How to ACE Competency Tests

  1. 0
    Hospitals are administering a variety of different medical/surgical and or pharmacology examinations to all new hire (new grad and experienced nurses). These exams are used to assess how competent you are. If you do not perform well on these exams, some hospitals will offer you additional training, give you the opportunity to remediate and take it over or they will TERMINATE your position…. (I know this happens because it happened to me!).
    Do not get comfortable after you sign the offer letter. You still need to do well on the competency testing!

    At my leisure…I will provide you all with a series of medications that you should know and understand inside out. It would be helpful if others can chime in and list some important points regarding the meds or conditions that I list. Please make sure that your answer is based on what the books say and not what you actually do in clinical practice.


    1. Dilantin- indications for usage, levels, etc
    2. Digoxin- therapeutic levels, significance of hypokalemia, antidote
    3. Narcotics- what do you need to watch out for? Antidote?
    4. Lovenox, Heparin, Warfarin- Which one is used as a prophylaxis tx post opt? Which one is used for DVT? Where are the therapeutic levels? Medication interactions?
    5. Treatment for Diabetic Ketoacidosis….What are the treatment needs for the patient?
    6. Anemia- what is it and how is it treated?
    7. ACEs, CCB, Diuretics- know the general class and side effects
    8. Mannitol- what is it used to treat? If a pt has increased ICP, how many degrees should the bed be?
    9. Metformin- Indication for usage? Relationship b/t metformin and CT scans
    10. Blood compatibility- O, A, B, AB. Which ones are compatible? What makes two blood types incompatible.

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  2. 3 Comments...

  3. 0
    Memorization of pharmacology factoids is great for school, but many organizations utilize much more sophisticated assessment systems which focus on the ability to recognize & manage patient problems.
  4. 0
    I disagree that memorization of medication facts are only good for school. I do know that some organizations are using advanced competency test like than PBDS which requires you to be able to recognize a patients medical condition based on symptoms and lab values. Based on my experience the majority of hospitals that I have been through are using multiple choice competency tests.
  5. 0
    While helpful, it is very important that all new hires realize there are many tests out there to assess competency.


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