As a nurse, professional certifications are your path to higher pay and better opportunities. Whether you pursue a med-surg or critical care certification, you can expand your area of expertise and show your current employer (and future employers) that you are a knowledgeable and self-motivated nurse. The only tricky part is taking certification exams. These exams are designed in such a way that individuals who don’t know the subject matter cannot squeeze through. In this blog post, we will give you some tips on how to study for nursing certification exams so that you can get your certification and advance your career.
1. Decide on a Certification
There are countless nursing certifications to choose from, but which are the most useful? This depends on many factors, such as where you want your career to go next and what type of nursing work you enjoy most. If you’re not sure which nursing certification to pursue, take a look at our blog post on the topic.
2. Make Sure You Qualify
Once you’ve picked a certification, make sure you qualify to take the exam. They often have requirements for specialty area and practice hours, so it’s important not to waste time studying for an exam you don’t qualify to take.
3. Research Exam Preparation Policy and Handbook
The exam website typically has resources, such as a preparation policy and a handbook. Be sure to read through those to make sure you aren’t caught off guard on the day of the exam. Organizations such as the Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses provide study resources to nurses who apply for a certification exam.
4. Apply for the Exam
Once you’ve looked at all the available materials and you feel confident in your knowledge and abilities, it’s time to apply for the exam! It may be cost-effective to become a member of the certifying organization before applying, so take a look at all your options before you apply!
5. Take a Comprehensive Test
Certain organizations (such as Springer Publishing) offer practice tests for nursing certification exams. The organization offering your exam may even offer them! It’s important to take advantage of these comprehensive tests to see what you do and don’t already know. This will show you what areas you need to study in order to pass your exam.
6. Prepare With Practice Exams and Questions
Preparation is key! When searching the internet for a certification review course, prioritize access to lots of practice questions. The more chances you have to work with the content, the more prepared you will be for the exam!
7. Schedule the Exam
When you schedule the exam, give yourself a realistic timeframe. If you only give yourself a week to prepare, you could miss the opportunity to study important content. Most nurses who have taken certification exams recommend giving yourself 2-3 months in order to be properly prepared. You will also need to decide whether you want to take the exam in person or online. Many organizations offer both options, but they each have benefits you should consider.
8. Rest Up
When test time comes, be sure to get plenty of rest the night before. Wake up to a healthy meal and drink plenty of water! You’ve already done the hard work of practicing and preparing, so now you just have to get in there and take the exam. If you’ve already taken practice exams, this part should be easy.
The final step is to celebrate! You’ve passed your nursing certification exam and have new credentials that can be used for a pay increase or career transition. You’ve earned a party in our opinion!
If you are interested in advancing your healthcare career at a hospital that covers the costs of certain nationally-recognized nursing certifications, you should work at Trident Medical Center! It offers the best nurse pay in the region, and hospital leadership is on your side when you want to expand your expertise. Submit your info today!