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CNOR Trilogy Pt 2: An Insider's Look at the CNOR Exam


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You've made the decision to take the CNOR exam-now what? Join CCI staff as they review study prep materials, discuss successful study strategies, identify the main components of a multiple-choice question, and apply test-taking strategies.

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CNOR Trilogy Pt 2: An Insider's Look at the CNOR Exam

  2. 2. YOUR HOSTS FOR TONIGHT’S WEBINAR Jim Stobinski, PhD, RN, CNOR Director, Credentialing and Education Julie Mower, MSN, RN, CNS, CNS-CP,CNOR and Dawn Whiteside, MSN, RN, CNOR, RNFA Nurse Managers, Credentialing and Education 2
  3. 3. COURSE OBJECTIVES 1. Review study prep materials. 2. Discuss successful study strategies. 3. Identify the main components of a multiple-choice question. 4. Apply test-taking strategies to sample test questions. 3
  4. 4. RESOURCES ON CCI WEBSITE • Handbook • CNOR Task and Knowledge Statements • Study plan • CNOR learner readiness survey • Sample test questions • Contact information for prep-for-cert courses 4
  5. 5. EXAM PREPARATION TEXT BOOKS • Current edition of AORN’s Guidelines for Perioperative Practice • Perioperative reference books • Phillips, N. (2017). Berry and Kohn’s Operating room technique (13th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Elsevier. • Rothrock, J.C. (2015). Alexander’s care of the patient in surgery (15th ed.). St. Louis, MO. Elsevier. 5
  6. 6. OPTIONAL REFERENCES • Pathophysiology textbook • Medical dictionary • Lab/ diagnostic test reference manual • Drug reference-check hospital formulary or Epocrates at • AORN Journal • AAMI standards • Websites • The Joint Commission at • CDC at 6
  7. 7. CCI STUDY AIDS • CNOR Exam Study Guide • Flash cards • On-line practice exam Go to our bookstore at for a list of all CCI study prep items. NOTE: The CNOR Practice Test is not required to sit for the exam. Your performance on the practice test does not imply successful performance on the CNOR exam. 7
  8. 8. CNOR EXAM CONTENT 8 The Candidate Handbook is found at See table to right for subject area breakdown on the CNOR exam (information is subject to change) Subject Area % of Questions 1. Preoperative Patient Assessment and Diagnosis 12% 2. Develop Individualized Plan of Care 10% 3. Intraoperative Activities 27% 4. Communications 10% 5. Transfer of Care 6% 6. Cleaning, Disinfecting, Packaging and Sterilization 9% 7. Emergency Situations 11% 8. Management of Personnel Services and Materials 6% 9. Professional Accountability 9% Total 100%
  9. 9. TIME-SAVING STRATEGIES • Do a self-assessment; start and build on what you already know, rather than from the beginning. • Use the subject areas to organize your study plan. • Start with the areas that have the highest % of numbers or • With the subjects that are least familiar. 9
  10. 10. STUDY TIPS • Average study time prior to exam: 3 months. • Turn off text messages, TV and e-mail while you study. • Break content and time into bite-size chunks. • Review, review, review. • Be able to apply broad concepts versus memorizing facts and figures. From: Shellenbarger, Sue. Toughest Exam Question: What is the Best Way to Study? Wall Street Journal, 26 OCT 2011, p. D1, D2. 10
  11. 11. CNOR EXAM • 200 multiple choice questions • 3 hours and 45 minutes • Tests ability to apply knowledge to perioperative practice setting • Questions are developed by pool of CNOR nurses • Administered by Prometric • May be taken Monday – Saturday, except holidays 11
  12. 12. COMPONENTS OF A MULTIPLE CHOICE QUESTION • Stem • Will provide all the information needed to answer the question. • Question may be either: • open-ended (fill in the blank) or • close-ended (ends with a question mark) 12
  13. 13. COMPONENTS OF A MULTIPLE CHOICE QUESTION (cont.) • 4 possible answers • There is only one correct answer. • The other 3 “distractors” are plausible but not correct. • Question often contains a quantifier, such as first, best, or most important. 13
  14. 14. ANALYZING THE QUESTION • Eliminate the distractors by identifying why they are incorrect. • Question should be answered according to current best practice as published in the literature, not necessarily by past experience or facility’s present practice. 14
  15. 15. CHOOSING THE CORRECT ANSWER • Try to answer the question without looking at the options. • Eliminate distractors with absolutes such as “always” or “never”. • Review your answers at the end and change answers judiciously. 15
  16. 16. COMMON ERRORS IN ANALYZING QUESTIONS • “Reading into” the stem. • “Overthinking”-using experience beyond 2 years • Taking too much time/question. • Missing the quantifier. • Changing answers to multiple questions. • Leaving questions blank. • Looking for the same questions on the exam that were on practice tests/flash cards. 16
  17. 17. SAMPLE QUESTION #1A The patient population which accounts for the greatest number of eye muscle procedures is: A. Pediatric B. Adolescent C. Adult D. Geriatric 17
  18. 18. ANALYSIS OF TEST QUESTION • What did you need to know to answer this question? • If you were unfamiliar with the content of this question, where could you go to find out more information ? • Type answer in chat window. 18
  19. 19. ANSWER QUESTION #1A Correct answer is: A. Pediatric Rationale: Strabismus correction requires early recognition and is the third most common performed pediatric procedure between the ages of 6 months and 6 years. • Reference: Phillips, Nancy. (2017). Berry and Kohn’s Operating room technique, p. 142. St. Louis: Elsevier. 19
  20. 20. SAMPLE QUESTION #1B The most effective way to evaluate a patient’s comprehension of her upcoming surgery is to: A. have the patient describe the procedure in her own words. B. witness her signing her consent form. C. ask yes/no questions. D. document that the patient has received a patient education brochure. 20
  21. 21. ANALYSIS OF TEST QUESTION • How did you choose which answer you thought was correct? • Type response in chat window. 21
  22. 22. ANSWER QUESTION #1B Correct answer is: A. have the patient describe her procedure in her own words. Rationale: To evaluate understanding, have the patient repeat in her own words what has been explained. Reference: Phillips, N. (2017). Berry and Kohn’s operating room technique, p. 371. St. Louis: Mosby. 22
  23. 23. SAMPLE QUESTION #1C The perioperative nurse discovers that a sponge is missing during the closing count for a left lung lobectomy. The nurse’s first action would be to: A. repeat the count. B. notify the surgeon. C. document the count as incorrect. D. notify the supervisor. 23
  24. 24. ANALYSIS OF THE TEST QUESTION Prioritization: All of the options could have been correct- how did you choose your answer? (type answer in chat window) 24
  25. 25. ANSWER QUESTION #1C Correct answer is: B. notify the surgeon. Rationale: The RN circulator should inform and receive verbal acknowledgement from the surgeon and surgical team as soon as a discrepancy in a surgical count is identified. Reference: AORN. (2016). Prevention of retained surgical items. In Guidelines for perioperative practice, p. 396. Denver, CO: Author. 25
  26. 26. UPCOMING CCI WEBINARS • Sept. 14: Last Minute Tips for a Painless Testing Experience • Oct. 12th: Essentials of Certification • Recorded sessions will be available via our YouTube Channel at -KAytxqtJA (link at the top right hand side of our website) and on our website at • Slides will be available for download at 26
  27. 27. QUESTIONS? Type your questions in the chat window-we’re happy to answer them! 27
  28. 28. Please know that the CCI staff is here to help you achieve your goal of CNOR certification. If you have questions, please contact us at 888-257-2667 or