Vicki Yfantis | MSN, CRNP, CPAN

My Certification Story

I was a relatively young nurse (age 24) when I transferred from a critical care unit to a Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU). With two years of critical care nursing experience, I felt confident in my critical care skills, but I quickly discovered that PACU nursing involved way more than ginger ale and graham crackers. I was clueless and petrified that I would miss something that a more seasoned nurse would anticipate. Fortunately, my preceptor was a CPAN! She encouraged me to study for and take the CPAN as a way to boost my confidence and competence. I am forever indebted to her for mentoring me and educating me about the value of certification.

My Study Strategies

Those first two years in the PACU, I was a sponge—soaking up as much experience as I could. I sought out opportunities to hone my perianesthesia nursing skills and I would merge my experiences with the examination blueprint. The exam blueprint is a concise outline of concepts and skills that helped me direct my learning. I developed my own 3-month study plan using the ABPANC resource list as a guide. Looking back, I wish there was a 12-week study program available to me 16 years ago! The current 12-week study plan that is available free on the ABPANC website is fantastic! It takes all of the work out of organizing your time and studying. Along with the Practice Exams, the Question of the Week, ABPANC Study Tips, and the free test taking webinars on cpancap.org, there are so many valuable and effective resources available to make studying a pleasant learning experience, rather than a chore.

My Benefits

Being CPAN certified means more to me than just achieving a passing score on an examination. The moment that I made the decision to work towards my certification, is the moment that I started reaping its benefits. It started with the incredible amount of knowledge that I gained through my preparation, and it continued with the more mindful, evidence-based care that I was delivering to my patients. When I passed the CPAN exam, I recognized a new-found self-confidence that enabled me to build more meaningful relationships with my patients.

I am proud of my certification. It defines my practice and I feel an accountability to protect its integrity. It is for this reason that I became an active ABPANC Item Writer and a member of the Exam Construction Committee, and now volunteer as an RN Director on ABPANC’s Board. Indeed, being CPAN certified has opened professional doors that have led me to the most rewarding opportunities and experiences. Through ABPANC, I have met and collaborated with some of the most brilliant nurses from across the country. There are no words to express how creating a social and professional network of certified nurse colleagues has enriched my perianesthesia practice.

Being a CPAN has given me self-confidence—no one can take away my knowledge. And best of all, being a CPAN has connected me to the most valuable learning experiences. My CPAN credential comes with me everywhere I go—I never leave home without it!

My Advice

When things don't go my way, I like to seek inspiration and advice from someone I trust and who is wiser than I am (usually mom☺). Well, who better than the mother of Nursing ­ Florence Nightengale. She famously said, "I attribute my success to this: I never gave or took any excuse." Don't let not passing be your excuse! Don't give up! Replace the "poor me, I failed" voice in your head with the following, "I am one step closer!" And, know that ABPANC is here to help you on your journey. If you haven’t taken advantage of ABPANC's multiple study resources, I highly recommend it. Whether it's a Practice Exam, Question of the Week, a 12-week Study Plan, a Certification Coach, or Test Taking Tips that you need, ABPANC has you covered. You can do it! You got this!