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What makes the CPNE so hard?

Posted
by Jo Dirt Jo Dirt (Member)

Has 9 years experience.

I hear about many poor souls who spend $1500 only to fail this clinical test. What is scary is that they all say they worked very hard to prepare for it, took classes, went to workshops...so this has me worried should I decide to go the Excelsior route.

Can anyone please tell me what is soooo difficult about passing this test even though much time was spent preparing for it? :o

Spazzy Nurse, RN

Specializes in Mental Health, MI/CD, Neurology. Has 9 years experience.

The 2 biggest things that fail people are not being completely prepared and stress. Most people who have gone to workshops and who have fully prepared themselves do pass. If a person truly has prepared themselves for the CPNE and they still fail, then it is almost always stress that kills them.

I hear about many poor souls who spend $1500 only to fail this clinical test. What is scary is that they all say they worked very hard to prepare for it, took classes, went to workshops...so this has me worried should I decide to go the Excelsior route.

Can anyone please tell me what is soooo difficult about passing this test even though much time was spent preparing for it? :o

mona b RN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Child/Adolescent Mental Health.

The 2 biggest things that fail people are not being completely prepared and stress. Most people who have gone to workshops and who have fully prepared themselves do pass. If a person truly has prepared themselves for the CPNE and they still fail, then it is almost always stress that kills them.

Spazz,

Where are the workshops held? Do they have them all over the country like the CPNE sites?

chris_at_lucas_RN, RN

Has 7 years experience.

Excelsior holds workshops all over the country. They are about $650 and worth every cent. (And I'm the kind of girl who compares the prices of various brands of beans, OK? LOL )

Other groups hold workshops (sometimes called bootcamps). I've known a few people who did those and did well, but they also did the Excelsior workshop, so I'm not sure if you can draw any conclusions about it.

About the CPNE being hard, it's hard like anything you worry about or don't know well is hard. If you memorize a short list of your critical elements (in other words, not the 6 pages of detail that is in the study guide--they don't want to miss a thing!) but the 8 or so steps you take to complete the various areas of care, and if you actually know how to take care of patients, then you are left with knowing how Excelsior wants to see your care plans.

Seems like no two school has the same expectations of care plans. So you basically just want to know what EC expects and give that to them.

And keep it simple. Really, really simple.

You can do it--thousands of us have.

But focus on those nursing concepts exams first.....

Spazzy Nurse, RN

Specializes in Mental Health, MI/CD, Neurology. Has 9 years experience.

Spazz,

Where are the workshops held? Do they have them all over the country like the CPNE sites?

Back in my day, they were scattered all over the place and I'm pretty sure they still are. They aren't necessarily in the same areas that the CPNE sites are though. For example, there are 3 sites in WI but there were no workshops anywhere close to WI, and there was one held out in Michigan but no CPNE site are around there. 'Course things may have changed since then. EC used to have all of the workshops listed on their main web site--- do they still? I ended up going out to Redondo Beach, CA for mine. "Unfortunately" I had to have a Sat. overnight stay to use my dad's frequent flyer ticket that he oh so graciously gave me to use, so I had myself a little mini vacation out in L.A. :) It was very nice to get out in Minnesota and into California in November.

Of course I push for people to go to the EC workshop because one, I saw first hand how wonderful it is, and two, they are the horse. Other workshops I've heard about are pretty crappy for the most part. RUE's is a joke, and Excel Advantage (who puts on the "bootcamp") is one heck of a crappy company so I wouldn't even consider going to theirs. I know several people who went to the Chancellor's workshop, and I hate to say it, but it's supposed to be pretty good. To be honest I've heard nothing but good things about it. I've even talked to people who have done both that one and EC's and they say Chancellor's ranks right up there with EC's.

BBFRN, BSN, PhD

Specializes in Trauma,ER,CCU/OHU/Nsg Ed/Nsg Research. Has 15 years experience.

