Lori McKinney | RN, CAPA
My Certification Story
I have been a nurse for 20 years. I have worked as floor nurse, a pain management nurse, and a Pre-Testing nurse. About 4 years ago, as I watched my co-workers study and pass the CPAN test, I thought why not try to take the CAPA test. I studied for about 6 months, mostly using the Core Curriculum Book. When I saw that "failed" at the end of the test I felt so defeated and thought I had no business to be taking this test if I couldn't pass after studying so hard. I had absolutely no intention of ever taking the exam again. Four years later I moved to Georgia and attended a state conference in Savannah. Between Vicki from ABPANC and my co-workers I regained my confidence to re-take the exam and guess what, I PASSED!
My Study Strategies
I highly recommend the Study Question of the Week for both the CPAN and CAPA. I also highly recommend the ASPAN Certification Review for Perianesthesia Nursing. But most of all the practice exams I took from ABPANC two weeks prior to retaking the exam. I also had Perianesthesia Nursing CAPA/CPAN Books with study questions for my Kindle and whenever I had a period of time I had to wait i.e. at the doctor's, or the hair dresser's I would open my kindle app and just study.
The biggest impact passing the exam has done for me is boosting my self-esteem. I am very proud to wear my certified nurse badge at work and to just tell people I have passed this exam after such a long struggle. Patients definitely notice my badge and will question me as to explain what it means to be certified. They seem to be very impressed that I have taken the time and effort to learn so much in order to help them understand what they will be experiencing during their peri-operative time at our facility.
As hard as it is to fail at something it is even more rewarding to re-take the exam and pass. I would tell them to use as many resources that are available to them and to reach out to other certified nurses. Take a certification review class with test taking strategies. Definitely use the ABPANC weekly questions and the ABPANC practice exams. The more questions you look at the more you learn and better you get at answering the questions. Also don't forget to look at the Standards Book because it too was very helpful.