A Pediatric Hematology Oncology Nurse (CPHON) is a member of the nursing profession with graduate-level expertise in the care of children and adolescents with blood disorders and cancer. The PHON specialty is involved in all aspects of the child’s care, from assessment to treatment.

How Do You Become a Certified Clinical Nurse Specialist?


You’ll need to take a certification exam from a recognized certifying body. For several areas of CNS expertise, the most widely recognized credentialing body is the Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation. They offer computer-based examinations at a number of locations around the United States. If you are 65 or older, discounts are available for the exam fee. After successfully taking the exam, you receive credentials as a Certified Pediatric Hematology Oncology Nurse (CPHON), which is renewable after a specified period.

Who Is Eligible for the CPHON Certification Exam?

You’ll need nursing credentials before applying for the exam. For instance, you’ll need a year or more of experience as a registered nurse (RN) within the three year period prior to applying for the exam, 1,000 hours or more as a pediatric oncology or hematology nurse within the 30-month period prior to applying for the exam, and 10 contract hours of continuing education in oncology at an accredited institution within the three years prior to apply for the exam.

A Look at the CPHON Exam

The exam consists of 165 questions. Of these questions, 125 count toward the final score. (The remainder are questions being statistically tested for inclusion in future exams.) The questions on the test are based on the CPHON Test Blueprint, which was derived from a role delineation study of pediatric nurses, based on current roles and behaviors of nurses in the pediatric oncology field. They are divided into nine areas:

1. Psychosocial Dimensions of Care (10 percent)

2. Disease-Related Biology (10 percent)

3. Treatment (23 percent)

4. Supportive Care and Symptom Management (22 percent)

5. Pediatric Oncology and Hematologic Emergencies (13 percent)

6. Long-Term Follow-Up and Survivorship (8 percent)

7. Health Maintenance (2 percent)

8. End of Life Care (6 percent)

9. Professional Performance (6 percent)

Since the score is based on how many questions are answered correctly, it is better to try to answer every question on the test. When finished, the raw score (the number answered correctly) is converted to a scaled score. Candidates must get a minimum scaled score of 55 to pass. If successful, candidates will get a certificate and wallet card to show their success. If unsuccessful, candidates may take the test again, up to three times in a year. If a candidate does not pass all three tries, he or she will have to wait a year before trying again in order to have time for further learning.


Last Updated: June 19, 2019