Failed CCRN - Need Encouragement


Hello I am a RN BSN on a Medical ICU at a level 1 trauma hospital in the Northeast. I have been an ICU nurse for just under two years now and am extremely interested in CRNA school and am interviewing later this year.

I have taken several pre-req grad level courses over the past year and done well, and this summer I am taking the GRE and/or MAT and CCRN (as well as studying my brains out for this interview).

Recently though, I hit a speed bump: Failed the CCRN - missed a passing score by a few questions. After being highly frustrated, re-considering my life plan etc., I have decided this is still my passion and what I want to do.

My question is this: CRNAs that have failed the CCRN or had other speed bumps along the way either pre-CRNA school or during how did you handle it and what was the outcome?

I know deep down this is my dream and feel I am meant to do this. I love ICU, I have loved what I have observed during shadowing experiences of CRNAs. I am dedicated to being a life-long learner but failing this exam has hurt my confidence somewhat.

Thanks for any and all replies.

Editorial Team / Admin


18 Articles; 30,653 Posts

Specializes in Education, FP, LNC, Forensics, ED, OB.

Welcome to

We moved your thread to the SRNA forum where CRNAs and SRNAs will answer you.

Good luck with your decision(s).

Specializes in Critical Care. Has 5 years experience.

Suck it up, study harder and take it again or don't. Not everyone has their CCRN that applies to CRNA school, BUT it looks way better if you do. You'll be fine, dust yourself off and get cracking. I damn near lost my first job as an RN, was told I shouldn't have ever became a nurse and now here I am 2 months out from graduating CRNA school. Don't let yourself or anyone else stand in your way and remember life has a funny way of always working itself out.


17 Posts

Has 2 years experience.

Ha! Great reply - thanks! Literally just finished signing up for the retake.

Specializes in Critical Care. Has 5 years experience.

You'll be fine. There is a blue print that you should look at if you didn't know about it. Only study that stuff, don't try studying everything because it's entirely ridiculous to try. You'll get to where you wanna be eventually.


5 Articles; 272 Posts

Specializes in SICU.

I never got my CCRN and I'm a year out from being a CRNA. That should be encouragement enough lol

One quick rec for retaking it though. How you study is a big deal. Clearly what you did before didn't work. You need to change something this time. Figure it out, but just don't do the same thing as before.

The road to where you want to get to, especially any expert level, is filled with failures and bumps along the way. We like to pretend that that's not true in America. We make films and teach our children to expect success no matter what. Even when a main character fails at something in a movie, its usually some quick music montage of he/she getting things back on track and the next thing you know, they've succeeded or won at whatever. That's just not how life is. CRNA school is so freaking hard. You're going to have days when you're sure you can't do it and you feel like quitting immediately. That's okay. Those days are grooming you for your future, and are entirely necessary for your success. Learning how to comeback after failure is going to be, in my opinion, the best thing that the CCRN has taught you.

Good luck.


34 Posts

Specializes in Critical Care, CPICU, RAT, Current SRNA. Has 4 years experience.

Go to page 13-16 in the official CCRN handbook (link provided above)

If I were you, I'd pass the CCRN and then evaluate your career plans. Regardless of what you decide, you're still an ICU nurse. The certification helps validate your competency in critical care nursing to employers. That fact may very well have utility regardless of whether you decide to become a CRNA or not.


1 Post

The test is very hard. I took it 25 years ago and it was hell then. I had 10 years experience when I took it and studied for 6 straight months every day. I just passed it by a hair and still have it because I will never take it again.


95 Posts

I am starting to doubt the validity of the CCRN in proving someone's competency in critical care. I have come across nurses with CCRN that I assumed must be good test takers as their critical care skills are lacking...Unfortunately or fortunately; most Crna programs are now requiring applicants have their CCRN


15 Posts

Please don't let this discourage you. I to failed the first time by like 3 questions but the ccrn is about being the best icu nurse. 90% of being successful at passing that test is being a good test taker and knowing how aacn views hot topics in critical care and what answers they are looking for. I would highly recommend the aacns book of study questions. After I didn't pass the first time I did nothing but this book and read the rationales to see how they wanted you to answer questions on certain topics and disease processes. I passed the second time. Good luck and kick ass!


15 Posts

Isn't about being the best icu nurse **


38 Posts

Never give up or surrender. When you fail it makes you appreciate the coming and past success. You can do this. Study Harder and it will make you a better nurse