Friday, July 29, 2005


I haven't posted much about graduation and boards because I just didn't feel like announcing anything until I knew exactly how things were going to go down. Today I guess I'll let all the poor cats out of the bag and let you all know whats up!

Although I had offers to work in Critical Care and Telemetry at two other hospitals, I turned them down to work in med/surg in the hospital I work at now. The tele job was downtown, and although it was at a large hospital that is extremely well-known for it's cardiac care, I still felt like I'd have more opportunity staying where I am. The CCU job was in a smaller hospital that I felt was just not a good fit for me once I interviewed for it. I don't mind starting out in med/surg rather than critical care. Like I've said before, I'll get paid the same either way, and I truly feel I'll have a better foundation than if I just jump into critical care. In my last career I was one of the best of the best. I had confidence and ability. I really enjoy the feeling that comes from knowing that I do what I do very well, and that people can come to me for direction and know they can count on me to get the job done. Maybe that explains me a bit. I'm trying to position myself for the long haul.

So I ended up taking the NCLEX-RN on Monday the 18th. My friend and I studied a lot using the Kaplan book and CD that I got when I took the class. She didn't take the class, but having her there to study with helped me focus and helped her with the 'decision tree' (Kaplans way of choosing the right answer). We signed up to take the test the same day. I was pretty excited, and not really as nervous as I could have been because I was doing well according to all of my Kaplan pre-tests. The thing about the NCLEX is that they ask you questions of greater difficulty level each time you get one right. The last two Kaplan study tests asked only 265 of the highest difficulty level 4 questions. The goal was to get 65% or better of these questions correct on the practice tests to feel that you would pass the real NCLEX. It's a very difficult thing to get 65% and feel like a success after spending 2 years in nursing school where under 80% means you're out of the program. 65% feels like failing, but I had to change my thinking and realise that if I felt like I was getting at least half of them right, I would do ok.

We both finished the test in 75 questions, meaning that we went up to the higher difficulty questions and stayed there, not having to go back down to the more basic levels. I knew I passed, my friend (who worries a lot anyway!!) thought she had failed. I say there's no way that we could have had the computer turn off after 75 questions unless we had passed. (The computer can also shut off at 75 questions if you're totally bombing, but we STUDIED and there was no way that was happening!). Anyway, that was over and we went to Claim Jumper's for some frosty blended fru-fru drinks. Awesome!

The people who actually put on the NCLEX test say that they'll tell you your score in about 48 hours is you give them $8. Funny thing is, our state Dept of Health posts licenses online in their Provider Credentials Search in about 48 hours also, so if you know where to look, you can go online and look to see if you're a Registered Nurse and you've got a license number. Cool! If you're patient and don't mind hitting re-dial a few times, you might even be able to talk to someone at the DOH and find out if you've passed (you must ask very nicely, but I heard it could be done). I called and found out I had passed on Wed afternoon. My bud called and found out she had passed also!

I went and showed my listing and license number to my new manager last Monday. I'm signed up to start orientation Monday the 1st. I got my actual license in the mail yesterday. My life will never be the same.

It's an amazing feeling to know the whole 'nursing school' thing is finally over. It was really an incredible journey. I remember the times I cried from frustration, and saw my friends cry. I remember being physically sick the night before a big test that I thought I hadn't studied enough for. I remember certain teachers who were extremely unkind people, and others who I wish I had gotten to know better so we could go out for drinks after graduation. I failed a demonstration once and was put on probation - if I had failed to do it on the second chance that would have been the end of school for me. And coming from a career where I felt I knew what I was doing to one where I thought I couldn't get anything right was difficult. I mean, I'm over 30 and I guess I'm at that point where security and stability in my life are so very important, but this whole career change has been so stressful.

For the students out there: It DOES suck, but you'll get through it.

And it will make the victory even sweeter.

Posted by HypnoKitten at 11:46 PM

Anonymous john cowart, at 3:18 AM  

Congratulations. All this sounds like such a daunting challenge.

Blogger DisappearingJohn, at 9:33 AM  

SO, do you think the Kaplan course was worth it? I have heard so many opinions from friends who have taken it, and who haven't tkaen it. Several said Kaplan saved their bacon. Just as many said the class was a waste, but the books and CD's made up for it. A few others said they wouldn't have wasted their time if they had known what it was...

Facing the same decision in December, I am undecided. I am a good test taker ususally, but I don't know if that is an advantage on NCLEX. I hav about a dozen NCLEX practice books, and do questions almost every day trying to prepare, but I still want to ENSURE I do well.

Ahh, decisions, decisions...

Anonymous Nursecadet, at 1:12 PM  

Congratulations!!!!! It's nice to know that it can be done!

Blogger Keith, RN, at 7:09 PM  

Congratulations! I wassure you would do it! One of my students just wrote to say that she passed as well!

To those of you who are wondering whether to take a course, as a nursing professor and nurse who actually failed the boards the first time I took them (nerves!) I recommend a review course as a way to get a closer look at HOW to answer the questions. Those questions are meant to make you think, but they are also twisted in their attempts to make you think that 2 of the answers are absolutely right. All I can say is study your ass off, study in groups, test each other, and take a review course! Then celebrate like hell!

