Thursday, July 31, 2014

Recipe for Success

We all have goals we set out to accomplish. The mountains aren't always so easy to climb though.

I began my journey to be come a CCRN nearly a year ago in Turkey. I spent hours listening to audio lecture while crossing the countryside. I guess that isn't the worst place to be while gaining some knowledge but I would have loved to explore more of the landscape and soak up a little bit more of the culture in those hours.

I did what I felt I should do to prepare myself for the exam I planned to take in February. An attention span of about 30 minutes didn't aid studying but I endured the hours (which were about 18 per week) by breaking study time into short blocks throughout the days. It worked out pretty well but meant it took nearly 10 hours to get 6 hours of focused study time. The days I was not at the hospital were basically spent as all day study sessions. I was eager to acquire the knowledge and focus on my goal but that was all. It took a big toll on my family and especially my wife who spent hours doing-you guessed it-everything. It was all means to an end that was close at hand. Right? Wrong...

A long, twisting and rough road

The road to success was not flat, straight or lined with flowers. I failed my first attempt at the exam. I missed it by 1 single question so it was back to the drawling board...

Preparation really began to wear on me over the next 2 months. I decided to reschedule another exam date that April but much to my dismay there was no test date available until the end of May. I realized at that point that I really needed to pass with this attempt as my job position required the certification by July. Apparently many certification exams are taken in the summer months so available testing space was nonexistent for me between May and July. This was a problem because my job was dependent upon this next test. I didn't need the extra stress. My stress was high and I was eating pounds of chocolate! I refocused my cycling to short intense training so I could shake off some of that stress and I pounded my head off the books again.

Hours at this desk
I spent many more hours at this desk studying my --- off day after day until test day #2. I was confident. The test seemed to be easier to me this time around! Oh- I guess I should mention that the test is never the same. There is a bank of thousands of questions from which the test is made. If it were the same test I would have passed it the second time. Yes-that's right. The proctor met me in the office and said "honey-I don't know what it is with you and 1 question." That moment was horrible. I thought so many things (many of which I can't include here.)  Was she joking? Am I on What Would You Do?  What are the chances of missing by 1 question 2 times? Can I test again before I lose my job?

I spent the next days trying to coordinate the earliest test date. Again, as my luck would have it, the next available date was the end of July. Unfortunately for me the job required the certification by July 1. I spent the next days in UPMC management offices explaining my situation. I did not want to lose my job. I happen to be one of the lucky few that love to do what they do. I could not give up. I pleaded my case. After all my information was presented it was decided that the next available date to retest was going to be my "pass by" date! I had one more chance.

Now the pressure was really on my shoulders. My wife had been dealing with everything and was going to have to continue. I was so stressed out I wanted to vomit everyday. I took a step back and asked myself, "what are you going to do?"  This is what I did...

More hours at this desk

I reminded myself of what a coach of mine once told me, "Sometimes you need to STEP UP and just LAY IT DOWN!" Yeah- it sounds kind of funny doesn't it. I love it though! The fact of the matter is that when your faced with a difficult situation you still have a choice to make. You can climb the mountain or you can crawl in a hole. I committed to pulling the remaining energy from myself and give it a go.

I knew I could not do it alone so I assembled my troops. I called the AACN and Board of Nursing for information. I utilized my mentors and supportive clinical leaders at the hospital. I picked the brains of the doctors until they just wanted me to shut up. I suggested so many therapies for my patients that some of the doctors started calling me Dr. Devin. I believe that they laughing at me more than anything but it didn't matter to me. I was thinking and that's what was important. It paid off in the end!

On July 30, 2014 I became Devin Corboy, CCRN. I still have a million things to learn but I am one of only 4,192 nurses nationwide to hold the certification of Pediatric Intensive Care Nurse Specialist. It may have been easy for some but it was not easy for me. I could not have done it without my Army led by Captain Caito and the troops at the AACN & CHP. Thank you so much for your support. I want to thank everyone for putting up with the "Beyond Stressed Out" version of me. Just give me a few more days and I'll be back to my Fun Ol' Self.

Here's my Cookie!
I've endured this process and I've utilized my resources to make this change happen by thinking outside the box. The next question is - What will I do with it?