Questions/concerns about the program

  1. 1
    Hey Everyone,

    Little background on me, I've been a full-time paramedic in a 911 EMS system for the past 5 (almost 6) years and am currently enrolled in the excelsior RN program. So far I have taken the "Transition to Nursing" and "Health Safety". The test aren't easy at all, but I've been getting through them with studying of several different materials, including study group 101, Lisa Arends notes and even some of the actual textbooks.

    Now on the the questions/concerns...I honestly don't feel like I have learned a whole lot about the nursing profession so far, other than the fact that it truly is very different than EMS. I'm growing concerned about the FCCA and the CPNE. While I feel completely confident in my clinical knowledge, my fear is that I will not have learned much through taking the exams to be successful in the CPNE as a nurse. My question is this, do the exams further into the program prepare you more for the procedures, documentation, etc of being a nurse? If so, enough to prepare you for the CPNE? Based off the last two exams I took, I don't feel the slightest bit prepared to be a nurse, as there is FAR more to nursing than knowing how to practice medicine.

    I suppose that I am really just looking to hear from graduates and current students that have been/are being successful in the program and also to get any tips/words of encouragement.

    Also, is there any comprehensive "review" type book that really sums up the nursing profession that I could use to help cover topic areas? I haven't found studygroup 101 to by all that helpful.

    Thanks!
    ~Zack
    natnat122 likes this.
  2. 8 Comments so far...

  3. 3
    Quote from ZackN
    Hey Everyone,Little background on me, I've been a full-time paramedic in a 911 EMS system for the past 5 (almost 6) years and am currently enrolled in the excelsior RN program. So far I have taken the "Transition to Nursing" and "Health Safety". The test aren't easy at all, but I've been getting through them with studying of several different materials, including study group 101, Lisa Arends notes and even some of the actual textbooks.Now on the the questions/concerns...I honestly don't feel like I have learned a whole lot about the nursing profession so far, other than the fact that it truly is very different than EMS. I'm growing concerned about the FCCA and the CPNE. While I feel completely confident in my clinical knowledge, my fear is that I will not have learned much through taking the exams to be successful in the CPNE as a nurse. My question is this, do the exams further into the program prepare you more for the procedures, documentation, etc of being a nurse? If so, enough to prepare you for the CPNE? Based off the last two exams I took, I don't feel the slightest bit prepared to be a nurse, as there is FAR more to nursing than knowing how to practice medicine. I suppose that I am really just looking to hear from graduates and current students that have been/are being successful in the program and also to get any tips/words of encouragement.Also, is there any comprehensive "review" type book that really sums up the nursing profession that I could use to help cover topic areas? I haven't found studygroup 101 to by all that helpful.Thanks!~Zack
    Not to worry! The skills for the CPNE will come in a 500+ page study guide when you are eligible. You are in perfect position since you're not a nurse. This way, you get learn things the EC way; thereby having no need to be deprogrammed from the real-world way of nursing. After you get your RN, there are plenty of RN Residency Programs offered by hospitals to get you what feel you are lacking in.I had been an LPN for 23 years when I enrolled 3years ago. I already 'knew' nursing but I needed to pass exams and graduate from college in order to be NCLEX eligible......go figure. Lol! If I understand your questions, the gist of what you desire will come in OTJ training. Nothing about my experience as an LPN, though I worked med-surg, would have allowed me to pass the CPNE. The CPNE study guide tells you EXACTLY what to do and you WILL do nothing more and nothing less than what that guide says, if you want to pass.....not even so much as passing a bedpan if you're not assigned that area.So relax, Mr. Diamond-in-the-Rough, you are in PERFECT position for success in the program.PS. EC, as well as countless others, offers CPNE workshops to help you prepare. As far as the FCCA, mine was on paper, so I can't help you there. But as with everything EC offers, I'm sure they have a study guide or course content since it is now an 8-week course. I would cross that bridge later and mainly concentrate on the exams because the Life Span series are more in depth than the rest.One other encouraging word, the CPNE, I found, was a piece of cake because my comfort zone was at the bedside. Being a paramedic, you are very accustomed to spectators. So, having the evaluator watch you should be irrevelant if you are following the critical elements that the CPNE study guide will SPELL OUT for you in plain English.Sooooo, on that note, good luck and happy studying!
    Aliakey, ArethaJo38, and BarbaraNM like this.
  4. 1
    Oh by the way, the study guide is NOT 500 pages of skills to learn. Half of it is rules, regulations, how and where to apply for the NCLEX, etc. I'm sure that since 2009, they've added and deleted some stuff but at that time, there were only 2 chapters about specifics that I needed to know for the actual weekend experience. So don't panic when you get the guide like I did. Lol!
    natnat122 likes this.
  5. 0
    Oh thank you so very very much! That is exactly what I was looking for! Like I said, I feel completely confident in my medical knowledge, but it is all the fine details of being tested on nursing documentation and certain other procedures/steps. You answered and reduced my fear substantially just by informing me of the study guide. I can definitely study and follow step by step instructions, I just had in my mind that I would be forced to recall information from the previous exams I took, which would have been difficult at best.

