April 14, 2021


 Hello, friends!

I recently passed my CCRN exam, yay! However, I struggled with finding adequate information on tips to pass the pediatric exam. I've found there's a ton of information on the adult version, but pediatrics is less popular on the interwebs. To my pediatric critical care nurses, this one is for you!

The CCRN is a certification exam for critical care nurses. It verifies your knowledge about critical care concepts after working 1750 hours in the last two years. If you are working 36 hrs/week, you will usually accumulate this amount of hours around your one-year mark. 

If you've done this, now you're wondering- how do I pass? After my research and lot of trial and error, I found two main resources that helped tremendously. 

1.) Nurse Builder's Practice Questions

     This book is just practice questions, but the format is so similar to the exam. I studied this book by reading the rationales. I went through this book twice in its entirety before taking the exam. You can purchase it via the AACN's website here:

2.) AACN Review Course

    I am an auditory learner, therefore I cannot strictly read a PowerPoint and just pass an exam. The AACN has a review course that has voiceovers with power points that was fantastic! I highly recommend this course and definitely think it attributed to my success on the exam. Here's the link to the course:

With these review materials, you will be adequately prepared. I studied for about 2 months before taking the exam and thought that was plenty of time! As always, make sure you plan out a study schedule and stick to it. 

Happy Studying- You got this!

September 3, 2019


Hey, there!

As classes start and summer comes to an end, I can't help but feel a weird emptiness that I am not going back to school! As much as I miss it, I don't miss the stress of that first week back. It can be very overwhelming looking at all of your syllabi wondering how you will ever learn ALL of this information in 3 months. However, I'm here to help you! With these tips below, you'll be set to have a rocking semester, friends.

Tip #1: Buy a planner.

If you don't already have a planner, you need to go get one now. Run as fast as you can to the store and get your hands on one. It will be a LIFESAVER, I promise. At the start of every semester, I always would put in all of my exams and assignments for the rest of the semester. You can never get behind if you always plan ahead.

Tip #2: Color code!

I may have some OCD tendencies... but I color-coded everything in nursing school. In my planner, I used a different color for each different class, and then another color for when I had work, and then another color for extra-curricular activities. My planner looked like a rainbow (see below).

Tip #3: Read AHEAD

Guys, it's a game-changer to read BEFORE class. If you show up to class and already have a somewhat understanding of the material, the lecture will be a reiteration of what you already read and you will have a better understanding of leaving class. Just trust me on this one. What I always did was write out in my planner the lecture material a couple days before class that way I had read everything before class.

Tip #4: Get a grading app!

Again, if you have OCD tendencies like someone else I know... this is a great resource. There's a ton of different apps available, but the general idea is you can put in your grades and what your goal grade is and the app programs what percent you need to get on the rest of your exams/assignments to reach that goal. This is great so you aren't left at the end of the semester needing a 130% on the final to get an A. ;)

Tip #5: Buy an accordion folder!

I always bought these in nursing school to keep my materials in. This makes it super helpful because all of your loose papers are in one place. Again, you can color code the tabs for each class that way you keep everything organized. :)

I hope these tips help you, guys! They were all crucial to my success in nursing school. This first week can really set your tone for the rest of the semester, so be sure to start off on a good, organized, foot :) You got this!


April 12, 2019


Introducing a new series to the blog, SRNA Spotlight! This series will feature interviews with multiple SRNAs and highlight their journey to CRNA school. Up this week is Charnelle, or as she is known to many, Nurse Nelle! 

1.) How far along in CRNA school are you?

"I will be completing the program in 2019!"

2.) What kind of ICU experience did you have prior to starting CRNA school?

"CVICU- 3+ years"

3.) Do you have certifications? If so, which ones?


4.) Did you always know you wanted to be a CRNA?

"No, I actually wanted to be a Pharmacist.  After completing an internship at Walgreens, I realized I didn’t have the passion for it.  I decided to pick up a job at a group home for adults and realized that it was something that came very easy to me.  A few weeks later, I switched my major to nursing. With my love for pharmacology, it was the best of both worlds. I didn’t actively pursue CRNA school until I was in the CVICU.  Everything happened so fast. I started in the CVICU as a new grad and one day I realized that I could actually start preparing to apply. I’m incredibly glad that I decided to continue my education."

5.) What do you value about the CRNA profession?

