Robbin Craddock | BSN, RN, CAPA

My Certification Story

I decided about two years ago that I needed to do something to challenge myself. I had been working in a Pre Op Assessment Clinic for over five years and was starting to feel stale. I considered working toward my Master’s degree, looking for a change of job, or certification. I chose certification because unlike graduate classes, everything that I learned would be directly related to my job. I also felt that it would not only help me in my current job, but make me more marketable if I decided to look for a different job in the future. I believe it is never a mistake to choose to learn.

My Study Strategies

I decided to make a study plan and give myself 3-4 months to prepare. I downloaded the certification handbook and the 12 week study plan from the ABPANC website. I ordered the Core Curriculum, downloaded the ACLS, and borrowed other study references from my manager. I focused initially on system review and then spent most my time on areas where I felt the weakest. I also utilized ABPANC practice exams.

My Benefits

I would encourage anyone to go through the process. From the beginning, I decided to focus on learning rather than “passing.” Because my goal was to improve patient care and increase my knowledge, I felt like if I learned, I would accomplish my goals, regardless of whether I passed. I felt like I gained respect from my coworkers, and became a better nurse. Although I work in the Pre Op Clinic, increasing my knowledge of the entire continuum of perioperative nursing made me better at my job.

My Advice

Even if you don’t pass the first time I believe it’s worth trying again because you will know what to expect and be better prepared the second time. Studying for the exam will have increased your knowledge and made you a better nurse, so not passing is not the same as failing. You have already succeeded by deciding to attempt certification.