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  1. I just graduated on May 17th, 2020 and I passed my AANP FNP board exam on May 23rd (1st-time pass!). When I was studying for this exam, maybe like many of you, I was on this site looking for any helpful tips from successful students on how to pass this exam. First and foremost, you must know that I am the type of person that is NOT a good test taker. I get a lot of anxiety before an exam especially one this big. All the resources I used were helpful in their own way. So here's what I did: Began Reviewing Content March 30, 2020 I started with content review with the Leik book. I read the entire book front to back. Each day I focused on a different topic and then did the questions on the Leik app on my phone based on the topic I reviewed. E.g.: If I reviewed the content on Cardiac health and Pulmonary health, then I did the questions on the app focusing on those topics. Personally, I think this is the best way to grasp a good foundation before you get to the intense question practices. I think the Leik book, in general, was the best source I used while studying. It provides the most information without being too overwhelming. MAKE SURE TO FOCUS ON THE EXAM TIPS ON EACH CHAPTER! I can't express enough how much that helped me the final days of studying in order to pass this exam. This portion of studying took me about 4-6 weeks to complete. I reviewed content for about 2-3 hours per day. Don't feel like you need to study for 10 hours, YOU DON'T. Fitzgerald Live Review There are SOO many live reviews out there and I cannot speak to all of them. I personally chose the Fitzgerald review since I heard through the grapevine that Fitzgerald writes some of the board questions. On May 6-7, I sat at home in front of my computer doing a 2-day live review. Each day was about 8 hours. PRO: This review really dissects the questions so you know how to answer them. Some of the board questions can be tricky on what they are really asking and this review definitely helped me master that. They also provided great mnemonics to use so you remember certain things. CON: SUPER DETAILED!! The content you go over is EXTREMELY detailed. Although most of it is great to know, a lot of the specifics I felt weren't necessary for the exam. After the two day review, Fitzgerald provides you access to the online portion of the review. MAKE SURE YOU DO THE ENTIRE REVIEW. Like I said, there's a lot of info that they provided that they can't cover all in a matter of 2 days so the rest is left for you to finish. At the end of the online portion, there is a practice exam that I thought was VERY helpful. PSI Practice Exams and Board Vitals For the rest of the time being, I was on my own just reviewing content I was weak at and doing practice questions. Every day I did about 50 questions on my board vitals app religiously until the week of the test. NOTE: The questions on board vitals, in my opinion, are much more difficult in general than what the actual questions are on the board exam, however, they were great to use in order to practice how to dissect questions. The week of the exam I did two of the practice PSI tests on their website. There's a total of 3 practice exams now on PSI for FNP but I only did the first two. Each exam is $50 but I promise its the best money spent. These exams consist of "retired" questions from the board exams. These exams related most similar to my actual board exam! End Notes I hope this helps out some of you! Like I said, all my resources helped in their own way but I believe my favorite was the Leik book. Her questions are not that difficult but its good to go through them to just see how much you retained with content review. The board exam is 150 questions and you have 3 hours to complete the exam. I was able to finish in just shy of 2 hours. You will find out your results at the testing center. It is the best feeling in the world!! FACT: The best piece of advice I can give you is ... Believe in Yourself!! We have been nurses and we know our stuff! You will pass! Good luck
  2. Please note... I know nurse practitioner schools are pushing for more nurse practitioners and say there is a need. The fact is NPs have grown over 100,000 just in the past few years. Before you decide to go to nurse practitioner school, look to see how many jobs there are in your area. You may be surprised at the fact that you may have to travel or relocate for work. Remember nurse practitioner schools want you to go to school so they can make money. Please also consider CRNA positions, as the salary is 3Xs NP salary in some locations. Please no negative comments...I speak from experience.
  3. I'm in an NP program and I'm supposed to be doing clinical rotations for two classes this Summer. 64 clinical hours each! My program director finally emailed me today saying "At this time, there are no changes. Due to the unforeseen circumstances, we are planning the courses for both online/virtual clinicals as well as in facility/precepted clinicals." Which didn't really answer too many questions for me. Do I still look for a preceptor for the Summer? How can I even think about someone who'll agree to it and fill out the preceptor paperwork with everything else going on now?
  4. ChristineAdrianaRN

    So I got rejected from NP school...

