Preparing for the certification exam is one of the challenges that nursing students experience in their professional journey. The preparation requires considerable sacrifice and efficient resource utilization to ace the exam. Students should understand their strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities they should explore to prepare adequately for the examinations. They should also understand the importance of developing realistic goals and objectives that align with their personalities. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to present an analysis of my current strengths and opportunities as I prepare for the certification examinations. It also examines the SMART goals for this quarter, tasks, timetable, and resources I will use to achieve my goals and tasks.
Revised Study Plan
Over the past weeks, I have been revising for the certification exam as per the timetable that I developed. The process has led to my self-awareness since I can now confidently identify my strengths and opportunities for growth as the certification examination nears. Pharmacology and psychotherapy remain my areas of strengths. I have been scoring high in these areas in the certification preparation examination. I have also developed solid understanding of advanced pathophysiology, which has been helpful in enhancing my understanding of psychopharmacology (Lindell et al., 2020). My other area of strength in the preparation for the examination is psychiatric interview. I have developed in-depth understanding of the application of the different approaches to psychiatric interviews and the promotion of safety and quality when caring for patients from diverse backgrounds.
I have some opportunities that I need to explore for me to achieve better in the preparation for the certification examination. One of them is the need to utilize online materials to further my understanding of the different concepts needed in the certification examinations. I need to utilize resources such as the YouTube and attend webinars that focus on different topics and concepts related to the certification examinations. The other area of opportunity that I need to explore to prepare optimally for the certification examinations is participating in group discussions with my classmates. Most recently, classmates agreed to hold virtual discussion groups weekly on the various topics to increase our understanding of the concepts. The discussions will provide an opportunity to learn the best content and concepts from my classmates.
SMART Goals and Tasks
The first goal for this quarter is to purchase a certification prep program and do at least 75 questions taken from all the areas of focus in the test per day. One of the activities that I will undertake to achieve this goal is ensuring that I do 75 questions in the morning to gauge my understanding. I will then review the questions in the evening to increase my understanding and identify further areas of weakness that I should place more emphasis when revising for the examinations. The other task will be making notes on new concepts and reading them to increase my ability to retain information. I will measure my progress based on the scores of the prep tests for the certification examinations. This entails assessing if the performance curve is rising, declining or flattening.
The second goal for this quarter is to participate in the weekly virtual group discussions with my classmates. One of the tasks that are needed to achieve this goal is setting aside time every Wednesday from 2 pm to 5 pm for the discussions. I will also read the topics to be discussed before the actual dates to increase my understanding and contributions to the discussion. I will also make sure I ask questions in areas that I do not understand during the discussion. I will measure my progress based on my level of participation in the group discussions and my overall understanding of the various concepts presented during the discussions.
The third goal for this quarter is to engage in reflective practice every week to identify areas of strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities I need to explore for my continued growth. I will assess my scores in the certification prep examinations and identify areas of strengths, weaknesses, and ways I can improve my performance. I will also journal my learning process every week to identify best practices that contribute to highest level of understanding in the preparation process(V. Moran et al., 2022; Smith Glasgow et al., 2019). I will measure my progress based on my scores in the certification prep examination practice tests.
The Proposed Timetable
WeeksMondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday1Certification manual 2 hoursCertification manual 2 hoursGroup discussionThe Psych Interview 2 hoursThe Psych Interview 2 hours2Advanced pharmacology course content 2-3 hoursAdvanced pharmacology course content 2-3 hoursGroup discussionAdvanced pharmacology course content 2-3 hoursAdvanced pharmacology course content 2-3 hours3Psychiatric interview 2 hoursAdvanced health assessment course content 2-3 hoursGroup discussionCourse material 2-3 hours Psychiatric interview 2 hours4Psychiatric interview 2 hoursCertification Review manual Pretest 2 hoursGroup discussionOther course materials 2-3 hoursOther course materials 2-3 hours5Advanced health assessment course content 2-3 hoursAdvanced course content, pathophysiology 2-3 hoursGroup discussionPsychiatric interview 2 hoursCourse material advanced pharmacology 2-3 hours 6Psychiatric interview 2 hoursPsychiatric interview 2 hoursGroup discussionAdvanced course content, pathophysiology 2-3 hoursCourse material advanced pharmacology 2-3 hours 7Advanced health assessment course content 2-3 hoursAdvanced course content, pathophysiology 2-3 hoursGroup discussionAdvanced course content, pathophysiology 2-3 hoursOther course materials 2-3 hours8Psychiatric interview 2 hoursAdvanced course content, pathophysiology 2-3 hoursGroup discussionCertification Review manual Pretest 2 hoursOther course materials 2-3 hours9Advanced health assessment course content 2-3 hoursPsychiatric interview 2 hoursGroup discussionCourse material advanced pharmacology 2-3 hours Other course materials 2-3 hours10Advanced course content, pathophysiology 2-3 hoursPsychiatric interview 2 hoursGroup discussionCertification Review manual Pretest 2 hoursOther course materials 2-3 hours11Advanced course content, pathophysiology 2-3 hoursPsychiatric interview 2 hoursGroup discussionAdvanced health assessment course content 2-3 hoursCertification Review manual Pretest 2 hours
Note: I will do 75 prep questions every morning every day and revise them in the evening, besides the above tasks.
One of the resources I will utilize to achieve the above goals is group discussions. I will discuss with my classmates weekly on different areas of focus in the examinations. The other resource is exploring online websites that will underpin my understanding(K. J. Moran et al., 2023). They include websites and YouTube to increase my knowledge on the different concepts. Lastly, I will develop mnemonics on areas that I find difficult to understand.
Overall, I have made significant progress in achieving my goals in the preparation process for the certification examinations. I have opportunities that I need to explore. The new goals will enhance my success in the process. I will utilize the available resources to achieve the set goals.
Lindell, D. F., Hagler, D., & Poindexter, K. (2020). A National, Qualitative Study of the Motivators and Outcomes of Nurse Educator Certification. Nursing Education Perspectives, 41(6), 327. https://doi.org/10.1097/01.NEP.0000000000000687
Moran, K. J., Burson, R., & Conrad, D. (2023). The Doctor of Nursing Practice Project: A Framework for Success. Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Moran, V., Wade, H., Moore, L., Israel, H., & Bultas, M. (2022). Preparedness to Write Items for Nursing Education Examinations: A National Survey of Nurse Educators. Nurse Educator, 47(2), 63. https://doi.org/10.1097/NNE.0000000000001102
Smith Glasgow, M. E., Dreher, H. M., & Schreiber, J. (2019). Standardized testing in nursing education: Preparing students for NCLEX-RN® and practice. Journal of Professional Nursing, 35(6), 440–446. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.profnurs.2019.04.012