The CPNE is not really hard technically. The main thing is keeping it simple and keeping your stress level down, like Chris said. The best way to keep your stress at a minimum is to be confident in knowing you have studied the material the way EC tells you to, and to join the Yahoo study groups, so you can be in touch with lots of people who have already passed the CPNE. The workshops are great if you have limited pt care experience. The video is useful in helping you to see how the CPNE actually works, and in organizing your plan of care. You can tab and highlight your nsg dx handbook, and do grids on the back of your PCS sheets as well.

I didn't do any workshops (but I did have 7 years of med/surg LPN experience behind me), but I did buy the video/workbook, and got lots of free materials from the Yahoo groups to help me study. Let me know when your are getting close to CPNE time, and I'll send you my study materials- just PM me your email addy. I have lots of files to share.

Just remember that the CPNE is only as difficult as you make it. Do everything as they say, and you'll be fine.

RN34TX

Has 17 years experience.

I was an LVN for 6 years before attempting the CPNE and my nerves and stress almost caused me to fail many times that weekend.

Looking back on it now it was a very simple test.... you just need to do everything their little nit picky way!!

I went to the EC workshop...twice ( in Dallas and San Antonio) and although expensive I swear I would not have passed without it.

The infamous IM injection that fails many people....the EC workshop had the same exact dummy as I had in my actual exam, same landmarks and all.

The EC workshop also gives a great deal of heads up on what they want you to do regarding care plans and how not to fail in that area.

I could write great care plans but not the EC little nit picky way like how they want you to do them so the EC workshop was very valuable to me.

I've also heard great reviews about Chancellors but never went.

It is possible to pass and I walked into that thing thinking that I would be one of those people who would not make it the first time but i did!

RN34TX

Has 17 years experience.

I was an LVN for 6 years before attempting the CPNE and my nerves and stress almost caused me to fail many times that weekend.

Looking back on it now it was a very simple test.... you just need to do everything their little nit picky way!!

I went to the EC workshop...twice ( in Dallas and San Antonio) and although expensive I swear I would not have passed without it.

The infamous IM injection that fails many people....the EC workshop had the same exact dummy as I had in my actual exam, same landmarks and all.

The EC workshop also gives a great deal of heads up on what they want you to do regarding care plans and how not to fail in that area.

I could write great care plans but not the EC little nit picky way like how they want you to do them so the EC workshop was very valuable to me.

I've also heard great reviews about Chancellors but never went.

It is possible to pass and I walked into that thing thinking that I would be one of those people who would not make it the first time but i did!

gchelak

Specializes in Pediatrics.

forgive the ignorance, but what is CPNE?

Gail

hoolahan, ASN, RN

Specializes in Home Health.

I think too many people make the error of thinking I've been a nurse for XX years, I can fly by the seat of my pants and you can't.

You must know those critical elements inside and out! You have to know how many you must pass out of how many there are, how many sections you must pass, and then, if there is an area you feel weak with, focus a lot on it, but know the minimum critical elements necessary by heart, and you will pass. Look at the objectives, and do the required readings.

Don't forget, you can appeal things too. I did an appeal for the BSN program and won!

All I hear about are these critical elements. What are the critical elements anyways?

chris_at_lucas_RN, RN

Has 7 years experience.

"Critical elements" (aka CE's) is simply a collective term for the individual steps in completing a nursing task.

It is a lot like the steps you were provided with when you were getting signed off on clinical skills in nursing school.

Excelsior makes it easy by providing a detailed list. It is not as though you are walking in there blind, expected to read their minds. You have a huge manual, with every detail imaginable. The part about critical elements is a very small part. If you are intimately familiar with those, you have no problem.

And the CE's make sense. They are not asking you to do something that you would not ordinarily do in the course of caring for a patient. They do, however, expect you to do it right and completely. And if we are used to cutting corners, we can get caught.

Actually, though, the CPNE is designed to make absolutely sure that we are safe to take care of patients. That's all. If we cannot follow directions as clearly spelled out as these, it might suggest something.

Or it could just be stress. (I failed one PCS, but succeeded on the CPNE overall. Stress got me.)

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