What is the ISPN?

What is the ISPN?

The ISPN curriculum is designed for globally trained nurses wanting to validate their nursing education against global standards. It is intended for first-level nurses or nurses who earned local certification and wish to work as professional nurses abroad. Nurses who apply must live in the country to which the program is being offered (presently China, Indonesia, and South Korea).

The ISPN tests the nursing skills of licensed first-level nurses (RNs) against global standards. The ISPN Program comprises of two components: 1) an initial verification of first-level, general nurse status; and 2) passing the CGFNS Qualifying Exam.

What does ISPN stand for?
ISPN stands for International Standards for Professional Nurses, which measures the nursing knowledge of first-level registered nurses against international standards.

What is CGFNS Qualifying Exam?
In some states, the CGFNS Qualifying Exam is a requirement for licensing. It also meets one of the immigration requirements for securing a work visa in the United States. 

The CGFNS Qualifying Exam is an objective-format, internet-based examination. Questions use a multiple-choice or a multiple-choice method developed by nursing industry experts. The exam takes 3 hours (approximately one minute per question). The test seeks to test the basic knowledge and principles of nursing.

The CGFNS Qualifying Test is given four times a year in a five-day examination period. Examination windows contain specific dates, locations, and times for candidates to take the exam. Typically, the dates of the tests are during March, July, September, and November.

The exam includes common clinical fields of nursing practice:

  • Adult health nursing
  • Nursing of children
  • Psychiatric/mental health nursing
  • Maternal/infant nursing

The CGFNS Qualifying Examination tests:

  • Safe and effective nursing care, with an emphasis on nursing services
  • Improvement and maintenance of health, focusing on lifelong growth and development and early detection, prevention, and treatment
  • Health services pertaining to the need for psychosocial integrity
  • Physiological reliability focusing on the proper functioning of the structure of the body

How do I apply for CGFNS?
To register for the CGFNS exam, one must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • be a nurse, licensed to practice within the People’s Republic of China
  • reside in and be a citizen of the People’s Republic of China
  • have graduated from a government-approved nursing school
  • have your status as a first-level, general nurse verified

Aside from the eligibility criteria mentioned above, candidates must also meet the following CGFNS requirements:

  • One copy of nursing school diploma
  • One copy of government-issued nurse registration document
  • One copy of the China Health Information Form
    • Login to CGFNS Connect to download and print this required form. Provide your Ministry of Health password for license verification and the Ministry of Education password for transcript verification.
  • One copy of personal identification card
  • A passport-style photo
    • Must be in JPG file type, less than 5 MB, square, and in full color. Read more information about submitting a passport photo at www.cgfns.org/services/certification/ispn-program/.
    • If you choose to mail your documents, you may send it to:
      • China Health
        Room No.123, 1st Floor, Block A, Minghu Mansion, Yard No.24, Huangsi Street, Xicheng District,
      • Beijing, 100120
      • People’s Republic of China

Once you have successfully completed your CGFNS registration and credential review, an email will be sent to you, which will serve as your Test Authorization (ATT). You will be given two test windows and pick only one test period with a particular date, time, and location for the Qualifying Exam. If you choose more than one testing window, your application will be canceled, and you’ll be informed that you are required to choose a single test window.

You can access your CGFNS results via the CGFNS Connect system approximately two weeks after you take the examination. Your results will include a diagnostic profile with an assessment and an explanation of four topic areas, identified as Client Need categories:

  • Safe, effective care environment
  • Health promotion and maintenance
  • Psychosocial integrity and
  • Physiological integrity

CGFNS International will carry out a final review, following the successful passing of the CGFNS Qualifying Exam. Your CGFNS ISPN Program Certificate will be issued once the final review has been completed. Should you not pass the exam, you should wait for China Health to inform you about the next steps.

Note: The information provided above is based on China’s CGFNS State Requirement. The documents submitted for the examination are the property of CGFNS International Inc. and will not be returned even if you failed the examination

CGFNS Examination Upcoming Dates

Exam Date Cut-off Date
March 9-13, 2020 January 31, 2020
July 13-17, 2020 May 31, 2020
September 14-18, 2020 July 31, 2020
November 9-13, 2020 September 30, 2020

If you decide to change the date of your examination, you have to do so at least 72 hours before your initial scheduled exam. You might not be able to change to date outside of the two test periods that you have been provided. If you do not make an appearance on your scheduled test, you will never be able to get a refund, and your fee could not be used for a future exam.

CGFNS Exam Fee

CGFNS application fee costs $350 USD and includes:

  • License and transcript documents verification
  • CGFNS Qualifying Exam
  • ISPN certificate for exam passers

You can pay online using a credit card (Visa, MasterCard, or Discover) or contact China Health for assistance.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do I need to bring on the day of the exam?
On the day of your scheduled exam you have to bring the following:

  • Your Authorization To Test (ATT) letter
  • Two valid forms of ID

Where can I apply for an ISPN examination in China?
The first ISPN program was administered in China. The next exams will take place on March 14, 2020, and November 14, 2020. Exams are projected to take place in the following locations:

  • Beijing
  • Shanghai
  • Guangzhou
  • Wuhan
  • Zhengzhou
  • Chengdu
  • Weifang
  • Changchun

How do I get a CGFNS Certificate?
Once you have successfully completed the CGFNS credential evaluation and taken both the CGFNS Qualifying Exam and the English Language Proficiency Exam within two years, you can earn your CGFNS certificate.

