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