Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Going to Kansas City

I think there's a song in there some where isn't there. It's running through my head as I pack my suitcase for a couple of days of learning and mental gymnastics.

I have the honor of being chosen to sit on the Exam Development Committee for APNs for certification in hospice and palliative care. The exam is given by the National Board of Certification in Hospice and Palliative care Nursing, NBCHPN. After taking a course in writing test questions, now I will go to this meeting and for two days we will review and create questions for the certification exam. There is actually more than one exam but they are created to be, from a test point of view, equivalent.

The process of creating good test questions has always interested me. When I found that in the early days, a non-nurse could take the certification exam and pass, I was not surprised. Some people are good at taking tests, and can figure out from the question and the answers what is considered the "right" answer. The challenge is not only making a question with a good right answer, but making good wrong answers. Not tricks, but good. Add in that it all has to be evidence or literature based, and it's clear why it takes a long time to create even one question.

I'm not sure why they chose me. They need people from various parts of the country, and I come from a region where they had an opening, that much I know. But am I really qualified? I did ok in the course, but that was rather compressed. The next couple of days in Kansas City will tell the story. One thing is clear: it's hard to be a novice again. And that's what's really going on in my head right now, this fear of maybe not measuring up to expectations. Having identified that, I feel better already.

I'll just keep singing my song; goin to Kansas City, Kansas City, here I come....

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