How to schedule your exam for CGFNS?
Go to the cgfns.org and log in using the CGFNS applicant login. Enter your CGFNS ID number and password and follow these steps:

  1. Choose your state and/or city to determine whether there are any test centers nearby.
  2. Once you have located a test center, a calendar listing the available test dates will be shown at the center.
  3. Navigate to the month of the test you’re interested in. The available exam dates are highlighted in bold. If no exam dates are specified, it could be that the test center does not have a vacancy or is closed during the timeframe of the chosen test window.
  4. Choose the date and time of the year to which you plan to sit for the CGFNS Qualifying Exam and validate your choices.

What are the services offered by CGFNS?
CGFNS offers a wide range of services to foreign-trained nurses who want to work to another country. Services include:

  • Certification Program (CP)
  • Credentials Evaluation Service (CES) Professional Report
  • Credentials Evaluation Service (CES) Academic Report
  • VisaScreen: Visa Credentials Assessment (VS)
  • Credential Verification Service for New York State (CVS)

How long do I need to take all the necessary testing after I submit my order for my Certification Program?
You have one year to complete all the necessary tests once you submit your application for the Certification Program. Your application will expire after 12 months if all program specifications have not been completed.

I’m a registered nurse residing in the Philippines. Am I able to take part in the International Standards for Professional Nurses (ISPN) Program?
No, at this time, you are not able to take part. In order to be eligible for the ISPN, an internationally educated nurse must live in one of the countries where the program is being offered: China, Indonesia, and South Korea.

CGFNS Prep Guide

While there appear to be a number of candidates who thrive on last-minute cramming, this isn’t the best way to get to the test. Set a schedule for your studies to help you sort out your time management. Write down how many days you have to sit for the exam. Then organize your study appropriately.

CGFNS has established a study guide to help you recognize your weaknesses and strengths in your nursing skills. It is not a replacement for basic education or for an in-depth review of nursing books. Using it does not ensure a passing outcome on the CGFNS Qualifying Exam. The CGFNS practice test questions used were once actual examination questions but will not appear on the examination you are taking.

By preparing and using study guides and practice tests, you help yourself familiarize with the test you are about to take. It is important to know that every question and person is different. No particular tactic works on every question, and no single strategy will work for every individual. Below are surefire strategies you can apply for every exam you will take.

Strategy #1
If you get stuck in a difficult question, don’t waste time and move on. Before you totally give up, at least try eliminating obviously incorrect answer choices and then guess from the remaining choices before moving to the next question.

Strategy #2
Don’t miss any questions through careless mistakes. If possible, try taking a second look at your answers and make sure you have chosen the correct answer. A quick double-check will prevent you from falling into the pit of costly mistakes, such as marking a choice of answer that you are not supposed to make.

Strategy #3
It is easy to be overwhelmed when you’re looking at a page full of questions. Your mind may get confused and get distracted with random thoughts. Calm down and keep the speed you set for yourself. Particularly when you get to the last minutes of the exam, never let small numbers on the clock cause you to panic. As long as you keep track of your pace, you will certainly have time for each question.

Strategy #4
It’s very easy to make mistakes when you’re in a rush. Keeping a fast tempo in answering your question is useless if it makes you miss questions that you could have answered correctly otherwise. Taking a little more time to avoid silly mistakes will make a difference in your score. Set a pace that will allow you to be confident in the answers you choose.

Strategy #5
Panicking isn’t going to help you pass a test, so do your best to remain calm and keep going. Taking deep breaths and working through the answer reduction step you’ve practiced will help you get through the stress barrier and maintain your speed.

ISPN & CGFNS Sample Questions

Question #1
The patient with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome and pneumocystis jiroveci infection has a temperature of 101 degrees. The patient is receiving pentamidine (pentam 300). The fever is an indication of which of the following?

  • The result of another infection caused by leukopenic effects of the medication
  • The patient is experiencing toxic effects of the medication
  • The dose of the medication is too low
  • The patient has developed inadequacy of thermoregulation

Question #2
An 8-year old boy has been acting up in class and has been prescribed Dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine). The nurse will instruct the parents to:

  • Make sure the child drinks 6-8 glasses of water a day
  • Administer the last dose at least 6 hours before bedtime
  • Make sure medication is taken after a full meal
  • Make sure that dosages are administered consistently unless otherwise prescribed

Question #3
A client has voluntarily admitted herself to the mental health unit of the hospital. The nurse expects that the client:

  • The client will not accept treatment
  • The client will be angry and confrontational
  • The client’s family will not be cooperative
  • The client will help with the planning of care and treatment

Question #4
Metoclopramide is used in the treatment for which of the following conditions?

  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Tuberculosis
  • Vomiting after chemotherapy
  • Ulcer disease

Question #5
The client has been hit with a wayward pitch during a softball game sustained a contusion to the eyeball. What is the nurse’s immediate response?Perform visual acuity tests

  • Apply an eye patch
  • Notify the physician
  • Apply ice to the affected area