This is the time of the year when we decide what we want to accomplish in the new year. As I sat down to write my goals for 2015, I started by reviewing the ones I had for 2014 and reflecting on the year that had just past. I had one huge goal related to my career, to become a certified case manager by passing the CCM Exam. This goal was important, because as a condition of my employment I needed to pass it within the next year. Sure I could change jobs, but I loved being a case manager.
But taking a certification exam was not something I wanted to do. You see, years earlier I had obtained my certification in oncology nursing. I found it to be an extremely stressful and time consuming process. And to make matters worse, after I obtained my certification I found out my employer, who encouraged the certification, did not pay any extra to their certified nurses. I stated I would never put myself through that again, yet I found myself 15 years later eating those words.
I decided to make the best of it and do things differently this time. After years of homeschooling my children, I had picked up a thing or two about learning. One thing I knew about myself was that I learned better when I was teaching. At the time I did not know anyone else taking the exam, so I decided to create a website where I could “teach” others as I was studying for the exam.
I began studying by reading case management exam prep books. When I felt I was ready to take the exam I went online to apply. After applying I received the “exam blueprint” from The Commission for Case Management Certification. I realized that I had no idea what some of the topics covered on the exam even were, let alone feeling prepared to be tested on them. I got more exam prep books, but could not find all the information I was looking for.
I started doing my own research on the topics covered on the exam. I spent countless hours searching the
internet and other resources trying to find all the information I felt I needed to pass the exam. I also searched online for other case managers preparing for the CCM exam and started a virtual study group. We were all working in different areas of case management and were able to help each other understand the different areas covered on the exam.
After 10 months of studying and preparing I finally sat for my certification in April. I felt prepared but nervous, it had been 15 years since I had taken a test like this. After completing all the questions I truly felt I had not passed. Then I went back and looked at the flagged questions. There were not as many as I initially thought. I reviewed these and it seemed my initial answers
were correct for most of them. I was feeling more confident that I would indeed pass. I sat there with my hand over the submit button knowing once I clicked on it there was no turning back. I finally pushed the submit button. It seemed like it took forever before I saw my results…preliminary pass. It felt as if the world had been lifted off my shoulders.
Even though I had passed the exam, I could not give up working on my website and coaching others who were taking the exam. I knew how stressful and time consuming it had been for me, and wanted to help others as much as I could. I also began writing the exam prep book I wish I had when studying for the exam.
While writing CCM Certification Made Easy, I requested a raise based on my new certification. It appeared history was repeating itself. I was told that case management certification was a condition of my employment, and that no matter what I did, I was locked into my current salary. But this time I didn’t give up, and a few short months later I landed a new job, working out of my home, with a 15% pay increase.
In December I achieved my childhood dream of writing a book. My goal to pass the exam turned into a huge accomplishment. I never realized how obtaining certification could change my life.
If passing the CCM exam is on your list of goals for 2016 I hope you will check out my book, on my website www.CaseManagementStudyGuide.com