About the NSPM Subspecialty Certification

In response to challenges continually faced by many nurse anesthetists who practice nonsurgical pain management (NSPM), the NBCRNA  moved up the timeline for launching the NSPM subspecialty certification program by 10 months. The first NSPM Examination took place January 28, 2015 through February 7, 2015. Since then, multiple individuals have taken the exam and have been certified.

The NBCRNA recognizes the importance of this program to the profession of nurse anesthesia, to patients and patient safety, and to those who practice in the subspecialty of nonsurgical pain management. As such, the NBCRNA has willingly invested significant financial and human resources into the development of this program that it cannot hope to fully recoup over the life of this program. Nonetheless, the NBCRNA has worked to keep the cost to the certificants reasonable, to allow continued support for this subspecialty certification that recognizes the value of this subspecialty to patients, our constituents, and the profession.  


The Need for the NSPM Subspecialty Certification

In 2012, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) abruptly stopped reimbursement for CRNAs who submitted requests for payment using CPT codes related to nonsurgical pain management.  The AANA, COA, and NBCRNA successfully appealed this decision and the CMS reinstated reimbursement to CRNAs who provide nonsurgical pain management services. The NBCRNA made a commitment to developing a certification process associated with pain management.  

The NBCRNA involved expert CRNAs who specialized in nonsurgical pain management (NSPM), as well as current and past members of the NBCRNA Board of Directors, and staff, in deliberative and comprehensive processes toward developing a NSPM subspecialty certification for CRNAs. The NSPM certification is in effect.


NBCRNA Certification in Nonsurgical Pain Management (NSPM-C)

The NBCRNA’s subspecialty certification in NSPM will be available for CRNAs whose professional practice integrates the many components of NSPM care. CRNAs that include NSPM as part or all of their practice have independent responsibility for direct patient care and may function as a member of an interprofessional team. They may administer various types of injections; integrate physiological, pharmacological, and psychological techniques; and other modalities for the management of acute and chronic pain outside the obstetrical and operating room areas. The services they provide typically include the assessment, planning, implementation, and evaluation of multimodal approaches in patient care.
The NSPM subspecialty certification is a voluntary program for nurse anesthetists who have demonstrated distinctive knowledge and a specific skillset in the subspecialty practice of NSPM. Individuals in NSPM practice who are credentialed by the NBCRNA must also meet their respective state requirements. The NSPM subspecialty certification will define criteria related to licensure, clinical experience, practice, education related to a NSPM content outline, a practice portfolio, and a skills assessment. In addition to these criteria, candidates for this credential must pass a standardized assessment of this subspecialty knowledge.