Celeste Jones-Lyon ǀ BSN, RN, MHA, MBA, CAPA, FACHE

My Certification Story

I took the certification exam in 2007. It was the last paper exam to be administered. Unlike today, we had to wait close to six weeks for the results of the exam. Four of us took the exam together and it was somewhat hilarious how each of us had the same thought as to whether we should notify the other person when the news came that we passed. I remember thinking, what if they didn't pass, because I can tell you none of us felt that we were successful when we left the exam. I can't remember who broke the ice first, but we all let out a sigh of relief when we learned that we all were successful.

Attending conferences, I became more and more familiar with certification by visiting the ABPANC exhibits and the Conference Exhibit Booth. Wow, what a wealth of information. In order to ignite the fire in our nurses we gathered information and decided we would lead by example and take the exam first. Two of our senior nurses decided to join us. We studied together on weekends by reading chapters and formulating questions. We all passed and now we are passing the baton to other staff nurses, encouraging them and supporting them in their journey to become certified. It was one of the best decisions I've made.

My Study Strategies

I used self-study to prepare for study group sessions, and attended certification reviews. I attended ASPAN component meetings for educational offerings, and purchased the CPAN/CAPA Practice Exams. This was in addition to the aforementioned study strategy.

My Benefits

I have a strong personal sense of accomplishment and a broader knowledge of perianesthesia care for patients and family throughout the perianesthesia continuum of care. I can now confidently speak about the benefits of certification and utilize my passion and my journey to influence others to become certified in their specialty.

As for my career, I became more involved in ASPAN and my local component, TAPAN. Through my involvement there I was introduced to ABPANC. I attended an Item Writing Workshop at the ASPAN National conference, got involved writing questions for potential use on the CPAN/CAPA exams, and was invited to join ABPANC’s Examination Construction Committee. Several years ago, I decided to push myself even further, and decided to apply for the ABPANC Board of Directors. It was a rigorous process, and I’m proud to say that I am currently an RN Director and the CAPA Board Liaison to the Examination Construction Committee.

My Advice

If you do not pass on the first attempt, do not give up, try again and keep moving forward. Look at it as a temporary state and go into the next exam with full confidence that you will pass. Several of my nurses did not pass on their first attempt; however they were successful the next time. I had two nurses who took the exam twice more and were successful on the third attempt.

Examine your preparation strategy and change what you need to. Most of all don't re-study what you already know. Use ABPANC’s Study References List (Appendix D), get the practice exams, become familiar with the topics of the questions of the week, and continue to pursue knowledge wherever you can find it. Utilize ABPANC’s free Certification Coach program or consider group study, but don't give up!