Beverly Carter | RN, CAPA
My Certification Story
"You can't quit mom!....you make us take the ACT test over and over and this is no different for you." Those were the words of my daughter when I told her I failed my exam. I was angry. After studying for hours and hours and taking a review course I felt ready for the test but was devastated when I failed. I missed passing by just 20 points, so I decided to try it again. This time I studied on my own, no review course or practice exam. At the time, we were hosting a foreign exchange student and she required MUCH time and attention. When I went to take the exam I didn’t feel prepared. Once again, I failed! When our exchange student went home my daughter told me it was time to take my exam again. I decided to try it one more time. I contacted ABPANC and asked for help and told them my situation. They connected me with Jan, an ABPANC Coach in my area who worked recovery at a large hospital nearby. We talked by phone and email and in person. Finally the day came to take the test and I knew in my heart I was prepared and my friends were praying hard for me. I took the exam and I passed! I quietly jumped up and pumped my arms - much to the dismay of test proctors. I called Jan first and shared my news and we rejoiced together.
My Study Strategies
With the help of my ABPANC Coach, Jan, I studied very hard using the references on Appendix D, made flash cards, and memorized medications and anesthesia facts. I emailed Jan questions and we worked on my weaknesses. We did an EKG review and test, discussing what and why, and she shared stories about her recent patients that were pertinent to help me learn. Together, we took ABPANC’s online practice exams and discussed each answer.
I am the first and only person in our presurgery clinic to be certified. I wanted my certification for me, my kids, and because I am not a BSN. I am very proud of my certification. Recently, we got a new manager and she shared with me that our hospital sends a few staff nurses each year to the National ASPAN conference - expenses paid. She offered me the opportunity to attend and I can't wait - Philadelphia here I come!
My advice to anyone who doesn’t pass the first time – Don’t give up, try again, it is well worth the extra effort. You can do this!