I passed the CCRN exam on December 2, 2014 (seems like a lifetime ago) and to be completely honest, I was terrified when I took the test . . . I can still remember the sheer excitement (and a bit of surprise) when I saw the words: “Congratulations, you have passed the CCRN Certification Exam.“!!
Prior to nursing school, I wanted to be a CRNA – so working in the ICU and passing the CCRN were always on my radar, but I was still a young nurse and had just barely met the requirements to take the CCRN exam.
Not only that, my critical care experience was all in the Neuro ICU so my knowledge and experience with critical cardiac patients was limited – and cardiac and respiratory are a big portion of the test.
But . . . I DID pass, and it wasn’t because I got lucky. In fact, I studied like crazy prior to passing the CCRN and I want to YOU to pass too. So I’m going to share with you some of the resources I used (including the best CCRN review course) and answer some of the questions you probably have about the exam and certification process.
I began studying for the CCRN immediately upon finishing my ICU orientation and much of my studying was done at the hospital while monitoring my critical patients or at home on my off days.
Here are the 3 CCRN Review resources I used, and why I used each one:
I swear by these resources and I believe that if you put in the time, learn all that you can on the floor, and use these resources, you will pass with no problem.
**Now, before I go on, I do want to say that I LOVE Laura Gasparis course so much that we’ve actually partnered with her to provide her incredible review videos on NURSING.com – and we’ve added nursing cheatsheets, 3D interactive images, printable notes, and made them easier to digest . . . giving you a one-stop review for CCRN.
For critical care nurses who are visual learners and want a comprehensive CCRN review course, I recommend Laura Gasparis. In fact, I believe in her course so much that we began offering it on NURSING.com.
Who is Laura Gasparis Vonfrolio?
For the past 20 years, Laura Gasparis Vonfrolio PhD, RN, has been the industry leader in critical care review. She has offered her CCRN course all over the world, and has helped thousands of nurses to pass the CCRN.
If you’ve spent any time looking for a CCRN review, you’ve no doubt come across Laura Gasparis Vonfrolio RN, PhD . . . she’s kinda a BIG deal when it comes to critical care nursing!
Laura has been a nurse for over 3 decades, published 11 books, and over 30 articles . . . not only that, but she is the former President of The National Nurses in Business Association and the current President of Education Enterprises. To top it off, she even lead a march of over 35,000 nurses!
Laura Gasparis Vonfrolio + NURSING.com (a match made in nursing heaven) . . .
When I began studying for CCRN in 2014 – the name that quickly rose to the top was Laura Gasparis – and it was easy to know why, her videos were in depth, entertaining, and topics I had struggled with previously began to make sense.
I quickly devoured her CCRN videos . . . it didn’t feel like studying!
So when we (NURSING.com) started looking to provide CCRN review – we felt that it wasn’t possible to provide a better content review than Laura – after all, it works!
So we partnered with Laura to make her lectures available on NURSING.com – making her incredible knowledge available on our proven learning platform . . . bringing you the best of both worlds!
What’s Included in the Course?
Answers to your most common CCRN questions from Laura Gasparis Vonfrolio RN, PhD (the world’s most respected CCRN educator)
The CCRN examination is an exam given to those nurses with critical care experience, it’s required that you have 1,750 hours in the direct care of critically ill or acutely ill patients over the last two years. Now that might seem like a lot, 1,750 hours, but if you work full time, you’re working about 2000 hours a year. They also want the year that you apply for the exam, that you have 875 hours prior to taking the exam. So it’s a total of 1,750 hours within two years of taking the exam.
As healthcare becomes increasingly complex, the value of certification is a mark of excellent and is so important. Achieving your your CCRN demonstrates to you and to your patients and to your employers, that your knowledge reflects national standards of care and a commitment to patient safety. By taking the exam, you demonstrate your pride in critical care, your pride in your specialty, and an opportunity for recognition as well as for career advancement.
That really depends on how much information you have in your head, but I would look to study for two months prior to taking the exam. The first month I would concentrate on the content. So read the content of what you have to know, and you can obtain that from the blueprint from aacn.org. So the first month I would concentrate on content and then the second month I would concentrate on question and answer rationales, just do 30 to 60 questions a day, if you can, for a month prior to taking the exam, and then you’d be sure to pass with flying colors. My CCRN online is a two day program and most of my students who take that will pass with flying colors as well. So I wish you all the best in your endeavors to achieve the CCRN.
If you are looking for review questions, this is a great book. It includes nice outlined chapters with end of chapter questions as well as access to an online CCRN question bank.
The content is a bit weak and mostly just outlined chapters – but the questions are helpful in knowing your weak points and seeing what a CCRN question really looks like.
You can get the book on Amazon HERE.
I would recommend coupling this with the online review course to be able to dig deeper into topics.
Ok . . . this little book is a MUST HAVE for any ICU nurse. It is written more with the medical model in mind – and is a bit in depth for the beginning ICU nurse, but it serves as an incredible resource in the critical care environment.
This book stayed with me at work and at the nurses station – whenever I had a minute, I would read a chapter or two. Honestly, I would say that I only grasped 20% of it – but when I needed to understand something at a deeper level, this was my go to.
You can grab it on Amazon HERE, and while I do recommend you purchase this book – it is likely not the best GO TO for CCRN prep.
The CCRN exam is tough . . . there is no doubt about that . . . especially if you are a newer nurse. I want you to walk into the test KNOWING you will pass and for that reason I HIGHLY recommend our CCRN Review Course taught by Laura Gasparis Vonfrolio PhD, RN.
-Jon Haws RN, Alumnus CCRN