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AORN Blog - The Periop Life

5 Ways to Prepare for Your CNOR Certification Exam 

CNOR Certification

January 27, 2021

Once you’ve made the decision to pursue your certification, it helps to have a plan and a little bit of inspiration to make it happen. Ellice Mellinger, MS, BSN, RN, CNOR, Senior Perioperative Education Specialist, works daily with nurses aspiring to receive their OR certification. She’s shared her top five tips to help you better prepare for exam success.

  1. Remember the exam tests your knowledge of all perioperative nursing areas. It’s important to learn or refresh your perioperative expertise by focusing on not just your current area of expertise but the holistic view that includes the domains of perioperative nursing. Make sure your exam preparation materials include detailed information on all the topics covered on the exam. Visit Competency Credentialing Institute (CCI) for specifics regarding the number of questions per topic being asked (e.g., patient assessment, intraoperative care, communication, management of personnel, services, and supplies).
  2. Become a time management guru. Use a calendar program that works best for you—whether you prefer a digital approach or your favorite day planner from Office Depot. Also, breaking your exam prep into manageable pieces not only helps you retain the material but also gives you a sense of accomplishment when you complete a section.
  3. Acknowledge and address procrastination and test anxiety behavior from the start. It’s human nature to avoid a large challenging task and to experience mental and physical anxiety as you prepare to sit for the exam. Walter Cronkite famously said, “It’s natural to have butterflies. The secret is to get them to fly in formation.” By acknowledging this early, you can seek guidance to combat and address these behaviors.
  4. Seek out a CNOR certification exam preparation program that plays to your strengths. Whether you’re more productive studying on your own or know that you’re more motivated and inspired by interacting in a class setting with your perioperative peers, pick a program that suits your personal learning style. Also, to ensure you’re on the right track, confirm your preparation program comes with a built-in study plan, test-taking strategies, and covers all exam content areas.
  5. Stay positive! You’re challenging yourself professionally and that takes time, effort, and perseverance. Remember that exam prep is temporary, and it will eventually lead to increased professional validation, a sense of personal accomplishment, and potential career advancement.  

One of the most practical and accessible ways to climb further up the perioperative career ladder is to obtain your CNOR® certification. According to CCI® (Credentialing and Competency Institute), perioperative nurses pursue certification for a variety of reasons, including professional validation, personal accomplishment, and career advancement. Plus, according to a AORN Salary Survey, CNORs have typically earned $1,700 more annually than non-certified nurses.

Take the Next Step Today
Make 2021 the year to go beyond enduring challenges and purposely seek them out. If you’re interested in preparing for the exam and prefer to learn in an interactive setting with your peers, the next quarterly virtual Prep for CNOR Live course is February 27-28. The next quarterly course will not be offered until June 2021.