6 Tips to Prepare for the CAIP Exam

Publish Date: August 8, 2018


CAIP, launched in January by the Board of Ambulatory Surgery Certification (BASC) following several years of development, is the first certification designed for infection preventionists working in ASCs. It represents only the second certification program for the ASC industry. The other — Certified Administrator Surgery Center (CASC) — was first awarded in 2002.

The inaugural CAIP exam, an online test, will be held October 1–31, with interested individuals required to register to take the exam between August 1–31.

If you're considering taking the CAIP exam, follow these six tips from Ann Geier, MS, RN, CNOR, CASC, chief nursing officer for Surgical Information Systems.

  1. Determine eligibility. Not just anyone can take the CAIP exam. There are specific requirements ASC professionals must meet to be eligible. These are broken down into three categories: licensure, experience and infection prevention education.

    "Download the CAIP Candidate Handbook and make sure you qualify," Geier says. "Assuming you meet those requirements, then you can proceed with submitting the CAIP application and begin preparing for the test."


  2. Review study materials. BASC has produced a document that outlines exam specifications and worthwhile accompanying study materials. The document is broken out into five sections that mirror the categories covered during the CAIP exam:
    • Infection prevention program development, implementation and maintenance
    • Infection prevention and control education and training
    • Surveillance, data collection and analysis
    • Infection prevention strategies
    • Instrument/equipment cleaning, disinfection and sterilization

    "Download this study guide and review it," Geier says. "It's not a short resource and can appear overwhelming. However, as you examine the document more closely, you may find there is overlap in several areas.”

    She continues, "I recommend comparing your job description to this guide. If any of the topics in it are not covered by your description, you know some of the areas you will need to focus on more closely during your exam preparation and studies."

  3. Obtain leadership support. Working toward and earning the CAIP credential is not just a process that benefits the individual pursuing the certification, Geier says. The experience will also benefit the ASC and its patients, which is why she says those planning to take the exam should be allotted time during the work week to prepare.

    "Go to your management and tell them you are studying for this exam," Geier says. "Ask for a few hours a week built into your time at the ASC to quietly prepare for the test. Trying to squeeze in preparation and studying during off-hours is not only impractical but may not be doable for some people. It's also unfair to ask this of the individual since the certification will help the surgery center. If you're going to do this, management should help you do it right."


  4. Review sample exam questions. Available on the CAIP website is a set of 15 sample exam questions and their answers. Set aside time to answer these questions and review the answers, noting those areas where you could use improvement, Geier says. "BASC has provided these questions and answers so you can get a sense of different ways questions will be presented and don't need to go into the exam blindly."

  5. Prepare for the format. As noted earlier, the exam will be an online test, which will be administered at a testing center. Some individuals thinking about taking the exam may find the idea of a computerized test off-putting.

    "Not all people are comfortable with taking tests on a computer, but the reality is that this is the direction most exams are heading, including nursing boards," Geier says. "If you're in the category of people who find online tests a new concept, it's a phobia that's hard to overcome. But do your best to put this out of your mind. If you know the information covered by the exam, the format won't matter as much. Focus on what you can control."


  6. Do your best. While you will want to work to put yourself in the strongest position to pass the exam, try not to be concerned about the possibility that you might not, Geier says. "What's the worst thing that can happen? You don't pass. Then what? You don't give up. You plan to take it over, and now you will have an even better idea of what to expect and where you need to get stronger. The journey you take on the way to earning the certification may be more important than actually receiving the credential."

Learn more about CAIP and access the application.

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