I am one of several nurses that teach the Academy of Medical Surgical Nurses Association’s (AMSN) certification review course.  Several weeks ago,  I taught the course in Fountain Valley, California.  Yesterday, I received a text from one of the nurses that attended the review course letting me know that she passed!
Her name is Mary Ann.  You could just hear the joy (and relief) in her text. I hope she does something to celebrate her accomplishment.
Certification is a big deal.  It means something to you as an individual, to your patients knowing that the nurse caring for them is competent, and to your organization charged with providing high quality care to the sick community.  There may be some of you that don’t have your certification and truly have more knowledge than some nurses that do.  Maybe you have wanted to become certified but just haven’t made the commitment.  If so, why?
There are 2 big reasons why nurses don’t become certified:
Fear:  I blogged about fear last week but I’ll address it again. If you are truly afraid (as I was) that you might fail – and what would everybody think if you did, consider these 2 options:
1.  Don’t tell anyone you are taking it until you’ve passed.
2.  Realize that you are human and not perfect.

Bad test-taker:  Being a good test taker is a skill that can be learned.  I have always been a good test taker and have listed some tips that work for me:
Tip 1:  Make sure you read the question in its entirety first.  Do not look at the answers until you understand what the question is asking.  Then read through the answers and pick the best one.
Tip 2:  Answer the questions that you immediately know first and skip the questions that you really have to think about.  I always go through an exam answering all the ones I know.  Then I go back to the ones I skipped, take a deep breath, and spend the time thinking about the situation. (most computerized exams allow you to skip or tag a question so that you can return to it)
Tip 3:  When reading the answers, think in terms of the ideal environment – not the real environment.  You can almost argue a case for each answer (oh yeah, I remember taking care of the one patient, that one time, a million years ago that had that one obscure answer….).  Stick to the ideal and go with the textbook answer.
Tip 4:  Don’t change your answers!  The only time….and I mean the only time I ever change my answer is if I didn’t read the question right (tip #1).  Typically your first instinct is correct.

I hope these tips help.  I have many more so if you are struggling, don’t hesitate to connect with me.

Well.  What are you waiting for?  Get certified!

Take care and stay connected