Blogger Janine, at 9:07 PM  

Biggest congrats! Welcome aboard!

Blogger SassyNurse, at 10:59 PM  

Congratulations!!!!! :0)

Blogger overactive-imagination, at 2:18 PM  

HUGE congrats to you!!

Anonymous marj, at 4:06 PM  

I know I already told you this, but CONGRATULATIONS again! I hope you're still celebrating. I am!!! :) Cheers...

Blogger mamalife, at 6:14 PM  

Congratulations! The NCLEX test sucks... the computer also shut off after 75 questions for me and I remember thinking, because the questions were so hard "I KNOW I failed, but I studied my butt off, so how can I POSSIBLY pass the next time I take it??" (I did not fail, but you walk out thinking you did!)

Blogger Third Degree Nurse, at 6:18 PM  

Congratulations! And thanks for inspiring those who are about to embark upon the toughest part of the journey.

Blogger ~RN~, at 6:27 PM  


Blogger Nurse Practitioners Save Lives, at 9:19 PM  

Congrats! I'm sure that you are so relieved. Good choice for your first job. You won't regret it. Have fun learning a lot out here!

Anonymous geena, at 10:07 PM  

Congrats!!!! I remember taking the NCLEX - I had studied also, but was positive I failed after it shut off at 75 questions. I passed, but it was a VERY LONG 8 week wait!!!

Good luck in med/surg. I personally think it's a great place to start out. You'll learn so much and it will become a strong base for further knowledge in critical care, if you decide to end up doing that.

Blogger may, at 11:20 PM  

i'm joining you as you celebrate. congratulations!

Anonymous Susan, at 8:00 PM  

Congratulations, buddy. And welcome to the club!

Blogger Da Goddess, at 11:10 PM  

Congratulations on passing your boards!

The amount of energy and stress expended prior to the test is generally best expressed in a flood of tears and cured with a big hug and cold beer.

Good luck with your new job!

Blogger TravelingNurse, at 1:16 PM  

Sorry this is late but congrats!!! I have to show my nursing age by telling you I spent 2 days in an auditorium with a thousand other people (ok it seemed like a thousand) taking my test at a small table with three other people. It was a timjed 2 day test. I have no idea how many questions I answered. I thought I got most of them wrong as did everone else in the room.The testing was 8-4 with an hour for lunch. We took our test in June or July and found out in September if we were nurses or not. Fortunately we got to work as GN's for that long agonizing time. Some of the people I graduated with didn't make it the first time. So, they had to be nursing assistants until they could take the test again. It was only offered 3 two or three times a day. Can you imagine having to go through that more than once? Be glad you are living in the computer age. P.S. I used Kaplan even back then...and it worked for me too.

Blogger MattInTO, at 11:29 AM  

I'm so sure right now I failed it's not even funny. I took it this morning and it shut off after 75 questions. Every single question save 2 or 3 seemed incredibly difficult. I just can't imagine after being a pretty good student these last two years that I could fail the exam in 75 short questions! Unbelievable...


Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:22 PM  

I did 2400 NCLEX 3500 questions over a period of 5 days, took the test and was shut off at 75 after about an hour and a half. The same for my friend, except she finished sooner. Most people I know who took the test were shut off at 75 questions. All I know passed. I had really good grades in school and scored in the thousands on the HESI, so I'm supposed to pass, right? My mother said she had to go to 85 to pass. All I can say is, if my mother passed the first time and I didn't I will NEVER hear the end of it! I'm just biding my time...took my daughter for an ice cream, to the library...learned how to play "happy birthday" on a child's accordion----I NEED THE EXAM GRADE!!!!I'm going mad.

Anonymous sylwia, at 10:01 PM  

I'm a Canadian Nurse, 3 years of nursing experience...but I'm I'm still young, feel fresh out of school....and I just wrote the NCLEX this morning in seattle.

It stopped at 75 questions! I freaked...I mean the last question...I guessed it...

Oh I don't know anymore...I studied hard, did kaplan TWICE over the last two years to review test taking stratagies.

I would have to say, what really is the BEST learning resource is

The illustrated study guide for the NCLEX-RN exam. This book step by step explains EVERYTHING from test taking stratagies to anatomy to ethics to physiology to meds to diagnostic procedures.

Kaplan doesn't review these things, they simply teach you a method to do well on a multiple choice exam.

Anyway I better pass because I've been studying for 6 months and I really don't want to look at my notes again!!

I really want to move to HAWAII!

Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:44 PM  

i just took my test yesterday. the computer shut off @ 78. when i left i thought i did ok but as the time passed i was leaning toward the idea that i failed and i was getting stressed out because not only did i take the test on tuesday but i was moving into a place that was double my previous rent. how much more stressed can i get? one part of me says that i am stressing about nothing while the other part of me is saying how can you minimize the devastation and humilation that will happen to you on thursday. i am trying to tell my self that i won't be the only future nurse that has failed on the first try and that i will just have to try harder next time but i am having no luck.

any advice???

Blogger Judy, at 6:36 PM  

Congratulations -- on graduating and especially on passing the NCLEX!

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