CPNE and ME: Laura Davis

When her grandmother was ill and her father and cousin were both sick with cancer, Laura Davis, of Cherry Hill, New Jersey, decided she wanted to become a nurse. Seeing the nurses care for her family members in their times of need inspired her to do the same for other people. Davis became an LPN and after studying at Excelsior College to earn an associate degree in nursing, she received a cancellation date to take the Clinical Performance in Nursing Exam. She passed in October 2019.

Davis earned her LPN from Lincoln Technical Institute in 2014 and, after hearing about Excelsior’s online programs from a fellow LPN student, decided to enroll in Excelsior’s associate in nursing program. Davis had a unique situation and chose to take nursing theory exams to complete the requirements for her degree. All she had left was to take the CPNE, and four months after she was approved to take the exam, she learned about a cancellation date that opened up and agreed to take it.

Davis had already been studying hard for the exam, but now had to prepare even harder since the test date was sooner than she originally expected. Davis used Excelsior’s NUR 702, Navigating the CPNE Online Tutorial, which contains self-study modules, resources specific to the nursing simulation labs and the patient care situations, virtual patients, and recordings of webinars. She also studied presentations and care plans, and made her own grids. “I just played around…and paid attention to the critical elements and based mnemonics off of that,” she says.

Davis also studied with an Excelsior friend. Her friend had failed her first attempt, so it was helpful for Davis to hear from her experience. The pressure was on Davis, though, when her friend passed her exam three weeks before Davis did. “I studied a lot, probably more than normal people…Reading [online] about people failing is scary. I know I just tried not to pay attention, keep it positive and you know, put in the work…I think if people really take the time and study and put in the work, that they can pass it,” she says.

It was difficult to stay focused while studying for the exam, but fortunately, Davis’s two young daughters kept her grounded and supported her. The three would even study together. Davis also left positive notes to herself on the mirror: “I [will] have an RN and I will pass the CPNE.” She was right, too; she passed the CPNE at Albany Medical Center on October 20, 2019.

Next for Davis is taking the NCLEX-RN. She hopes to get that out of the way by December so she can start a bachelor’s in nursing program in January or February 2020. In the meantime, Davis continues to work in the emergency room at Inspira Hospital in Woodbury, New Jersey, and also works for Bayada Home Health in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, making home visits to patients who aren’t able to get to a hospital. Both jobs would like her to stay, but she’s not sure where she’ll end up just yet. “For now I guess I’m just going to keep these, but I would like to work in a cancer facility. My father and my cousin passed away of cancer… So, I think that it would be nice to be involved in that kind of work because I’ve been there as a patient’s family member,” she says.

Although she wanted to become a nurse because of sad circumstances, now that she’s becoming an RN, there are many future career opportunities for Davis. Whatever is in store for her, she knows she’s ready for it. She has studied and worked hard and proven she can face the toughest challenges.

CPNE Tips from Laura Davis:

“Be organized, go into that Nursing 702 and watch all the videos, watch the whole PCS, so you have an idea of what it is because it’s a lot of information. So then you see the overall and then break down each step; it’s not as overwhelming.”

“If there’s somebody in the area, you know, two people doing the CPNE, it’s good to study together and have somebody to bounce [questions] back and forth with. Because nobody else understands [what it’s like] doing the work at home by yourself. It’s not traditional nursing school. So yeah, definitely good to find some other students and work together.”

“The webinars were helpful. I listened to a couple of them. They talk about different management and documentation and what to expect.”