Certification Journey: Determining What to Study

In an earlier blog post I discussed certification options for correctional nurses. Both Catherine and I are CCHP-RN certified through the National Commission on Correctional Health Care. We are pursuing CCN/M certification through the American Corrections Association (ACA) and will be sitting for the exam at the 2013 Winter Conference (Be sure to let us know if you will be there so we can meet!).

Now that I have completed the CCN/M certification registration and set an exam date, it is time to decide what to study. Every certification exam has an outline of content, sometimes called a test blueprint, that is used to determine the subject areas for evaluation. This blueprint also determines the amount of questions that will address the various subjects. A test blueprint is a good starting point for determining what to study for an exam. Many certification bodies publish their test blueprint in a public document. The CCN/M test blueprint is a private document provided only to accepted test applicants, once they have registered. However, a Certification Handbook with some preliminary information is available online.

The following general list of exam components was located on the ACA website:

  • Health Care in Corrections
  • Legal Issues in Corrections
  • Mental Health
  • Nursing Practice and Standards
  • Managing Security and Environment
  • General and Offender Management
  • Conflict Management
  • Human Resource Management

This general list is a good place to start. In addition, the ACA provides study materials in the online bookstore. However, we are testing out the ability to use our book, Essentials of Correctional Nursing, to serve as a study book for the certification exam, so I will only be using that text for my study materials.

Now I have one more thing to do to have everything I need to create a study plan. I need to prioritize the exam content so I spend the most time studying the material least familiar to me. Looking at the list above, here is my priority list with the top items requiring the most study time:

  • General and Offender Management
  • Legal Issues in Corrections
  • Mental Health
  • Human Resource Management
  • Managing Security and Environment
  • Health Care in Corrections
  • Nursing Practice and Standards
  • Conflict Management

Now I have everything I need to create a study plan:

  • Prioritized exam content
  • Selected study materials
  • Deadline for study completion

In my next certification journey post, I’ll tell you how I set up my study plan.

Preparing for the CCHP-RN or CCN/M Certification Exams? Order your copy of Essentials of Correctional Nursing directly from the publisher. Use Promo Code AF1209  for $15 off and free shipping.

Photo Credit: © Oxlock – Fotolia.com

2 thoughts on “Certification Journey: Determining What to Study

  1. Pingback: Certification Journey: Creating a Study Plan | Essentials of Correctional Nursing

  2. Pingback: Correctional Nurse Goals for 2015: Get Certified! | Essentials of Correctional Nursing

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