CPHON stands for Certified Pediatric Hematology Oncology Nurse. This exam is computer-based and consists of 165 multiple-choice questions. Of the 165 questions, only 125 will count toward your score. You are allotted three hours to complete the exam.

In order to be eligible to take the exam, you must:

  • Currently hold an active RN license in the United States, its territories, or Canada.
  • Have at least one-year experience as an RN, within the last 3 years.
  • Have at least 1,000 hours of practice in pediatric hematology oncology nursing, within the last 2.5 years.
  • Have accomplished at least 10 contact hours in oncology continuing nursing education or elective in oncology nursing, within the last 3 years.

For candidates who require special testing accommodations for conditions covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act, you may make this request in writing.

Some of the arrangements that can be accommodated include extended testing time, additional breaks, and Braille test materials.

What categories and topics are covered on this exam? What percentage of questions are there for each category? *

Psychosocial Dimensions of Care: 9% of questions

This category will address growth and development principles, how illness affects patients and their families, patient and family support, psychosocial adaptation, cultural and spiritual beliefs, family systems, and community resources.

Disease-Related Biology: 12% of questions

This category will address childhood cancers, hematologic disorders, pathophysiology, and diagnosis and prognosis.

Treatment: 22% of questions

This category will address the principles of and side effects related to chemotherapy, biotherapy, radiation therapy, hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, hematologic disorder therapies, surgery, emerging therapies, and complementary and integrative modalities.

Supportive Care and Symptom Management: 20% of questions

This category will address pain management, sleep disturbance and fatigue, anxiety and depression, venous access devices, medical devices, nutritional support, discharge planning, delayed healing and wound care, and system specific alterations.

Pediatric Oncologic and Hematologic Emergencies: 14% of questions

This category will address topics such as anaphylaxis, cerebrovascular accident, hemorrhage, pancreatitis, seizures, spinal cord compression, thrombosis, and vaso-occlusive crisis.

Health Maintenance and Survivorship: 8% of questions

This category will address health maintenance such as immunizations, wellness and anticipatory guidance, transition to primary health care, and reproductive health and sexuality, AND survivorship such as psychosocial adaptation, socioeconomic issues, and late effects of chemotherapy, biotherapy, and radiation therapy.

Palliative and End-of-Life Care: 8% of questions

This category will address palliative care, hospice, physical and comfort care, grief and bereavement, family and caregiver support, and legacy building.

Professional Performance: 7% of questions

This category will address topics such as scope and standards of nursing, professional practice guidelines, ethics, cultural and spiritual competence, therapeutic communication, interdisciplinary collaboration, regulatory standards, principles of teaching and learning, patient safety, and clinical trials.

*The above exam categories and percentages are valid through December 2018. For 2019, this will change to the following:

  • Psychosocial Dimensions and Health Maintenance – 12% of questions
  • Disease Related Biology – 15% of questions
  • Care of the Pediatric Hematology and Oncology Patient – 32% of questions
  • Supportive Care, Palliative Care, and Symptom Management – 22% of questions
  • Pediatric Oncologic and Hematologic Potential Emergencies – 19% of questions

How can I register for this exam?

Register online. In about a month of registering, you will be sent an Authorization to Test document, which gives you 90 days to schedule and complete the exam.

What is the cost of the exam?

As a member of ONS/APHON, you will pay $225-$296. Non-members will pay $315-$416.

What are the testing dates and locations?

In 2019, you can take this exam at various sites within the U.S. and Canada through December 31st.

What should I do the day of the exam?

Report to the testing site 30 minutes early so that you have time to check-in and get settled to take the exam.

Bring two forms of identification. One should include your name, signature, and photo. The other must have your name and signature, at a minimum.

This exam does not require a calculator, nor are you allowed to bring one into the testing area. In addition, personal items such as a cell phone, briefcase, purse, food/drink, and study materials will not be allowed in the testing area.

Can I take a break during the exam?

There is no scheduled break built-in to this exam, so if you must take one, the exam clock will not stop. This means you will have less time for actual test-taking.

What happens after I take the exam?

Before leaving the testing center, you will receive your official score report. It will let you know if you passed or failed. If you pass the exam, in 4-6 weeks, you will receive your certificate and wallet card.

What happens if I don’t pass the exam?

In a 90-day period, you can only take the exam one time, for a maximum of three times. If you do not pass the exam by the third attempt, you must wait at least one year to try again.

How Can I Prepare for the CPHON Test?

That’s a great question.  We’ve broken down the answer into three parts.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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!

Study Guide



Last Updated: July 31, 2019