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A New Way to Beat Exam Phobia

Updated: May 6, 2020

Your hospital has just announced it's next big push: to reach Magnet status (...or for its next big marketing campaign...or to lower its insurance rates...whatever the reason....) RNs are now being "strongly encouraged" to become board certified in their area of specialty.

In the break room, it's all anyone is talking about.

"How does someone become board certified?"

"You take an exam."

"AN EXAM?! You can't get credit for your years as a psych nurse?

"Nope. It's a 3-hour exam..."

"Oh my!"

The anxiety becomes too much and you switch topics.

How can you face another exam? The exams in nursing school basically meant you were just going from one panic attack to another. And the NCLEX! Oh my gosh, what a trial THAT was! You silently think to yourself, "I thought all this test-taking business was behind me!"

Well, fear not. I've got your back.

For the past 6 months, I have been bringing together everything I've learned from my many years as a psychiatric nurse educator and creating a brand new online Exam Prep Master Course to help you achieve that elevated status as a Board Certified PMHN.

One thing I learned a long time ago is that we all have our areas of real strength--the stuff we know backwards and forwards, the stuff our colleagues come to us about. Some of us are encyclopedic on medications. Some of us are experts in reaching patients who are in crisis and know just what to say to de-escalate someone. So why study the stuff you have down cold?

That's why I've broken my Master Course into four sections, each section covering a specific area, allowing you to only pay for the material you need to study most.

Here's what I mean:

Section 1: Psychiatric Nursing Foundations.

The topics here include:

  • Scope of Practice and the Nurse Practice Act

  • Professional Performance Standards

  • Nursing Code of Ethics

  • Privacy, HIPAA, and Duty to Warn

  • Special Considerations in the Care of Child/Elder/Rape Victims

  • Voluntary vs Involuntary and Other Legal Terms

  • Trauma Informed Care

  • Providing Culturally Sensitive Care

  • Intro to Theorists

  • Erikson's Developmental Stages

  • The Works of Piaget and Bowlby

  • The Theories of Sullivan and Peplau

  • Adaptive and Maladaptive Defense Mechanisms, Transference and Countertransference

  • Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

  • Brain Anatomy and Limbic System

  • Neurotransmitters 101

  • Intro to the Therapeutic Relationship

  • Therapeutic Relationship: Barriers and Enhancers

  • Verbal Communication: Therapeutic and Untherapeutic

  • Psychiatric Assessment Tools

  • Suicide Risk Assessment

  • Practice Questions

Section 2: Psychiatric Diagnoses and Personality Disorders

Topics include:

  • Trauma- and Stress-Related Disorders

  • Psychotic Disorders

  • Bipolar Disorders

  • Depressive Disorders

  • Eating Disorders

  • Substance Use Disorders

  • Anxiety Disorders

  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders

  • Child and Adolescent Disorders

  • Personality Disorders: Cluster A

  • Personality Disorders: Cluster B

  • Personality Disorders: Cluster C

  • Practice Questions

Section 3: Psychiatric Interventions

Topics include:

  • FGAs & FGA adverse effects

  • SGAs & SGA adverse effects

  • Mood stabilizers

  • Antidepressants

  • Anxiolytics

  • Protocols for alcohol withdrawal and detoxing

  • Milieu Therapy

  • Group Therapy and the work of Irvin Yalom

  • CBT, DBT, EMDR and MI

  • TMS, VNS, DBS and ECT

  • Groups RNs can run

  • Psychiatric Crises, Restraint and Seclusion

  • Practice Quest

And Section 4: Critical Topics in Psychiatric Nursing

Topics include:

  • Evidence-Based Practice and Research

  • Psychiatric Nursing Case Management 101

  • Outpatient Care

  • Types of Crises

  • Levels of Intervention

  • Nursing Organizations to Know

  • Healthy People Report 2020/2030 and IOM Report

  • QSEN

  • Documentation

  • Tobacco Cessation

  • and Practice Questions with Rationales and Discussion

Pretty comprehensive, right? And if you want the whole package--the entire Master Course of all 4 Sections--I'll be offering it as bundled package for you at just $199 (5/15/20 - 5/22/20 only.)

Want to see a sample of what these lessons will look and feel like? CLICK HERE to check out one I did on the Therapeutic Relationship. It's a little over 2 minutes long and covers "just the facts" of what you need to know for the exam.

For me, it's been a massive undertaking. Massive. The whole website design thing using Wix...creating and editing videos with Camtasia...designing and launching an honest-to-goodness online course through's been an education, let me tell you.

But even when I felt completely overwhelmed by the volume of work and the technical details involved, and there was no one there to guide me through it all, I just kept going back to my desk and putting in the time it took to learn what I had to learn in order to reach this goal.

Which is exactly what I want to help you do--keep going back to your desk (or in your case, laptop, phone or IPad), going through these lessons one by one, putting in the time you need to reach your goal.

But you won't have to go it alone, because I'll be with you every step of the way.

Exam phobia?

Pfffttt. You got this.

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