When I first started studying for the CCRN® I was overwhelmed. I had so many questions:
What are the best CCRN® resources?
Should I spend money on these study materials?
What strategies should I focus on?
Perhaps you can relate.
Well, today I’ve got something special for you…
…because in the list below, I have developed a comprehensive countdown of the top 5 best CCRN® study tools on the planet.
Let’s jump right in:
5. Critical Care Nursing Made Incredibly Easy
While not technically written for people studying for their CCRN®, this book has it all in terms of content. It’s straight to the point and packed full of mnemonics, analogies, and easy to see visuals.
It uses lots of pictures and simplifies things to be easily understood even if you’re not a nurse or medical guru. It holds true to the “Made Incredibly Easy” slogan.
I really like this review from Barnes and Nobel:
Now on to the good stuff -
4. Dominate Questions with Laura Gasparis Vonfrolio RN, PhD
This book provides over 1200 questions/rationales to go through and is written by Laura Gasparis who is regarded as the top CCRN® teacher in the world.
Keep in mind:
This book is the only 100% questions/rationales. So if you are wanting a more detailed explanation of the entire topics, then do not purchase this book. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:
Practice questions are the BEST way to pass the CCRN®.
This book is also foreshadowing of the #1 spot below!
3. Pass CCRN! (Online Review Only)
There’s a trick to this resource:
The image above links to the book plus the online review. I don’t recommend this.
Here’s what I do recommend:
The main reason this resource made it on this list is the online question bank. You can purchase it for less than half the cost of what you pay for when you buy the book and the online question bank combo.
There are a few reasons this online version only is so beneficial -
It simulates the “on the computer” testing style of the actual CCRN®.
Hard copy questions are great when it comes to learning the material, but when it comes down to it -
the ‘real-life’ test is actually on a computer.
There are obvious benefits to simulating the actual test environment. I recommend using this online question bank for the few weeks just before your test date. Sit down in an isolated area and ‘simulate’ like you are actually taking the exam.
Not only do they give you the rationale for each question, but they also give you:
Testing strategies that teach you how to think about each question.
This is a huge benefit. As a matter of fact, this is the only resource that actually does this question by question. Check out the screenshot below.
Did I mention, there are over 1200 Questions!
2. The ‘Poor Nurses’ One Stop Shop: Barron’s
If you are on a budget and can only buy one study resource - This is it.
Barron’s does an awesome job giving all the in’s and out’s of each topic. If you hate the fluff…
…then this book is right up your alley. The book reads in a down and dirty, “to the point” style and is very thorough. That’s a hard thing to pull off and it’s what makes them so unique when it comes to these books.
On Amazon, the book is 5 of 5 stars and at the time of this writing has well over 100 reviews. Not bad considering this book isn’t even #1 on this list.
This is what Tim G from Amazon reviews has to say:
I bought this book and already had a couple of other CCRN® study books. This book and the reviews about it made me really focus on this one instead of the others. I used this book, Laura’s DVDs, and some PASSCCRN online exam questions. I passed on the first time with a 105, although the exam itself was very difficult. A good half of the exam was content covered directly in this book, while other questions were related to some of the content and made you really think about how the question related to the book. Altogether I was satisfied with this book and it did help me pass the exam.
It also has 2 free online practice tests included with purchase. As mentioned in the “Pass CCRN® Evolve Elsevier Online Review” section it’s super beneficial to simulate the actual testing environment the best you can.
1. Laura Gasparis’ Cram DVD’s
It comes with a price tag, but all I have to say is - Wow!
Okay I lied, that’s not all I have to say:
I have had several colleagues that told me that they passed the CCRN® by doing nothing other than watching the DVDs. Keep in mind that these are people who have been critical care nurses for a long time now.
There are over 12 hours of the highest quality style of teaching out there. The thing that makes this DVD so great is Laura Gasparis. If you remember, she also holds the number 4 spot on this list.
Her content is the “creme de la creme” of CCRN® study materials.
She teaches in a style that it doesn’t feel like learning. In a way, I feel like she is a stand up comic and just tells a bunch of critical care nursing war stories that are crazy entertaining.
At the time you are listening to her, you think:
“Yeah you’re funny and entertaining, but gosh I wish you would just get to the content already.”
But that’s just the thing…
…The meat and potatoes are interwoven into these hilarious stories. After watching these DVD’s, I couldn’t tell you how many times I would be doing a CCRN® question and I would get it right solely because of a story that Laura told in her DVDs.
The ability to teach in this style is not a skill that I’ve seen anyone is able to pull off like she does.
I know I’ve already said this, but I want to drive this point home - It doesn’t feel like learning.
Laura, if you’re reading this - hat’s off to you!