Thursday, June 18, 2009

Pre-Nurse Practitioner Certification Exam Anxiety

In less than a month I will take the national certification exam for family nurse practitioners. Similar to law school grads who experience a certain discontent at graduation with the summer Bar exam looming over their heads, my own graduation was a bit marred with the anxiety of my upcoming exam.

Basically, until I pass that exam and am licensed to practice, my nurse practitioner degree is meaningless. While excited that I was nearly done with school, I started studying for this exam while in the midst of finals.

Today, I also ran into a really cool blog written by a family nurse practitioner in New York, while looking for ways to assuage my pre-exam anxiety. It is a relevant, interesting blog, and one that I plan on keeping up with while beginning my own career as a family nurse practitioner.

I would like to detail my own experience while studying for the NP certification exam. Hopefully in months or years to come, other soon-to-be NPs will stumble upon this and find some solace that they are not alone in what they are going through.

Oh, and hopefully I pass.

1. I, many times a day, alternate between being convinced I am way too stupid and not prepared and am going to fail the exam, and being convinced I am a genius who probably doesn't really need to be studying at all.

Until I get to questions like:

"Actinic keratosis can be described as:

A. a slightly rough, pink or flesh-colored lesion in a sun-exposed area.
B. a well-defined, slightly raised, red scaly plaque in a skin-fold.
C. a blistering lesion along a dermatome.
D. a crusting lesion along flexor aspects of the fingers."

(The correct answer is A.)

2. Along that same vein, I am also convinced that when I start practicing, I will either be the best nurse practitioner ever and all my patients will love me, or I will kill my first several patients and be sued and lose my license within the first couple weeks.

Let's hope it's the former.

3. Within a couple months, I will be unleashed into the real world and expected to be able to accurately diagnose, manage, and treat lots of weird diseases out there.
People will walk into my office one day soon and expect me to know what things like neurofibromatosis, thalassemia, and hand, foot, and mouth disease are.

While I may or may not always have an MD or more experienced NP around to help guide me through my first year or two in my new career, the thought of all of this is overwhelming and scary. Am I ready?

Well, I better be soon.

4. I really, really hope my test is full of questions about STDs, HIV, and upper respiratory symptoms.

5. I have an unabashed admiration, bordering on a crush, on Margaret Fitzgerald, her review book, her courses, and her mnemonics. I will never forget the cranial nerves again.

6. Until I take this test, I have free reign to drink as much as I want. And afterwards, of course, in celebration. Or sorrow.

That's all. I guess I should study now.


Nurse Practitioners Save Lives said...

You'll do fine. The test wasn't as hard as I thought it would be but just as nerve wracking!

NPSibal said...

Believe in yourself, my dear. NPs are very valuable in our health care system.

I have been in practice for 10 years. The first 2 years are the most challenging. But after that you'll relax more. Connect with the best practitioners in your area and you'll see yourself souring like eagles.

Jane Know said...

Thank you both for your kind words! :-)

Seda said...

So, um, where in the brain diagram is the BSTc? And what does it determine?

Just a little question to keep you on your toes...

And, in case you haven't seen this before, the answer is written upside down below (except even when I type upside down,the words look the same).

Good luck on your exam! You'll be fine.

Kim said...

Hey everyone. Just curious when you're taking the exam and what timing works best. I just finished in May but with work and everything I'm planning to take it in August. What do most people do?

Jane Know said...

Thank you for the interesting article. I'm reading it right now...(well, after I finish writing this).
I took the exam in the middle of July. But most of my classmates are taking it a little later (we finished school in June). I just wanted to get it out of the way.

Lisa V said...

I would like to know which exam review books I should get..if anyone has any advice, please email me..thanks!

Anonymous said...

How did you do on the exam? Did you take ANCC or AANP? I am going for the ANCC. Any suggestions would be very appreciated.

Jet Saysa said...

Well it 2013. I know u pass that darn exam. As read ur post, mine is looming above me. eat drink and cry later,good to share. thanks for sharing.