CORE RNC February 11, 2015
  4. ^ General Information About Certification February 9, 2015
  5. ^ Certification Exams: Statistics: Exam Results 2011 to 2013 February 13, 2015
  6. ^ 2014 NCC Content Validation Task Analysis Study: Maternal Newborn Nursing Examination February 9, 2015
  7. ^ AMP Test Sites February 11, 2015
  8. ^ Certification Exams: Maternal Newborn Nursing February 11, 2015
  9. ^ Registration Catalog: Certification Examination CORE RNC February 11, 2015
  10. ^ Request for Special Examination Accommodations February 9, 2015
  11. ^ Candidate Guide 25 March 2015
  12. ^ Exam Details 25 March 2015
  13. ^ NCC 2015 Candidate Guide: Maternal Newborn Nursing February 11, 2015
  14. ^ NCC 2015 Candidate Guide: Maternal Newborn Nursing February 11, 2015

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