FNP Study Tips

As a student, studying for exams is hard enough. Understanding concepts, evidence, presented content, and guidelines to prepare throughout an FNP program is a daunting task.

After mastering content, it is time for boards. Students are often faced with the task of changing evidence-based guidelines between what was taught during school and what may be used for boards. A current example of this is the updated hypertension treatment guidelines.

How should you prepare?

How will you know which guideline is presented for boards?

Which guidelines should I prepare for?

Both the AANPCB and ANCC certification boards review references and clinical guidelines annually. Test items are validated with the most up to date clinical guidelines and other resources that are available at the time of exam preparation. For example, the AANPCB examinations for 2019, were developed and reviewed in mid-2018.

Both certification organizations offer reference lists to help guide your studies. The reference lists include many authoritative texts that were used to develop exam questions. While not all-inclusive, it is important to review the recommended references as a guide and enhance any weak topic areas.

Hypertension: Which Guideline to Know

The American College of Cardiology (ACC) / American Heart Association (AHA) hypertension guideline was published in November 2017. The guideline brought new blood-pressure diagnosis categories and enhanced treatment recommendations for hypertension, replacing the Joint National Committee (JNC-8) treatment guideline.

The ANCC exclusively lists the ACC/AHA 2017 hypertension guideline as a reference for exam preparation. The AANPCB lists both the ACC/AHA and JNC-8 hypertension guidelines for the 2019 exam.

So what does this mean if you are preparing to take the AANPCB examination? It is important to remember that treatment targets may differ among the two guidelines, but individual health needs are central to treatment decision making.

For either certification examination, the guideline stages will not be a focal point. It is most important to understand hypertension treatment concepts rather than the separation of stages.

A person with hypertension will be obvious and not a gray area between the two guidelines’ recommendations. It is important to review the question as a whole and understand underlying health concerns that may direct or require changes in hypertension treatment.

ACC.org/HBPtool

How to Start Studying

I recommend reviewing hypertension guidelines as a part of your exam preparation and focusing on the most up to date information with the 2017 ACC/AHA reference. Here are knowledge areas to understand as you study:

  • How is hypertension diagnosed?
  • How do you calculate cardiovascular risk?
  • What nonpharmacologic treatments are recommended?
  • What is considered first-line treatment for hypertension?
  • What are common side effects or monitoring recommendations for anti-hypertensive drug classes?
  • What comorbidities impact hypertension treatment, such as diabetes, chronic kidney disease, and heart disease?

Take a look at the ACC and quick link reference site by following this link.

FNP Mastery has been making crucial content updates to include new hypertension questions, a new practice examination, and improved rationales to enhance your studying! Check out FNP Mastery here!

FNP Mastery

Posted by Stephanie Cenek

Stephanie is a Family Nurse Practitioner and a nursing subject matter expert at Higher Learning Technologies, the developers of award-winning Nursing Mastery education products including FNP Mastery.

2 Comments

  1. I’ve been wondering about this – and how exam information is updated! Thank you for sharing and for emphasizing the importance of understanding HTN treatment and concerns.

    Reply

    1. Catherine MSN RN August 23, 2019 at 2:27 pm

      So glad you found the information useful! Thank you for being part of our community.

      Reply

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