The Inpatient Obstetric Nursing examination is a national certification for registered nurses of inpatient obstetrics. The National Certification Corporation (NCC) accredits the National Commission for Certifying Agencies and provides the credentialing examination. Successfully passing the exam entitles you to use the credential RNC-OB (Registered Nurse Certified – Inpatient Obstetric Nursing).
You must meet the following requirements to sit for the examination:
- Unrestricted, current Registered Nurse license in the U.S. or Canada
- 24 months specialty experience, with a minimum of 2,000 hours in the U.S. or Canada
- Employed in the specialty within the last 24 months
Registration and cost
You can only apply for the examination online; applications will not be accepted from any other method. The information required for your application includes:
- Personal information – address, phone, and email
- Confirmation of eligibility
- License information
- Licensing state or province
- License number
- License expiration date
- Employment confirmation
- Current employer
- Employment history covering the past five years
- Application agreement
- Credit Card
- Debit Card
The exam fee is $325.00 which includes a non-refundable $50.00 application fee. Incomplete and ineligible applications, returned checks and credit card chargebacks will incur additional charges. When your application is submitted, you will receive an email confirmation.
Once the application is approved, an examination eligibility letter will be sent via email with instructions on how to schedule your testing appointment. You will have 30 days to schedule your exam after you receive your eligibility letter.
The Inpatient Obstetric Nursing exam consists of 175 computer-delivered multiple-choice questions covering five content areas:
- Complications of Pregnancy – 29% of the exam
- Maternal complications affecting the fetus and newborn
- Maternal psychological and environmental factors
- Preterm labor
- Multiple gestation
- Placental disorder
- Fetal Assessment – 18% of the exam
- Antenatal testing
- Electronic fetal monitoring
- Non-electronic fetal monitoring
- Acid-base interpretation
- Labor and Birth – 35% of the exam
- Physiology of labor
- Assessment and management of labor
- Obstetric and perioperative procedures
- Pain management and coping
- Labor and obstetric complications
- Induction and augmentation
- Recovery, Postpartum and Newborn Care – 15% of the exam
- Recovery and postpartum physiology and complications
- Family dynamics and discharge readiness
- Lactation and infant nutrition
- Newborn physiology and complications
- Professional Issues – 3% of the exam
- Legal issues
- Safety and quality improvement
The exam evaluates your knowledge of caring for women who are 20 weeks into pregnancy through discharge. You will have three hours to complete the certification.
Delivery method and location
You are responsible for scheduling your exam during the 90-day testing window indicated on your eligibility letter. The exam is delivered via computer at an AMP Assessment Center. Testing centers are located nationwide, and exams are scheduled Monday through Saturday at either 9:00 am or 1:30 pm. Do not wait too long to schedule your appointment; testing dates fill up quickly.
You will need to supply two forms of identification, both with photograph and signature, at the time you report for testing. Leave personal belongings in your vehicle or the soft locker provided. Please keep in mind that the locker areas are not secure and the testing facility assumes no responsibility for your belongings. If you leave your cell phone in the soft locker, make sure you either silence the ringer or turn it off. Should your phone ring during the examination, you will be disqualified.
After you complete the sign-in process, you will be directed to your testing station. You will be allowed a period of familiarization before the exam begins. Use this time to ensure you understand the computer delivery method.
The testing proctor will provide the tools that you may use (if any) during your exam. Anything that is given to you for the exam must be returned at the conclusion. When you are finished, return to the test facilitator to receive your preliminary score report and leave the center.
NCC uses item response theory to determine an applicant’s ability level, and the passing score is based on predetermined criterion. While there is no set percentage to pass the exam, pass or fail is determined on your ability level which is calculated on the number of questions answered correctly. There is no penalty for incorrect answers.
Your test report will state pass or fail status and will include feedback on the content areas on a five-point scale – very weak, weak, average, strong, and very strong.
Official results are mailed within 21 days of the exam. Your date of certification is based on the official results date, not the exam date. Once you receive your official results, you may use the RNC-OB designator.
If you need to retake the exam to receive a passing score, you will have to wait 90 days. After 90 days have passed, you can reapply for the examination. There is no limit to how many times you can take the test, but you must apply and go through the eligibility and approval process each time.
Your certification is valid for three years.
How Can I Prepare for the Inpatient Obstetric Nurse Test?
That’s a great question. We’ve broken down the answer into three parts.
- Do yourself a favor and study. Do not walk in unprepared. We have recommended prep materials below, but that only helps if you actually try. Plus, studying is actually proven to be the best antidote to test anxiety.
- Take care of yourself. Make sure you’re eating well, exercising, and sleeping. All of these things are scientifically linked to brain performance. If you take care of your body, you’ll be helping your grades.
- Get a study guide or set of flashcards. Some people study better a certain way. Find your study strengths and make the most of them. We’ve tried to make it easy for you by tracking down the best study guide and flashcard set for your exam. Below you’ll see links to both!