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.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Posted by Jane Know at 12:57 PM