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CCRN®/PCCN® Exam Review

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Course Description

This three-day course is designed to provide critical care and progressive care nurses a review of AACN’s core curriculum. The course combines central knowledge-based lectures so that nurses working in the PCU and ICU arenas will have a review of AACN’s certification blueprint. The first day will provide the critical care provider with an essential review of nursing care and interventions designed for the ICU setting. The second day of this lecture series will combine both the critical care and the progressive care areas. Information essential to each will be presented in a combined method still complying with AACN’s certification blueprint. The third day will be specifically for the progressive care provider and complete AACN’s blueprint for system review. This review is not an introduction to the environment of the ICU or PCU, but a comprehensive update for the professional already in practice at the bedside and preparing for either or both of the certification examinations.

Program Learning Outcomes

This program prepares the learner to:

  • Discuss and practice test-taking skills.
  • Review critical anatomy, physiology and pathophysiology of each system.
  • Discuss significant assessment and diagnostic findings relevant to the critical and/or progressive care environment.
  • Discuss clinical presentation as well as specific patient management of commonly seen critical care conditions.


Sign-in begins at 7:30 am. Each day includes a one-hour lunch (on your own), as well as a morning and afternoon break of 15 minutes each. The order of lectures presented and break times may vary according to speaker preference.

Day 1, 8:00 am to 4:30 pm

  • Cardiovascular
    Physiology and Hemodynamics | Cardiac Pharmacology | Acute Coronary Syndrome | Acute Myocardial Infarction | Heart Failure, Pulmonary Edema | Cardiogenic Shock | Acute Peripheral Vascular Insufficiency | Cardiomyopathy | Hypertensive Crisis | Structural Heart Defects
  • Pulmonary
    Assessment and Physiology | Acute Respiratory Failure | Ventilator Strategies | ARDS | Pneumonia | Pulmonary Embolus | Asthma | Chest Trauma | Pulmonary Hypertension
  • Neuro Assessments
    Space-Occupying Lesions | Seizure Disorders | Stroke | Brain Death | Encephalopathy | Neurologic Infectious Disease

Day 2, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm
CCRN/PCCN Combined

  • Exam Preparation
    Requirements | Study Techniques | Resources, References and Practice
  • Professional Caring and Ethical Practice
    Synergy Model | Systems Thinking | Advocacy and Moral Agency | Response to Diversity | Facilitation of Learning | Clinical Inquiry
  • Hematology
    Life-Threatening Coagulopathies | Anemia | Thrombocytopenia
  • Endocrine
    Diabetic Ketoacidosis | HHS | SIADH | Diabetes Insipidus | Hypoglycemia
  • Renal
    Renal Assessment | Acute Renal Failure | CKD | Electrolyte Imbalances | Integumentary Disorders
  • Gastrointestinal
    GI Hemorrhage, Hepatic Failure | Acute Pancreatitis, Bowel Infarction | Abdominal Trauma | GI Infection | GI Motility Disorders
  • Behavioral and Psychosocial
    Delirium and Dementia | Mood Disorders and Depression | Substance Abuse | PTSD, Suicidal Behaviors
  • Multisystem Failure
    Bariatric Complications | Healthcare-Associated Infections | Sepsis Continuum | Shock States, MODS | Multisystem Trauma | Toxic Exposure/Ingestions

Day 3, 8:00 am to 4:30 pm

  • Cardiovascular
    Assessment and Physiology | Cardiac Pharmacology | Acute Coronary Syndrome, STEMI | Post CABG | Heart Failure, Pulmonary Edema | Peripheral Vascular Disease | Aneurysm | Acute Inflammatory Disease | Dysrhythmias | Cardiomyopathies | Cardiac Tamponade | Valvular Disease | Genetic Cardiac Disease
  • Pulmonary
    Assessment and Physiology | Acute Respiratory Distress and Failure | Acute Lung Injury | Respiratory Infections | Pulmonary Embolus | Severe Asthma, Chronic Lung Disease | Pneumothorax | Pulmonary Hypertension | Exacerbation of COPD | Sleep-Disordered Breathing | Thoracic Surgery
  • Neuro Assessments
    Intracranial Hemorrhage | Seizure Disorders | Stroke | Brain Death | Encephalopathy | Neurologic Infectious Disease