"I value the art and science of anesthesia the most.  It’s a dynamic profession that requires situational awareness, ability to gain trust quickly and understanding of many different conditions and anesthesia principles.  Every case is a blank canvas. Some use various mediums, others stick to one simple brush. It is such an amazing profession that goes beyond just 'putting someone to sleep'."

6.) What's something you wish you knew before starting CRNA school?

"I think I was pretty well prepared for a majority of the things that I would come across, but one thing I wish I knew was how much I would change from the program.  It challenges you on so many levels and I thought I would be able to walk-in with the same studying strategies I used in nursing school. That was not the case. While I was able to find a balance between school, work, social media, traveling and spending time with friends and family, there’s only so much 'preparation' you can do mentality for the complete life change that’s going to occur."

7.) Any final advice for those who want to pursue CRNA school?

"You ARE smart enough, but you have to be willing and ready to commit and put in the necessary work.  It’s a long and tough road, but it’s well worth it."

How you can find Nurse Nelle:

Instagram: @Iamnursenelle

April 1, 2019


Hi, Everyone!

I have gotten an abundant amount of requests to share my study tips for the dreaded pharmacology course in nursing school. Pharmacology can seem very overwhelming, especially if your school combines pharmacology and pathophysiology like my university did. However, if you take the time to organize your study methods before you start this class, it will make it so much easier to learn and recall these drugs down the line when you are practicing as an RN!

My first tip is to focus on the mechanism of action. Once you understand this aspect, it makes it so much easier to understand the side effects and adverse reactions. This method will help you learn more effectively, rather than memorizing all of the side effects of a drug and forgetting the information after your exam. 

There are some aspects of pharmacology that you just simply need to memorize. There are so many tools out there to help you memorize information. Some of my favorites to make flashcards are Quizlet and Anki. I also used to create Excel sheets (pictured above) and would list the drug name, class, mechanism of action, side effects, etc. 

For the pathophysiology portion of the classes, I would make my outlines (tutorial listed on my blog here). Some of the other tools I used to help my understanding were Khan Academy and the MedMaster podcast. 

The most important thing to remember here is do not cram. This is a course that you need to prepare well in advance for your exams. Study well in advance and try to apply what you're learning to what you see in clinical! Look up the medications you're giving to patients and understand why you are giving them. I still look up medications today as an RN! 

I hope these tips were helpful. There's no right or wrong way to study for pharmacology or any course in nursing school. Find what works for you and run with it. You guys got this. 


November 26, 2018


Hi, Everyone!

I know it has been a while, and I have truly neglected my blog and for that, I apologize. I have been incredibly busy starting my new job! I graduated with my BSN in May and passed my NCLEX and started my nurse residency program in June! Now that I have been practicing as a registered nurse for a couple of months, I wanted to bring a new series to my blog- The New Nurse Chronicles.  This series will cover everything you need to know as a new grad! From choosing a job, how I organize my shift, talking to providers, etc.

I wanted to start this series off with a crucial part in becoming a new nurse- finding a job! When I started the senior year of my BSN program, I was so confused about when to apply for jobs and what a nurse residency program was. My best advice for you all is to start early. Most hospitals that have a nurse residency program have applications that open months before graduation! For example, I graduated in May and was applying to programs in December. The job  I accepted I applied to at the end of February, interviewed in March, and accepted the position in April, exactly one month before I graduated.

My advice to you is to research hospitals around your area. I personally created a spreadsheet with the hospital name, type of residency, and what time of year applications come out. When I applied, I crossed that hospital off the spreadsheet. It kept everything organized. If you're not sure when applications come out for that hospital, you can always reach out to HR or a nurse recruiter.

Another piece of advice is to have your resume and cover letter ready at the beginning of your senior year. This way, when you apply for jobs, you are already prepared. It will save you a lot of time and stress if you perfect it at the beginning of the year and touch it up as needed.

I hope this helps you all prepare for your job search! As always, reach out if you have any further questions! I am so excited to take you all on my journey of being a new nurse.


September 16, 2018


Hi, Everyone!

I know this is long overdue, but today I wanted to talk about how I passed the NCLEX in 75 questions! Before I talk about what helped me, I want you all to understand that everyone is different, and what worked for me might not work for you. This is just what helped me!

I began studying about 2 months before I graduated. I bought Kaplan, UWorld, and Saunders NCLEX review book. I'm just going to be honest here, I did not like Kaplan at all. I felt the Qbank was confusing to use and the rationales weren't helpful when I answered questions incorrectly. I only used Kaplan for about a week before I gave up and used only Uworld primarily.

