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You’re so close to applying to CRNA school with just one hurdle left to make you a more competitive applicant, passing the critical care nurse certification (CCRN) exam. I know it’s not as stressful as when you took the NCLEX exam because your job is not on the line but it is still important. Obtaining this certification will allow you to stand out from the rest of the potential applicants. It’s also a pretty awesome credential to have behind your name.
I actually took and passed the CCRN exam back in 2013. Prior to this I started my own continuing education business and hosted critical care review courses. I have either researched, taken, or either talked to other credentialed ICU nurses about the latest CCRN review courses and books out there. Hopefully this saves you time and money as you work towards passing this exam.
And I’m pretty sure you also noticed there aren’t a ton of CCRN review courses or even CCRN prep books out there. So, what are some review courses and books out there to prepare you for the CCRN exam?
Well, first let’s talk about what this exam is really about.
What is the CCRN Exam?
The CCRN is a national certification which validates a registered nurse has achieved a higher level of clinical knowledge to care for acutely and/ or critically ill patients in the adult, pediatric or neonatal settings. This certification is a credential granted by the American Association of Critical- Care Nurses (AACN).
Why should I obtain my CCRN certification?
While most of you are looking to obtain your CCRN certification to strengthen your nurse anesthesia application, here are some other reasons why you should take the plunge:
- Benefits your patients
- Boosts your confidence
- Your pay may increase
- Helps you stay up to date with the latest evidence- based practice
As you see there are many benefits to obtaining your CCRN certification. The best part is it shows you are committed to the profession and demonstrates your dedication for higher learning. This is what the admissions committee is looking for in applicants.
CCRN Prep Books:
Ace the CCRN: You can Do it! Practice Review Questions
This book by Nicole Kupchik has overwhelmingly great reviews on Amazon. However, it is not a comprehensive review book. It contains 450 practice questions and rationales for each question. It is designed to be used along with the AACN critical care exam blueprint or another review book. There is also a newly updated 2020 study guide. This is a book recommended by the AACN to use as a resource for the CCRN exam.
This book is a comprehensive review of the overall CCRN exam with over 1000 practice questions. There is both a study mode and exam mode. There are illustrations, tables and algorithms which work well for the visual learner like myself. A great feature is the outline style review based on the outline for the adult CCRN exam. This book goes into great depth and the practice questions tend to be more technical and harder than the actual exam so your chances of passing the actual exam is great.
Adult CCRN Exam: With 3 Practice Tests
Here is another review book by Barron Test Prep with great reviews. There are more than 500 practice questions overall. It includes 2 full- length online practice exams with rationales. The questions are similar to the ones you may see on the actual exam. A great feature is there are questions in the book and online.
CCRN Review Courses
American Association of Critical Care Nurses Review
While I have no direct experience with this course provided by the AACN, it does come from the people who actually write the exam questions. This course features presentations by critical care experts which includes real- life scenarios to foster critical thinking. There is a member price of $159, non- members of $199, and organization pricing at various rates. This course is also approved for 15.5 contact hours.
Nicole Kupchik CCRN Review Course
This review course is designed according to the AACN Certification Blueprint for the Adult CCRN exam. It has awesome reviews and is a self- directed course with eleven modules and is approved for 17. 25 contact hours. You will get unlimited 1 year access, a downloadable PDF study guide and printable CE certificate.
Laura Gasparis CCRN Review
This CCRN review course by Laura Gasparis is actually the course I took to pass my CCRN exam years ago. It is a comprehensive web based review course which includes 12 high definition quality video modules or an in person option. This review course costs the most at $350 and includes video content, a study guide, over 500 practice questions and 12 contact hours. There is also a 1 day cram review course for $175 if you are in a time crunch or money is an issue.
Nurse.com Critical Care Review
This review course is also online at a cost of $179 and includes 10.0 continuing education contact hours. While I haven’t taken this course, I do know of other nurses who have given good reviews. It is created by experts in the field of critical care nursing and is based on the current AACN blueprint.
Critical Care Academy CCRN Review eCourse
The content within this course by Critical Care Academy reflects the most recent CCRN blueprint. You will get unlimited 6 months access for $199 and up to 12 contact hours. It contains short digestible video lessons along with handouts to help you retain the information. The biggest difference I see compared to other review courses is the 100% PASS guarantee on the first try which shows confidence in their CCRN material. So you have nothing to lose giving it a try.
Here are my thoughts. I would purchase a review book or course which had lots of practice questions with in depth rationale so you understand why you are getting wrong answers. If after reading the rationale you still do not understand it, be sure to use a reference book to gain a more in depth understanding of the material. After much research, ACE the CCRN and Adult CCRN Exam which have great reviews and tons of practice questions are the ones I would go with.
Not everyone will pass the CCRN exam with just a review book. Some people learn best by taking a review course, therefore I would recommend two courses. The Critical Care Academy eCourse because of the short video lessons, 100% pass guarantee, 6 months of unlimited access and all for a great price of $199. And Nicole Kupchik review course because it is self paced, has unlimited 1 year access, and breaks the information down into manageable chunks.
P.S. Check out other resources listed on the AACN website. There is a handbook, practice questions, study plans and practice exams with rationales and exam scores. Here are other ways to strengthen your CRNA application and remember the time is now to start studying for the CCRN exam.