    Again, thank you very very much!
  6. 1
    The exams don't get 'easier'. IMHO they get more difficult and more indepth as you go along. The life span exams are med-surg and go into detail on specific conditions and treatment and medications. The transition exam was a whole other animal and not like the rest of the exams as it is history, legal, etc.
    natnat122 likes this.
  7. 2
    Quote from ZackN
    Oh thank you so very very much! That is exactly what I was looking for! Like I said, I feel completely confident in my medical knowledge, but it is all the fine details of being tested on nursing documentation and certain other procedures/steps. You answered and reduced my fear substantially just by informing me of the study guide. I can definitely study and follow step by step instructions, I just had in my mind that I would be forced to recall information from the previous exams I took, which would have been difficult at best.

    Again, thank you very very much!
    You are so welcome! And you will be required to recall information from the exams, but at the NCLEX. My NCLEX was so very similar to the Excelsior exams, that I actually thought the staff at Pearson Vue had opened up the wrong exam for me. Soooooo, pay attention. And, in addition to this site, I recommend regularly scrutinizing the EPN (Electronic Peer Network) on the Excelsior website. As an enrolled student, you have access to a web board there with current students who are in your position with the college. You can click on each exam name and share valuable study tips and really learn a lot!! There is a section for every exam that they require you to take with them. It was great!!!!! Good luck!
    natnat122 and ArethaJo38 like this.
  8. 2
    I'm a medic in a 911 Ems System as well and have taken about 5 exams with Excelsior. I can definitely say the classes are helping change my mentality from Ems to nursing big time. I think you'll be fine!
    BSNbeDONE and BarbaraNM like this.
  9. 0
    Quote from natnat122
    I'm a medic in a 911 Ems System as well and have taken about 5 exams with Excelsior. I can definitely say the classes are helping change my mentality from Ems to nursing big time. I think you'll be fine!
    Isn't it sooo different?!?! Going into the program, I expected classes that would basically refresh what I already knew about medicine..But after taking the last two exams, I'm not seeing much about practicing medicine as I am documentation and psychological care processes. eeek!

    What have you been using to study that you have found to be helpful?
  10. 0
    Hi Zack! First, you're wise to be concerned -- nursing and EMS are apples and oranges. The first thing to remember is that as EMS providers, we're working under a doc's license and are essentially practicing medicine. As RNs, we work under our own licenses and practice nursing, not medicine. If you can adjust your brain to those changes, that will be a big help.

    I entered the program as a paramedic with five years of experience, and I was working full-time as a tech in an ED. I really got the best of both worlds -- hospital experience and picking the brains of RNs while also being a paramedic out in the field. But even with nearly four years of ED tech experience and staying in the same ED as an RN, there was still a learning curve/transition. The biggest hurdle was prioritizing/time management. But that is part of what orientation is all about when you do become an RN!

    You aren't expected to be SuperNurse by the time you get to the CPNE -- you are expected to function as a first-day new grad, able to do basic assessments and basic management while practicing safely. All of these are things you probably already know how to do, or will have practiced 5,000 times by the time you get there. Learning the nursing process (and it's not so dissimilar to how we approach our patients in the field) is a big component of being successful with these exams. A lot of the disease/condition info will be a refresher for you.

    Best of luck!!


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