I am happy to share that I recently achieved CCRN-K certification
. It was a lot of studying, but I am so happy I did it. It had been on my to-do list for years and I must admit, it was more difficult than I anticipated. With a background in critical care nursing and prior CCRN certification, and all the reading and content creation I do for Lippincott NursingCenter, I thought taking the test would just be a formality. I was incorrect.
I quickly realized how much studying was ahead of me after taking a practice exam. This was a great first step because I was able to identify my knowledge gaps, and I realized I was going to need a study plan. Here’s what worked for me!
Certification Exam Plan
- Decide on the appropriate certification for you. What are your professional goals? I planned to take the CCRN-K exam because I am not currently in clinical practice, but my work impacts critical care nurses, hence the ‘K’ or ‘knowledge’ designation.
- Visit the website for the professional organization which offers the certification you seek. Make sure you qualify to take the test. Do you meet the requirements for specialty area and practice hours?
- Explore the exam preparation policy and handbook, if provided and accessible, and any study tools that are available.
- Apply for the exam. It may be cost-effective to become a member of the certifying organization. Take a look at all your options!
- Take a comprehensive test and see how much you do know and what body systems or topic areas you may need to put some extra study time towards.
- Prepare! When looking for a certification review course, prioritize access to lots of practice questions! I can’t stress this enough! The practice questions solidify your content knowledge, as well as application of what you know.
- Schedule the test in a realistic timeframe. Give yourself plenty of time to study. I gave myself a solid three months. I then counted back from the exam date to plan my studying, with the last 2 weeks dedicated to taking practice tests over and over. Also, consider whether you will take the test in-person or online. Many organizations offer both. While the online option may be easier to schedule, make sure you will have the technology, space, and solitude you need to be successful.
- When test time comes, get plenty of rest the night before, have a healthy meal and hydrate! Take your time, read each question and answer choice thoroughly, and trust your instincts.
- Celebrate your new credentials!
I am fortunate to work for a publishing company where Certification Review products are available to those who have access through their workplace. Coincidentally, as I was studying, we were working to incorporate those products into Lippincott NursingCenter to offer to individual nurses seeking to become certified. Here’s a look at Lippincott NursingCenter’s Certification Review
Best of luck to you on your certification journey!