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Exam Study Groups

With a commitment to neuroscience nursing and professional development, nine nurses from Saint John, New Brunswick decided to form a study group in 2007 and get certified. While passing a national nursing exam seemed a daunting challenge, they were confident that by working together they could succeed. They were right.

Working around shift work

The biggest challenge was scheduling study sessions, as there was never a time they could all meet. Each study group member was balancing personal and professional responsibilities, including shift work demands. To make the group work, they adopted flexible study group scheduling. For instance, if they knew that members of the group had missed study sessions, they scheduled the next one so they could attend and catch up.

Support from colleagues

The group was amazed by the willingness of their colleagues to help and inspire them. Neurosurgeons, neurologists, a paediatrician, and neuroscience nurses within advanced practice roles provided them with numerous learning opportunities.


All group members successfully obtained CNA certification and proudly wear their CNA certification pins, symbols of nursing excellence and collegiality. “I feel honoured to have been a part of this valuable learning opportunity,” says Karen Furlong, who has since gone on to become a mentor to other neuroscience nurses.

"I still cannot believe that I am now a certified neuroscience nurse! All the hard work and long hours really did pay off!"

Christine Aucoin

"We had a lot of fun, learned a vast amount of information and bonded as a result. This is an experience I truly enjoyed and will cherish forever."

Cathy Abric

"Working as a team was of great help. Study group sessions provided opportunities for sharing valuable information."

Kerry Betts

"It was no walk in the park, but getting to the finish line is worth it!"

Rose Butler

"I have gained a great deal of respect for this particular group of registered nurses. Their dedication to nursing excellence is truly amazing and I know they have inspired other registered nurses to take on this challenge in the upcoming year. Bravo!"

Karen Furlong

"I work full-time and have a busy home life, being a mother of two girls. I was not sure that I could add any more to my plate. The guidance, advice, support and encouragement received from my study group (now my good friends) was immeasurable."

Shelley Paul

"I would encourage any of our national peers to consider obtaining their CNA certification as a group endeavour."

Trudi Rickard-Lyons

"Although I found the process difficult, I also found it very rewarding. I enjoyed sharing and finding relevant resources with a group that was keen to learn more about neuroscience nursing."

Betty Anne Waugh