    It's pretty disappointing (I'm not a girl that gets rejected often!), but I figure it will give me time to really prepare to apply again next year. Applying for this fall was a last minute decision, that left me feeling rushed and only able to apply to one school before their deadline (though, really, I only wanted to apply to one school, as it was the only one I could afford). I didn't anticipate getting rejected so I didn't worry about only applying to one school, but next year I will make sure to apply EVERYWHERE. I'm also not entirely sure why I was rejected. Of course they give you no explanation. I'm hearing from a lot of people that NP school is incredibly competitive, so the only thing I can surmise is that they were going to pick a nurse that had more experience over me. I've got everything I needed - the grades, the recommendations, (some) floor experience as well as office experience, volunteer work, (what I thought was) a bangin' good essay re: why I wanted this...but going into the school year I will have only had one year's experience as an RN (seven months at the time I applied). I figured in a large pool of applicants where they are trying to pare down best they can, cutting me would be easy from that perspective. How else can I prepare for next year? I'm wondering about the essay - I guess knowing how competitive it is, I need to REALLY make sure my essay stands out (I whipped that bad boy out in about three minutes). What kind of things do I need to write about, besides why I want to be an NP? What do you think they're looking for? Any other advice? Thanks all!
  5. Michael M. Heuninckx

    9 Tips For Surviving Nurse Practitioner School

    1. My go-to apps UpToDate- I live in UpToDate. Any question I have, UpToDate is my go-to resource for the most current information and guidelines. Everything can be found there, in one, easy to use place. Also, if you are researching a possible diagnosis, it also offers you a list of differential diagnoses that can help aid in your clinical decision process. The best part is, this is a resource that should be free through your university or workplace. Check first before you buy a subscription. Medscape- I use the Medscape app mostly when I am looking up medication: indications, dosages, compatibility and side effects. The app also offers current news in healthcare, a calculator for medical formulas and is a reference for medical conditions. GoodRx- GoodRx is a unique tool allowing you to search for medication costs at multiple local pharmacies. A good habit to get into is to see how much you will be costing your patients and the overall healthcare system. Also, you will be surprised how many first-line medications are available to treat the same condition, but one could cost a lot more than the other. 2. Find a solid group of NP student colleagues Much like nursing school, in a nurse practitioner program, you will develop friendships that will last a lifetime. This will be the group that you study with, look forward to seeing in class, send out friendly reminders to, bounce ideas off of, work together in group projects, vent your frustrations, and have your back when you are in a pinch or when you need a place to sleep and take a quiz that is due at midnight because your power is out 3. Take A Vacation To be able to do this, first, know the calendar of the University you are attending. Find the dates of when one semester is ending and another is beginning. This is the time when it is the safest to travel. Also, it will give you something to focus on and look forward to when the semester is becoming unbearable. 4. Don't get behind in logging your clinical hours As much as this is "busy" work, it really is important that you do not fall behind in logging your hours for two reasons. First, once you get behind, forget it. You will only continue to get further behind and you will be spending countless hours trying to log them all in one sitting. Second, take the time to turn logging your hours into a learning experience. Use this time to fully understand billing and diagnosis codes, what they mean and when it is appropriate to use which one. Doing the leg work now will only help you down the road. 5. Make an appointment with the writing center A resource that is frequently underutilized is your University's writing center. I learned this lesson very early as an undergraduate student. In one or two appointments, my grade could go from a B to an A. Also, they are APA wizards, something that will help keep you from losing easy points. 6. Be on top of your schedule Your schedule is everything. This takes time, strategy, organization and double checking your work. Do not forget to place all quizzes and assignment due dates in your schedule as well. Classes are not designed with a ton of points to fall back on and if you forget to take a quiz or turn in an assignment, you can forget the entire semester. You will not pass the class if you forget to do one of the above and in graduate school, there are no redos. As a soon to be NP, it will be expected that you will be able to manage and handle your schedule with no excuses. 7. Eat right and exercise Nurse practitioner school is no excuse to let yourself go in the diet and exercise department. Your body will need the fuel to make it through the program. Eating fast food/highly processed foods will only make you feel worse and slow you down. Also, taking the time to get in your exercise will help you clear your head and relieve some stress. 8. Find your clinical sites yesterday Not all NP programs find clinical sites for you. If your school requires you to find your sites, do this ASAP. This is something that you think you might be able to do last minute, but this process can be like a full-time job. It would be terrible to get this far in the program and not be able to move forward because you do not have a clinical site. 9. Get involved with Nurse Practitioner professional organizations Meeting nursing colleagues that are currently practicing and who were once in your shoes is very comforting and exciting at the same time. You will meet people who you currently look up to and will be one day. Also, you will be able to gain knowledge from experienced practitioners about their current practice and what lessons they have learned that will prevent you from making the same mistakes. Only one semester left! Good luck to all of my soon to be Nurse Practitioner friends! If you like this article then you might want to check out Michael's new book for nurses... Code Blue! Now What? Learn What To Do When Your Patients Need You The Most!
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