Update on the Certified Bariatric Nurse (CBN®) Certification Program: Revision of the Bariatric Nurse Practice Analysis

| August 1, 2016 | 0 Comments

This column is dedicated to covering a variety of topics relevant to the multidisciplinary care of the bariatric surgical patient.

Column Editor: Christine Bauer, MSN, RN, CBN
University of Maryland Harford Memorial Hospital, Havre de Grace, Maryland; President, American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Integrated Health

This month: Update on the Certified Bariatric Nurse (CBN®) Certification Program: Revision of the Bariatric Nurse Practice Analysis

by William Gourash, RN, CRNP, MSN

Bariatric Times. 2016;13(8):14–15.

FUNDING: No funding was provided for this article.

DISCLOSURES: The author reports no conflicts of interest relevant to the content of this article.

A Message from the Column Editor

Dear Colleague,

It’s hard to believe it’s been months since I perhaps had the pleasure of seeing you at Obesity Week 2015! Thus far, 2016 is poised to demonstrate another productive year of accomplishments that will benefit you, thanks to the volunteerism and professional expertise of many individuals. In an effort to keep you connected with ASMBS Integrated Health (IH), I’d like to dedicate installments of this column to giving you a more “up close and personal” look at these groups of bariatric care professionals and the projects they have undertaken and accomplished. Integrated Health leadership is comprised of an Executive Council and seven working committees: Clinical Issues and Guidelines, Communications, Program and Professional Education, Membership, Multidisciplinary Care, Support Group, and Certified Bariatric Nurse (CBN) Certification.

Certified Bariatric Nurse (CBN) Certification. This month, William Gourash, RN, CRNP, MSN, provides background on the Certified Bariatric Nurse (CBN) Certification committee and an updates on their initiatives. We ask that all bariatric nurses take some time to complete a survey that was developed for revision of the Bariatric Nurse Practice Analysis. Spread the word to your colleagues too—we need your input. We have some wonderful topics planned for upcoming installments of “Hot Topics in Integrated Health.” If you have a suggestion and/or would like to submit a submission to the column, please e-mail me at [email protected]. I would love to hear from you!


Christine Bauer, MSN, RN, CBN

ASMBS Integrated Health President

The CBN Certification was the dream of bariatric nurses in the 1990s. In 2002, Kathy Fox, RN, then Chair of the Allied Health Section of the American Society for Bariatric Surgery (ASBS), presented a proposal in the organization for a certification for bariatric nurses. It was thought that more investigation was needed and the RN Certification Committee, later to become the CBN Certification Committee, was born. After five years of background work exploring feasibility and process required to develop a legally defensibilble program, a rigorous practice analysis (defining the role of the bariatric nurse) and expert guidance by a consultant to develop a psychometrically sound examination, the CBN Certification Program began. On June 7, 2007, the very first CBN examination was administered to more than 300 bariatric nurses. To date, more than 2,000 nurses have taken the CBN examination and more than 1,700 have been certified as CBN’s.

The CBN Certification Programs is administrated by the CBN Certification Committee of the ASMBS, which currently has 26 members and is divided into nine subcommittees. Each subcommittee is assigned a specific aspect of certification among the following: Practice Analysis, Examination Development, Policy and Procedures, Examination Preparation, Accreditation, Recertification, Marketing, Financial, Other Discipline Certification.

The amount of work volunteered by committee members to maintain the Certification Program is significant. New examinations are constructed yearly; the polices and procedures are reviewed and updated yearly; test items are reviewed and updated regularly; newsletters are composed biannually; recertification applications are reviewed quarterly; examination preparation courses are updated and provided online and in-person; finances are reviewed and budgets developed among other tasks addressed throughout the year.

Revision of the Bariatric Nurse Practice Analysis

The Special initiatives on which the CBN Certification Committee will focus on over the next year are as follows: an update to our recertification process and internet platform, an increase in our efforts toward attaining accreditation, and updating the CBN Practice Analysis. In this month’s Hot Topics in Integrated Health column,we provide a thorough update on the revision of the CBN Practice Analysis.

The Practice Analysis serves as the foundation for the CBN examination and essentially comprises the “job description” of a bariatric nurse developed by bariatric nurses. The original practice analysis, developed 2005 to 2007 was published in the Journal Surgery For Obesity And Related Diseases.[1] As part of maintaining a valid examination, the analysis must undergo comprehensive review and update on a periodic basis. We are working with Applied Measurement Professionals (AMP, a PSI business, Olathe, Kansas), an organization that specializes in certification program development, administration, and testing processes.

Early in 2016, a Practice Analysis Task Force Advisory group was established by the Practice Analysis Subcommittee. The Task Force comprises expert bariatric nurses with diversification in geographic location, bariatric surgical experience, and practice areas across the continuum of bariatric nursing care. The goal was to capture how the practice of bariatric nursing has changed over the last 10 years. They searched and reviewed the current body of knowledge of bariatric nursing care, which included the collection and review of background information and materials related to bariatric surgery, including the prior job analysis, standards of practice, educational curricula, job descriptions, documents, pamphlets, reference books, medical and nursing literature. The results, showing significant changes to the role and practice of bariatric nursing over the last 10 years, have been synthesized and incorporated into a revised practice analysis draft.

Bariatric Nurse Practice Analysis Survey—We Need TemplateYour Input. Next, a web-based survey was developed at a joint meeting of the bariatric nurse content experts (the task force) and AMP consultants. The focus of the survey is to obtain feedback and validation of practice analysis with updated changes from bariatric nurses who are practicing in the field. The survey was pilot tested and the necessary modifications made. An invitation to complete the survey with the survey link was distributed to a target audience of about 2,000 practicing bariatric nurses, CBNs, and Non-CBNs for whom we were able to collect contact information.

We are still in the process of conducting the survey and would like to invite all bariatric nurses to participate. If you have not received a link to the survey or have misplaced your link and have not completed the survey as of yet, please visit https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CBA_PA16. As a bariatric nurse, your input is essential in ensuring we represent all aspects of bariatric nursing care.

The end date for completion of the survey is Sunday, September 18, 2016 at 12 midnight EST. After the survey completion end date, AMP will compile the data and summarize the results to be reviewed by the Practice Analysis Task Force Advisory Group. An updated practice analysis document will be generated that appropriately incorporates the validated survey results. This document will then become the foundation for the examination, recertification, examination preparation and all aspects of the CBN Certification.

Editor’s Note: If you have any questions, or comments, please feel free to send an e-mail to [email protected].


1. Berger NK, Carr JJ, Erickson JE, Gourash WF, Muenzen P, Smolenak L, et al. Path to bariatric nurse certification: the practice analysis. Surg Obes Relat Dis. 2010;6:399–407.


Category: Hot Topics in Integrated Health, Past Articles

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