October 27, 2022

Tips to Help Nurses Study For a Specialty Nursing Certification

Tips to Help Nurses Study For a Specialty Nursing Certification

One of the best ways to advance your nursing career is to get a specialty nursing certification. Nurses can get various certifications for specialties such as oncology, progressive care, wound care, critical care, diabetes, and many more. There are over 183 different nursing certifications available. Nurses work towards certification because it validates their knowledge and expertise in a particular specialty. Studies also show that they report a boost in confidence when caring for a specific patient population. 

Before applying, make sure you meet the eligibility requirements for initial certification. Some  of the most common criteria include:

1. Having an active, unencumbered nursing license 

2. Working a certain amount of hours on the specialty unit (usually between 1500-2000 hours).

While there are many benefits to having a specialty certification, many nurses are unaware of the programs and benefits offered through their hospital. Many times, hospitals offer incentives for nurses who choose to earn a specialty certification. Hospital reimbursement is a great way of getting your review course paid for and your certification fees covered. For example, the hospital I worked at paid for an in-person review course, the certification, and all the fees. Additionally, upon completion of the exam, I got an hourly raise. 

Keep in mind that reimbursements vary from facility to facility, so make sure to check with your manager and the hospital you work for. Oftentimes, there may be specific steps to having the review course or exam paid for. If you’ve been thinking about getting certified, but aren’t sure what the next steps are, then keep reading.

How To Study for Certification

Once you’ve gone through the verification process and have established your eligibility, you can take the following steps to help you prepare for the exam:

  1. Find the exam handbook online that pertains to your specialty

    1. This will help familiarize you with the structure of the exam

  2. Find a review course that pertains to your specialty

    1. Ask your manager or coworkers that have their certifications for advice.

  3. Attend an in-person or an online review course 

  4. Write out a personal study schedule 

    1. Make sure to include the resources that you plan on using and the times of the day that you’ll be studying. Avoid cramming, instead, use the 45/15 study method which encourages 45 minutes of uninterrupted studying followed by a 15 min break. 

  5. Find and join support groups on Facebook

For example:

If you’re hoping to obtain your Critical Care Registered Nurse (CCRN) certification, then you can find great tools on the American Association of Critical Care nurses’ website. Start by browsing the exam handbook, which has important information on all things that pertain to the exam. The handbook covers topics such as:

    1. What to expect on exam day

    2. What are the requirements

    3. How to prepare for the exam

    4. How to apply for the exam

    5. Fees and more

Select the certification tab and start there. You will find a step-by-step explanation of what you need to do to get certified. In addition, they offer a variety of study tools ranging from practice questions to study book suggestions and so on.

Getting a nursing certification is a great way to:

  • Advance your education and career
  • Become an expert on your unit
  • Boost your confidence in caring for a certain patient population
  • Prepare you for leadership opportunities

There are many nursing certifications available and oftentimes hospitals offer tuition reimbursements and cover the costs and fees for the test. In order to apply for the certification exam, you must first meet the criteria. Make sure to do your research and find out exactly what is necessary before you sign up for the test. Next, choose the review course for your specialty, put together a study plan, and commit to it.

 For more study tips from nurses check out: Top 10 Nursing School Study Tips and Tricks (From ACTUAL Nurses)

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