From the desk of Adrianne Avillion, DEd, RN

Staff Development Weekly: Insight on Evidence-Based Practice in Education, March 26, 2010

Editor's note: Welcome to our new feature written by staff development expert Adrianne Avillion. Each week, Adrianne will write about an important issue in the area of staff development or answer reader questions. If you have a question for Adrianne, e-mail her at

Q: I've decided to take the plunge and sit for the Nursing Professional Development Certification Exam. It's been a long time since I took a test and I need some tips on how to go about preparing for this event.

Best of luck to you! If possible, attend a certification preparation course. Information about such courses can be found on both the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) Web site and the National Nursing Staff Development Organization (NNSDO) Web site. These sites also offer suggestions for obtaining study resources.

Establish a time and place for studying and stick to it. This will require some self-discipline and the cooperation of your family and friends. They need to support your decision to prepare for the exam and learn not to interrupt your study time. If you know of others who are preparing for the exam, consider establishing a study group.

I spoke recently with Kari L. Schmidt, MS, RN-BC, the director of employee and organizational development at Aurora Health Care, Milwaukee, WI, who is a nationally recognized leader in staff development and teaches certification preparation courses. Kari advises that the first step to take is to visit the ANCC Web site and look at the eligibility requirements. After you confirm your eligibility, look at the outline for the exam, which provides an excellent study resource. Take the sample test questions for the exam, too.

More information about study tips can be found in the article "Passing the professional development certification exam: Tips for achieving success" in the February 2010 issue of Briefings on Evidence-Based Staff Development, which was based on my interview with Kari.

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