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Careers in Healthcare

This NP Is Here to Help You Ace Your Nursing Exam

Maria T. Codina Leik, M.S.N., ARNP, FNP-C, AGPCNP-BC

President and Principal Lecturer, National ARNP Services, Inc.

How did you get started working as a nurse practitioner?

I was practicing as an RN in my 20s and felt like there was something missing. I did not like the lack of control in my job as an RN. I wanted a role where I was more independent and could make independent decisions about my patient’s healthcare.

I tried several RN specialties, such as critical care, mental health, and others in an attempt to find the “right fit” for me. But I did not find it as an RN.

As a nurse practitioner (NP), I get the best of both worlds.  There is a lot of complex decision-making and independent practice that NPs perform, which I love. I think becoming a nurse practitioner is one of the best decisions I have made in my life.

What are the top mistakes students make when studying for nursing exams?

One of the top mistakes students make when studying for the exam is spending too much time on low-yield information. For example, many devote too much time to learning about obstetrics and memorizing drug doses.   

Students taking the ANCC (American Nurses Credentialing Center) exam may not adequately study the non-clinical topics. An excellent resource with a proven track record of helping NP students pass the exams are my best-selling FNP (Family Nurse Practitioner) and A-GNP (Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner) review books, apps, and flashcards, published by Springer Publishing.

What role do textbooks (e-books and printed copies) play in educating nurses?

Many students still prefer print textbooks where they can highlight and write notes and tabs on selected topics. E-books and Q&A apps are becoming more popular. The apps of my books are available on the Apple and Google stores.

What is your favorite part of putting together review courses for students?

My favorite part of the review course is designing the content and the slides, so that it is always up-to-date and high-yield. I like to break down and explain facts so they are easier to understand. I enjoy answering student questions, which I do after each review course. My review courses are in webinar and live hotel format, and the schedules are posted at

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