As an NP, your learning is a life-long process which is now just beginning with obtaining your certification. After completing a rigorous graduate program, your days of study are not yet over but continue with a new focus. You need to continue to develop, expand and refine your NP knowledge base to assure success with certification.
It is important that you begin by reviewing the information on the exam content. Make a list of the areas where you feel your knowledge base is secure and where just reviewing material to refresh your memory will likely suffice. Also, make a second list where you identify areas of weakness and topics where you need to concentrate your review. If you have taken an NP review course, you are likely aware that the content of certain parts of the program were truly review, where other sections help to point out areas where you need to expand on your knowledge base. Knowing what areas you need to focus on helps you decide how to allocate your study time.
Aligned with the emphasis on patient care, this review program was designed to reflect and focus on the following areas:
The content of this NP review, reflects the broad base of knowledge and the critical thinking skills necessary for entry-level NP practice. Emphasis is placed on assessment and intervention of the health problems which is typically one of the most challenging for students. Other content areas covered include diagnostic studies and screening tests and the subsequent interpretation of findings. Content in the intervention section usually includes questions on both pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic therapies, as well as principles of therapeutic communication. The remainder of the review course is devoted to areas such as health promotion and disease prevention.
The family NP exam reflects the broad scope of knowledge necessary to care for patients of all ages, including pregnant women. The adult NP certification examinations focus on the care of patients from adolescence to elders, while the gerontological NP test focuses on health care issues for adults older than 55-65 years. The pediatric NP exams focus on the care of children and young adults, usually up to age 22; a thorough knowledge of pediatric development and family systems is critical for success on these exams. The focus of the women's health nurse practitioner exam is on the health care of women throughout the reproductive lifespan and beyond. A nearly equal amount of the test's content is concentrated on obstetrics and gynecology, with about 10% devoted to general primary care issues.
The adult and pediatric acute care exam focuses on the care of acutely or critically ill adults or children, and includes a section on health promotion and disease prevention as well as follow-up care. The psychiatric-mental health certification examinations focus on the knowledge base needed to provide mental health care and particular psychotherapeutic interventions. The adult psychiatric-mental health NP scope of practice begins in adolescence, while that of the family psychiatric-mental health NP is across the life span.