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Top 3 CCRN Review Courses 2024

Critical care nurses care for extremely ill patients who are recovering from life-threatening conditions and serious illnesses. These patients require close monitoring and specialized care by highly trained ICU staff such as intensivists (or critical care physicians), respiratory therapists, nurses, certified nursing assistants, occupational and physical therapists, other specialty providers, and more.  Depending on the type of condition, patients are placed in units such as,

Registered nurses working with acutely ill patients have the option to advance their education and test for certification, thus showing their dedication to having up-to-date knowledge and skills in their specialty. In addition, it gives them more confidence in their decision-making skills. 

Another benefit to obtaining your CCRN is that some hospitals offer an hourly certification premium or an annual payment for a certain sum. For example, I worked at a hospital in WA state, and according to their contract, I received a premium rate of $1.25 an hour. Let’s do some quick math: if you work 36 hours a week for 52 weeks, you’re looking at (at a minimum) an extra $2,340 a year. So, if you’ve decided to sign up for your CCRN certification test but don’t know where to start and which review course to take, then keep reading. 

Did you know that out of roughly 3 million nurses in the USA, only 84,000 are CCRN certified? According to the American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN), in the past 3 years, only 71.5% of nurses taking the CCRN certification exam passed it on the first try. From this data, we can assume the test itself can be challenging and requires you to spend some time studying and preparing for it. So don’t worry or feel overwhelmed because I have done the research. I’ve talked to other credentialed ICU nurses about the latest CCRN review courses and books out there, and I even took them myself. 

Hopefully, this review helps you easily decide which review course will work best for you and saves you some time as you prepare to pass the exam on your first try. 

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1. Nicole Kupchik CCRN review courses 

Nicole has been a nurse for over 25 years and offers CCRN, PCCN, CMC & CSC review courses. She has fun explaining concepts in a way that is easy to understand. She uses a lot of stories, mnemonics and rhymes to help nurses remember key information for the exams. I attended Nicole’s in-person review course (CE accredited), and purchased her Ace the CCRN! You can do it! practice question review book, which follows the AACN’s test blueprint. After doing all of the questions in the book and most importantly, reviewing rationales, I felt better prepared to sit for the test. I really enjoyed Nicole’s approach to tackling these sometimes difficult-to-remember disease processes and their management strategies. I am happy to say I was able to pass the CCRN exam on my first try.     

It’s understandable if you’re not able to attend an in-person review course,  so if that’s the case then consider purchasing Nicole’s on-demand online course instead. For $269, you get a CCRN book and online course bundle which will cover all the bases and ensure your knowledge is solidified! Another option is the Ace the CCRN®! Study Guide & Practice Review Question Book Bundle that is only $89.99 and is equally as great. Personally, I do better in interactive learning environments (such as in-person courses), or online video courses; but if you’re more disciplined than I am, and learn best by yourself, then this bundle is perfect for you! Truly, you can’t go wrong with either option.

This review course will thoroughly prepare you as the material presented is succinct and to the point so you don’t feel overloaded. The best part….?  I noticed some of the questions reflected my questions on the exam! 

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If you decide to purchase one of Nicole’s review bundles (which I highly recommend), then use a special discount code, available only for Nurse.org’s readers, for all of Nicole’s books, online courses and webinars. Simply enter code: Nursedotorg20 at checkout. 

2. Adult CCRN review courses by Laura Gasparis 

Laura Gasparis’ adult CCRN review course is another great option. Laura has over 3 decades of experience in critical care nursing and has held CCRN certification for over 13 years. She has a PhD in Nursing Education, has appeared on shows such as Good Morning America, and has published over 11 books.  Her comprehensive review course includes videos, practice questions and rationales. 

After watching her videos, I’d have to say that I enjoyed her teaching style. She presents content in a fun and entertaining way, and shares stories to help you remember content that otherwise can be super tactical and dry. The online course is self-paced, and you can access it by a computer or phone. Laura Gasparis has partnered with nursing.com for her latest review course. For $229, you have online access to all of the material for 90 days. Here is what’s included:

  1. 10 hours of CCRN review videos

  2. 29 printable, quick reference cheat sheets

  3. Condensed lesson notes in PDF form

For more information, feel free to browse the course syllabus

While the online review course is great, do keep in mind that this course doesn’t provide you with CEs or direct education credits. Another thing is that there isn’t a practice questions booklet included. So if you’re considering purchasing Laura’s review course, I’d highly recommend getting a practice questions book in addition to the bundle package mentioned above. 

3. AACN Adult CCRN/CCRN-E/CCRN-K Certification Review Course

AACN (American Association of Critical Care Nurses) is the leading national organization of acute and critical care nurses in America.  AACN healthcare experts provide nurses with education, research and support, with patient safety being their highest priority. Not only that, but they also establish the curriculum for critical care nurses.  So what’s a better way to prepare for the CCRN test than to take a review course by the experts that wrote it? 

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The review course costs $159 for members, and $199 for nonmembers, is comprehensive (covering all body systems), as well as “Professional Caring and Ethical Practice.” It has many great features that fit every learning style, and it even comes with a PDF document that you can follow along and use as you study. This review course makes you eligible for 15.5 AACN contact hours, however, to receive those, you must successfully complete the entire course. 

Once you complete the review course, I highly recommend purchasing a subscription to AACN practice exams. 

Here are all the certification practice exam options offered by AACN:

  1. Free trial. One-time, 7-day access, 30 questions with answers and rationales, exam scores.

  2. Basic. The cost is $25 for members, $30 for non-AACN members. You get 30-day access, 150 questions with answers and rationales, printable practice questions & answers, plus exam scores.

  3. Premium. The cost is $65 for members, $75 for non-AACN members. You get 180-day access, hundreds of questions with answers and rationales, content area exams, printable practice questions & answers, plus exam scores.

These practice questions will test your knowledge and give you confidence in taking the actual exam since the format and information very closely resemble the test itself. 

The CCRN test is one of the most challenging certification exams out there. However, it’s not impossible. With proper preparation and planning, you too can pass it on your first try. These review courses will help increase and solidify your knowledge so you can become one of the select few nurses with their certification! Regardless of which review course option you choose, make a study plan that you can stick to and follow along. Be diligent in your study efforts, and they will pay off! You already have a wealth of knowledge from experience, so don’t forget to refer back to that during the test. You got this! 

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