Adam Combs| BSN, RN, CPAN

My Certification Story

I began my nursing career working night shift as a post-surgical/orthopedic nurse. I was fortunate enough to get a position in PACU about a year later. Once I began working in PACU, I realized that I had found exactly where I was supposed to be. One of the nurses that I worked closely with during my transition to PACU was CPAN certified and I began asking her questions and set CPAN certification as a goal for myself. Once I completed the coursework for my BSN I began studying immediately for my CPAN exam. In October 2015, I became a Certified Post Anesthesia Nurse. This has been a great satisfaction for me both personally and professionally.

My Study Strategies

I am not one who reads and retains information well. The strategy that worked best for me was completing a practice exam that I bought from ABPANC. Once I completed that exam, I used the "Certification Review for Perianesthesia Nursing: 3rd edition" by Barbara Putrycus and Jacqueline Ross. This book had close to 600 questions and was broken down by different systems. The answers were provided in the back of the book with rationale, which made it easier to understand and comprehend. Once I finished the 600 questions in the book, I took the other ABPANC practice exam, which helped me be prepared for what I would see on the exam.

My Benefits

The personal satisfaction that I have gained since certification has been tremendous. Often while studying, I would become discouraged and think, "Why have I wasted this money? I have not been doing this long enough to know everything to become certified." Once I passed the exam, I was excited and felt more confident in myself. I have not had any career benefits as of yet, but feel that doors will be opened soon.

My Advice

Do not give up! I was often doubtful of myself and would discuss my doubts with a friend. One thing that my friend told me that stuck with me was that this exam did NOT determine the type of nurse that I was. So, just remember, you are a good nurse and make a difference in the lives of your patients every day. The certification will just be icing on the cake!