My path to excellence. Step #2 Certification

As part of my ongoing path to excellence I had to look at my certifications.

During that time where I thought I knew everything I obtained both my CEN and my CCRN.  The CEN was a legitimate certification.   I actually knew that stuff.  I had been teaching it for years.

The CCRN on the other hand, not so much.  I crammed for it. I listened to prep courses and took the test.   I used a couple of reputable courses.  But I didn’t really learn it.   The only things I remember from the tapes are the protamine came from fish eggs, and that if you take to much phosphorus, it can look like you have MS.   And I learned I’ll never be able to understand a new york accent.   (yeah some of you will be able to figure out who’s tape I listened to.)

I set out to actually learn the material.   I started carrying reference material with me.  LOTS of books.  This was actually the early days of google.  I asked questions, Looked stuff up and in 2002 I took the exam again.   And FAIL miserably!  I went back and discovered I was just skimming the material because I thought I already knew it.  I started outlining, and making cheat sheets.  I focused my studying on patients I had.  Real patients, not simulated ones.   I studies the night before and was able to ask questions during rounds.

During the next year, something changed.  I had developed the habit of studying and working at it.  My standing among my peers and the Docs had risen greatly, to the point were I was asked to give presentation at Tuesday resident grand rounds.  It wasn’t until I failed though that i was able to learn my failings and REALLY try to change.  in 2005 I took the CCRN exam again and blew through the exam in 20 min, not quite acing it.  I still don’t know an IABP wave form from a hole in the wall.

Another thing happened.  My co workers watched what I was doing, and started along their own path to excellence.  We would meet after work and have study session at Jimmies over breakfast.   (Threw that in for my fellow Baltimoreans).

Without intending to, Others were motivated.

My patient care got better.  After 20+ years I actually felt that I could call myself a nurse.

Take certifications seriously!  Don’t just cram for it.  Take a year, set up a plan and work toward it. Go ahead and take the prep course, but do it as a refresher before you take the test.

Where are  you on your path to excellence?

About craigb.rn

An aging health care provider thoughts on life, love and 30 years of wiping butts. I have a passion for both critical care and education, and my co-workers think I fall into lecture mode way to often.
This entry was posted in Certification, Critical Care, Education, Nursing and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to My path to excellence. Step #2 Certification

  1. Miguel says:

    Certifications are a lot of BS. I took my CCRN about 6 months after I started working in the USA. I ah been a nurse in ICU for 6 years prior to that. It was easy but certainly relevant to the area of care. I took the CEN later, after working only one year in ED. It was even easier. It fact it was almost offensive. I thought it may be because it was similar stuff to what I had done for years but my co-workers had the same impression. It did not really meant much to get it. Neither the CCRN nor the CEN mean that you are a good nurse or even that you know the material.
    The worst came after I took my NP certification. That was almost offensive. I could have pass that exam the day after the NCLEX.
    So, I don’t know if you really should take them seriously. In my opinion they are just gimmicks to get money from you. Exactly the same as the CEU’s ( I recently learned that you can do 30 CEU’s just by saying that you have READ a course. There is not even an exam. Or the ACLS/PALS, TNCC…etc. What do you think of that? I have been in really amazin classess for those. However I take them every other year at my shop, which is a large teaching, well known hospital, and most of the people are not able to differenciate basic rythms. Everyone passes, the AHA gets its money and the hospital has all staff compliant. Very few nurses would be able to run a cardiac arrest or an inestable arrythmia. And when we actually have a code, it looks like headless chicken running from the axe. Even some doctors keep doing things that have been removed from the guidelines years before.

    So forget certifications and be honest with yourself. Do you really know your stuff or just passing exams?

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