I loved Uworld (not sponsored). UWorld broke down the questions by body system, was easy to use, and gave amazing rationales. Not to mention, UWorld costs significantly less than Kaplan. I went into the NCLEX completely prepared by UWorld. I did UWorld's Qbank 2x before I sat for the NCLEX. I used Saunder's intermittently if I felt I still didn't understand something with UWorld's rationale.

I really didn't follow a schedule, I just did all of the questions in UWorld's Qbank and went back and did them all again. I probably did around 200-300 questions a day. I kept a notebook and wrote down all of the rationales of the questions I answered incorrectly.

At the end of the day, it's up to you and your personal preferences. I have heard people who loved Kaplan, but it just didn't work for me. I'm sure there are people out there who didn't prefer UWorld, as well. Try out whichever you choose and study hard! You will all do great!


May 8, 2018


It's graduation season! Which is shortly followed by interview season! I am so blessed to have secured a new-grad registered nurse position at a local trauma center near my house in the Step Down Unit! I have definitely learned a lot throughout my interview process and want to share my tips with you, including what my resume looks like!

My first tip is to do your research. Look up the program/hospital you are interviewing at online and find out their mission statement, values, and goals. Pay attention to if they are a Magnet status hospital or not. When the interviewer asks you why you want to work there (which they will!) incorporate these into your answer. 

My next tip is to prepare and practice, practice, practice! Look up common interview questions for new graduate nurses. Some of the ones I practiced with (that I also had asked during my interview) were:
  1. How do you work on a team? Tell us about a time that you worked on a team.
  2. What are your strengths/weaknesses? 
  3. How would your manager describe you?
  4. How would your co-workers describe you?
  5. Tell us about a time you had a difficult patient and how you responded. 
  6. Tell us about a time your co-worker wasn't pulling the weight of their position and how you responded. 
  7. Why do you want to work at our hospital? 
  8. In 3 words only, describe yourself.
Since I had prepared answers to these, it made me feel so much less anxious. I felt that I could confidently answer them because I knew the points I wanted to touch on with my answer. 

You also want to dress for success on your interview day! I always wear my pantsuit and flats. If you are going to wear a skirt, I would make sure it is at least knee length. You can wear shorter heels, but I wear flats in case the interviewer gives you a tour of the unit. Here's what I wore to my interviews: 

It's in your best interest to buy a leather folder with a notepad to bring to your interviews. The one I have pictured above is from Amazon! The notepad comes in handy when you need to jot down an email address from the interviewer. 

Inside your folder should be your resume (+ 5 copies at least!) and any other documents they may ask you to bring. I always bring copies of my transcript and recommendation letters. 

Here's what my resume looks like. I have blurred out names of hospitals and my university for privacy reasons. If you would like to use this as a template, just email me or PM me on Instagram and I will be happy to send it to you. 
The last and final tip is to always send a follow-up email thanking the interviewer for their time. In this email, you should always mention something that you talked about with them that will help them remember you. 

Good luck on all of your interviews! You will all do great :) 

May 6, 2018


I am OFFICIALLY done nursing school. Wow, that feels SO weird to say. However, I'm not done studying! I still have one more bridge to cross... the NCLEX. To find out how I am tackling this, keep reading!

I will be using three different sources for studying. These are the Saunder's NCLEX review book, Kaplan self-paced online review, and UWorld. At first. I wasn't going to buy Kaplan, but I really wanted a structured review with videos I could watch for content review. I also found a $50 off coupon for Kaplan that helped a ton! If you want to use it it's LIVE50 at checkout.

Here's my plan to use these materials:

  1.  Get through the Kaplan course (all online). 
  2. Do about 50 questions on UWorld until I am done Kaplan. 
  3. Once I'm done Kaplan I plan to break up my studying into systems which will include:
    1. Cardio, Respiratory, Onco/Hematology, GI/GU, OB, Peds, Neuro, + Musculoskeletal 
  4. Each day I will have a specific system to review on UWorld/Kaplan's QBanks. If I feel I need more review with something, I will read in my Saunder's book or watch a Kaplan content video. 
  5. Once I'm done systems review, I plan to do my last self-assessments on Kaplan and UWorld. 
  6. I will then do a TON of questions until my test date. 
I will definitely update you guys after I have taken the NCLEX to see if this works and what I would have done differently. I hope this helped some of you who are also going through the boards studying struggle right now! 

Happy studying!